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Week 9 Blogpoll Ballot Draft

Sunday and time once again for the weekly blogpoll ballot hosted over at SBNation. Our ballot is only as good as you make it, so let us know what we’re missing or what we haven’t judged correctly.

WVU, Texas, and Northwestern all say goodbye on our ballot with their somewhat inexplicable losses. I feel a bit odd leaving Michigan State and Utah where they are rather than moving them up, but neither, at least in my opinion are worthy of being ranked of Wisconsin or Missouri. Yes, I know Wisconsin lost to Michigan State, but in the past two weeks the Badgers have beaten Ohio State and Iowa, the latter on the road. That’s worthy of jumping the team that beat you if anything ever was.

The rest of the ballot is for the most part just teams moving up when those ahead of them were beaten and subsequently drop or drop out of the poll. New additions this week are Miami, USC, and Baylor and I have a feeling at least one of them will be nowhere to found after this coming weekend.

Week 8 Blogpoll Draft

Finally back in the normal swing of things around the blog and this week’s draft ballot of the SBNation blogpoll is above. Some things of general nature to note…

  • I have Oklahoma nowhere close to #1 despite their current place atop the BCS standings. This proves I am indeed smarter than a computer, as the Sooners and LSU may be the worst undefeated teams I’ve ever seen. Talented? Sure. But both make me question their ability to ever make it through the rest of the season.
  • I’m probably a bit high on Auburn, but I am totally drinking the War Eagle kool aid. They’re legit, whether they’re in a grind it out game or a pinball affair like this past weekend.
  • Obviously there is no delta this week since last week’s poll wasn’t kicked in on time. That has hopefully become a thing of the past.

Voice your discontent or content as the case may be in the comments and make your case for why Team X should be higher or Team Y lower. The blogpoll and our ballot is only as good as you help make it.

Blogpoll Week 5 Draft Ballot

For some reason, I found the Blogpoll ballot this week to be increasingly difficult than in recent weeks. Perhaps it’s a mixture still of certain teams playing no one, certain teams with inexplicable losses, and others still with just lackluster results. Take Oklahoma. They didn’t lose, but they certainly didn’t win in any kind of impressive fashion. Then there’s Ohio State who beats the holy hell out of Eastern Michigan. Is that really something that gives us any sort of insight into just how good (or not) Ohio State is? Of course not. So at this point, it’s sort of a hodgepodge of impressions, results, and performances all tempered through the lens of “Against Whom?”. It’s not an exact science, and truthfully, outside the first five, you could literally switch any and all and it would be just as easily justifiable. Comment away on what looks klunky or out of place. Final ballots not due until early Wednesday, so feedback is much appreciated.

Week 3: Blogpoll Draft

Week 3 and at bare minimum we have some results finally to measure these folks out against. OSU and Bama to the front of the line, Boise suffering because their “marquee” win over the Hokies suddenly doesn’t appear quite so marquee. It’s an attempt, one we’re moderately ok with, one that needs some help.

Also, note there’s no deltas this week for the change since we didn’t kick a ballot in last week. Stupid real life getting in the way of blogging. Our ballot:

It’s a mess. We know this. Comments help us make it perfect, and since we’re the Ball State voice of the Blogpoll, we’d hate to make BSU fans look like know nothing putzes. Go for it and let us know where we suck… at least as far as the Blogpoll is concerned.

Blogpollin’: Preseason

OverThePylon, the resident Ball State experts (read: the only Ball State blog on the web) is fortunate and honored to again be included in the BlogPoll.

What is the BlogPoll?

The BlogPoll is structured exactly like the AP and Coaches’ polls, except the voting members are active bloggers who write about college football.

How does it work?

Voters submit a draft ballot on Monday that they post on their site. They then solicit feedback from their readers and submit a revised ballot early Wednesday. These ballots are then compiled into the poll Wednesday afternoon.

How is the BlogPoll different from other polls?

A few different ways.

One: By virtue of their tendency to sit around and watch 12 hours of college football every weekend, BlogPoll voters are often better informed than mainstream media members, most of whom spend their Saturday obsessively covering one particular game, or coaches, who all obsessively cover one game.

Two: All votes are totally transparent. The poll makes a point of calculating various poll statistics so it can examine outlying ballots (especially those that are biased in favor of the home team), and asks voters to justify their stranger picks.

