A few changes from the draft ballot, as we incorporated my votes for this week. Berkelium97 did not submit a ballot this week, saying in his defense:
"After Cal's season was over, I mostly forgot that the rest of the rest of college football continues."
I can't say that I blame him.
atomsareenough: The golden domers stay on top by defeating USC. I'd say they deserve to go the title game. After thinking about it, I put Oregon at #2. Yes, of the one loss teams, Florida's is the "best" loss, but Florida has so many close wins over crappy teams, and Oregon's loss was by 3 points against a legitimately good, top-10 Stanford team, and they have buried pretty much all the rest of their opponents in a flurry of points.
norcalnick: Florida has the best resume amongst the SEC 1 loss teams, and I think it's really tough to argue otherwise. Unfortunately for them they've lost the tie-breaker and Alabama or Georgia will add an impressive win to their own resume and will almost certainly jump the Gators. Such is life in a league too big to have a reasonable way to determine a champion.
atomsareenough: I put Alabama third and undefeated Ohio State 4th, dinging the Buckeyes slightly for squeaking by Michigan. Georgia rounds out my top 5.
norcalnick: Stanford has the strongest resume in the nation amongst two loss teams. And imagine the chaos we'd all be trying to sort through right now if the refs had ruled that Stepfan Taylor scored, and Stanford went on to beat Notre Dame? We'd have seven 1 loss teams with a viable claim for a spot in the title game.
Conversely, if Ohio State was eligible, would we have a controversy-free pairing of the Buckeyes and ND? I don't know if people would take OSU more seriously if they had been eligible all along, but like Notre Dame they've shown themselves to be the master of the close win. I slotted them 7th because they just haven't been more impressive than the other 1 loss teams that have faced significantly tougher schedules. Luckily it doesn't matter where anybody puts them - if they were eligible it would be a gigantic headache.
atomsareenough: Next for me is K-State, Stanford, A&M, and I put Florida 9th. I did move them up considerably from 17th after winning against the Seminoles though! Utah State squeaks into my top ten, followed by my two ACC disappointments in Clemson and Florida State. They put up a fight against their in-state SEC counterparts, but alas, it wasn't good enough.
ragnarok: Utah State in the top 10?
norcalnick: I also wonder about having 1 loss Florida below 2 loss A&M team that Florida beat in College Station.
atomsareenough: These are artifacts of doing it sequentially. Utah State has been in my poll for 4 weeks, they've been in the top 15 for the last 2. Their two losses are by a grand total of 6 points. Other teams keep losing ahead of them. It's a little odd, I admit, but I'll live with it. That's why we are averaging multiple ballots here, right? :)
Texas A&M... Meh, it was A&M's first game of the year with a true freshman QB, and they lost by a FG. I think if they played it again, A&M would win. The Aggies have been more impressive down the stretch than the Gators.
norcalnick: I guess the question is, what would you consider your own method? Is it a subjective power poll, a resume ranking, or something else? If you justifying ranking A&M ahead of Fla because you think A&M would win a game between the two teams today, then does that mean that you think Utah State would beat Clemson or LSU?
atomsareenough: Do we want to get into the weeds on methodology here? I have a Google spreadsheet, which I am more than happy to share with you guys, with a different tab for every week. The previous week's rankings are the starting point, and then I have each team's overall record, their opponent for that week and home/road, the score of the game, their updated record, and the updated ranking, which I copy onto the next week's tab.
So, after entering in the game scores for every team, I decide which teams deserve to move up or down or get kicked out (which is an informed but subjective process), and then I dig around for teams that deserve to replace the teams I booted. Sometimes I'll give a team the benefit of the doubt for a couple of weeks until I get more info, and sometimes I will be suspicious of a team only to have them prove me wrong. I revisit my assumptions every week.
So, it's got some elements of a power poll, some elements of resume, and some element of subjectivity, but I think it's pretty consistent and reasoned, and less arbitrary than just coming up with a brand new list pulled out of thin air for each week.
norcalnick: Well, I'll leave it up to rags to decide if the conversation is interesting enough to publish. I couldn't remember if we had ever talked this year about our individual approaches to how we ranked the teams.
atomsareenough: I'm pretty sure ragnarok has said he does the whole thing from scratch every week, which seems like a lot of work in its own right. Also, I try not to look at the published polls until after I do my own.
norcalnick: I tend to throw out my previous poll each week as well, in an effort to avoid biasing myself based on my preconceptions from previous weeks.
atomsareenough: Well, with each team's overall record and game results staring you in the face every week, it's kind of hard to ignore the evidence as it piles up.
ragnarok: I do create my list from scratch each week, but it's not as though I've forgotten everything I learned during the previous weeks. I'll look at all of that week's scores, see what jumps out as surprising to me (i.e. what challenged my expectations, which were codified in the previous week's rankings), and try and incorporate that. And yeah, I will go back and look at the overall record for some teams, especially when I've forgotten whether Utah State's 10-2 record is impressive or not (spoiler: for a 10-win season, it's not particularly impressive, although their two losses have come by a combined 5 points).
i think i'd be more amenable to your ranking method if you used the previous week's list as a starting point, but jumbled the teams without regard to their previous ranking, then maybe went back to the previous week's list as a sanity check (I moved Clemson by 12 spots? What was I thinking last week that I didn't consider this week?). Mostly, I really really really try to avoid moving a team up just because the teams above them lost and they didn't.
atomsareenough: Sure. I've moved plenty of teams down for close wins against bad opponents. LSU and South Carolina have some pretty unimpressive wins comprising their 10 victories as well, including wins like 3 points over Tennessee, 7 points over Arkansas, 2 points over Auburn, 17 points over Wofford, 12 points over Towson... you get the picture. Also, Utah State has won 6 games in a row, and they beat 2 solid WAC teams in LA Tech and San Jose State, both of which have been ranked themselves. BYU and Wisconsin aren't worldbeaters, they're both tough outs. All of Wisconsin's losses are by less than 1 score. BYU's losses have all come to ranked teams, besides Utah. They played Notre Dame, Boise State, and San Jose State pretty tough. I dunno, it's a judgment call at some point. I think the USU Aggies would be competitive with any team in the country.