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CGB Top 25 - Week 3

CGB's Top 25 can sometimes be a pretty strange beast.  Here, we have three different voters with three different voting philosophies, so not only do we differ on our opinions regarding the quality of the football teams that we've seen, but we also disagree on which qualities are most important in terms of rankings.  Combining three disparate opinions into one coherent and internally consistent Top 25 is a challenge, and it's not always achievable.  Normally, I simply run the three ballots through a Borda count (25 points for 1st place, 24 for 2nd, etc. -- the same system as the AP and coaches use), and what we get is what we get.  However, with only 3 ballots, outliers can really screw with the system.

For instance, this week Avinash decided to vote for Auburn.  Neither Yellow Fever or I did so (I never really considered them).  Had Avinash put his lone Auburn vote at the bottom of his ballot, it would have been basically thrown away, like my vote for Iowa at #25.  However, Avinash put Auburn in his Top 10, and the resulting Borda count value (16) was enough to check the Tigers in at #23, despite YF's and my indifference.

Is this a fair way to combine ballots?  Is there a better way?  I'm considering switching my combination method to some sort of modified version of an instant runoff, which would have the advantage of negating any one voters' wild enthusiasm or disdain for a particular team, perhaps producing a ballot that the three of us could agree on.  Thoughts?  Potential pitfalls?  Anyone had experience with such a system?

Anyway, on with our Top 25:

Rank Team Delta
1 Miami (Florida) 18
2 Alabama
3 Texas 2
4 Cincinnati 6
5 Boise State 2

Welcome to the top, Miami.  I hope your stay up there is longer than USC's, although with a trip to Virginia Tech looming this weekend, I'm not so sure that that will be the case.  'Bama holds steady, while Texas and Boise State take advantage of USC and BYU losing to move up.  Although I'm not sure how stiff a test the Big East will be for Cincinnati, they've looked darn good so far in taking down Oregon State and dismantling Rutgers; few other teams have a better résumé.

Rank Team Delta
6 Florida 2
7 LSU 4
8 California 2
9 Penn State 1
10 Virginia Tech 8

Well, LSU's win over UW now looks significantly better after the Huskies knocked off USC.  Cal gave me something to worry about at Minnesota (our kicking game looks like it's going to cost us at least one close game this year, if not more), and Penn State continues to beat up tomato cans (no one is impressed with a win over Temple).  I think the Nittany Lions should drop further.  Virginia Tech, on the other hand, takes a big leap after beating Nebraska.  I'm still not sure how much that win should be worth, but the Hokies tilt with Miami will tell us a lot this weekend.

Rank Team Delta
11 Florida State
12 UCLA 4
13 Southern Cal 12
14 Ohio State 1
15 Houston 6

Yeah, I think we all know that USC is a better team than Washington, and will almost certainly end up higher in the standings.  But I'm really starting to doubt that the Trojans are that good -- which doesn't speak well for Ohio State, either.  Florida State, meanwhile, scores a huge win -- a week after nearly gagging vs. Jacksonville State, they crush BYU in Provo.  Welcome back to the Top 25.  UCLA beating Kansas State doesn't impress me, but I moved them up after Tennessee hung in there with Florida.  Houston, meanwhile, doesn't play, and gets passed by a bunch of teams that did something last weekend.

Rank Team Delta
16 Washington
17 Oklahoma 2
18 Nebraska
19 Brigham Young 16
20 Michigan 6

And UW at 16?  Well, they have the same record as USC _and_ they beat them head-to-head, plus the loss to LSU is entirely respectable.  Avi and I both have the Huskies above USC, while Fever (rightly) considers that USC is almost certainly still a better team than Washington, and so leaves the Huskies well below the Trojans.  Regardless, their first foray back in the Top 25 in years could be a short one if they don't bring their A-game down to the Farm.  Meanwhile, BYU saw it's "best argument for crashing the BCS title game" go up in flames as they were buried at home vs. FSU.  The Oklahoma win still holds weight, but how much?  Nebraska isn't punished for a close loss at VaTech, while Oklahoma and Michigan bear nobodies soundly, and get passed by other teams in the process.

Rank Team Delta
21 Oklahoma State 1
22 Mississippi 10
23 Auburn
24 Oregon
25 TCU 5
Last week's ballot

Oregon ends Utah's winning streak and steals their place in the Top 25.  Okie State is still buoyed by that win over Georgia.  Ole Miss, Auburn and TCU have played some games, but nothing that tells me anything.  They might be good, they might not.  Frankly, on further consideration, Penn State rather belongs down here -- their résumé isn't materially different from Mississippi or Texas Christian.  Something to consider for next week, perhaps.

Dropped Out: Georgia Tech (#17), Utah (#21), North Carolina (#23), Oregon State (#24), Kansas (#25).

Georgia Tech, Utah, and Oregon State all lose and drop out, and all three lose by a margin of more than one score.  Meanwhile, North Carolina and Kansas drop just because they got passed by other, more deserving teams, but not far -- they were the first two teams out this week.  Beat someone impressive and they'll be back.

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, here's our individual ballots:

ragnarok Avinash yellow fever
1. Alabama 1. Miami (FL) 1.       Florida
2. Miami (FL) 2. Cincinnati 2.       Texas
3. Cincinnati 3. Boise State 3.       Alabama
4. Boise State 4. Texas 4.       California
5. Texas 5. Alabama 5.       Miami
6. Florida 6. LSU 6.       Boise State
7. LSU 7. Florida State 7.       Penn State
8. California 8. UCLA 8.       LSU
9. Virginia Tech 9. Florida 9.       Mississippi
10. Michigan 10. Auburn 10.   Cincinnati
11. UCLA 11. Cal 11.   USC
12. Penn State 12. Penn State 12.   Virginia Tech
13. Houston 13. Washington 13.   Ohio State
14. Washington 14. Virginia Tech 14.   Oklahoma
15. USC 15. Nebraska 15.   TCU
16. Florida State 16. USC 16.   Houston
17. Nebraska 17. BYU 17.   Oklahoma State
18. Ohio State 18. Ohio State 18.   Florida State
19. Oregon 19. North Carolina 19.   Kansas
20. BYU 20. Oklahoma 20.   Oregon
21. Oklahoma 21. Houston 21.   BYU
22. Oklahoma State 22. Oklahoma State 22.   UCLA
23. Georgia 23. Georgia 23.   Pittsburgh
24. Utah 24. Michigan 24.   Missouri
25. Iowa 25. Oregon 25.   South Florida