Three: The BlogPoll has an explicitly declared poll philosophy that voters are directed to follow. Not every voter and every ballot manages to do so, but the philosophy effects the poll as a whole. This usually manifests itself in a skepticism of teams that play very weak schedules. The 2007 Hawaii team, which cruised through its regular season and was crushed by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, is the most obvious example.

Why should I care about any of this?

As the poll has developed it has shown a flexibility mainstream polls have not. In 2009, for instance, ownership of #1 passed to and from Florida and Alabama. Before the SEC championship game voters settled on Alabama, whereupon they were proven correct by events on the field. Though the debate was academic because the two teams would meet at the end of the season, there are plenty of occasions when hotly debated teams don’t meet on the field. Conventional polls seem to adhere to the idea that if you’re #1 you stay #1; the bloggers are more responsive.

As for voting philosophies, there are a couple general schools of thoughts. Some will be straight resume rankers. So for the traditional power schools that schedule light and easy cupcakes to start the season, they won’t sniff some members’ ballots. Others look more toward power rankings and who they deem to be the “best”. OTP is a little from column A and a little from column B, as are many others in the poll. To start the year, these preseason rankings are not necessarily power rankings in the truest sense of the word. Instead, they are our evaluation of a team’s potential, their chance of success, and how we think their season will play out. That’s our starting point, but it isn’t the end all be all. Preseason polls are by nature wildly speculative, and no way is any better than the others.

As the season progresses, at least for the first few weeks, it is still our evaluation of a team’s potential, talent, and appearance. As the weeks roll on, though, it becomes more and more about resume ranking, evaluating the actual wins and losses on the field. It’s worked well the last couple of years, and it’s something we’re proud to be a part of. Ultimately, our ballot is only our opinion. Disagree? Think we’re crazy? Comment away and make your case for why Team A should be ranked ahead of Team B. That’s what makes it all so special.

OTP’s Preseason Ballot
As stated above, wildly speculative. You’ve been warned…

So there we have it. For me, this season ultimately shapes up as the story of the chosen one and then the rest with some pretty defined tiers to that “rest’ group. Alabama is clearly the choice for success this season, and despite their defensive losses, the Crimson Tide seem head and shoulders above the rest of the country. From there, it’s a collection of teams with the players, schedule, and talent to challenge. Boise State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and TCU all stand a chance of having the opportunity to play for the national title without shocking anyone.

The next batch of the Top 10, Nebraska, Florida, Miami, Iowa, Wisconsin will all need someone (or multiple someones) to stumble. Possible? Of course. Probable? Doubtful. The remainder of the poll, from 11 to 25 could literally all be switched and flip flopped and it wouldn’t raise many eyebrows or make any less sense than we have above. From preseason to the end of week 1 will show wild swings and tremendous movement. Take a good look at the above rankings… they aren’t going to last long. Comment away with your kudos, thoughts, or suggestions. Go easy on us… it’s still August.

Final Poll Business for 2009

OTP was proud as could be to be a part of two of the blogosphere’s most respected collection of bloggers… the CBS Sports Blogpoll and the SEC Power Poll hosted by TeamSpeadKills. Each week this season we’ve compiled our lists, tried to rationalize who we thought best, and rank accordingly. It was often a collaborative sort of effort with our readers, and more often than not, something that we as a site were proud of. There were weeks where the logic used may have been flawed, certain results and outcomes weighted more heavily than others, and playing the dangerous game of comparing two teams with no common opponents, substandard results, and a boatload of expectations. All in all, though, it was an exciting way to keep tabs on 2009, and OTP is honored to be included in both of those things. Here’s our final ballots, along with a small smattering of explanation…

This week’s Blogpoll was certainly easy to start, but after the preordained #1, it got screwy. I guess that’s a metaphor of sorts for this particular season in general. Alabama is clearly The Team, and I do find it funny that TCU, the team many were clamoring for to play Alabama in the BCS Championship was drilled by Boise State. Respectable loss? Of course. Justifying the BCS for not including them? A little… yeah.

Florida moves to #2 for us, though Boise State does make a case, being undefeated and all, but when a team is the SEC runner up, whose only loss came to the eventual national title winner, and defeated one of those pesky undefeateds in their own Bowl, that to me, warrants that sort of lofty ranking. Boise State slides up, and perhaps strange in some eyes, Texas stays where they are. The Longhorns’ performance against the Crimson Tide was admirable to say the least, and borders on impressive considering their Heisman contender sat out the majority of the game. Ohio State rounds out our top 5, thanks largely to their victory over Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

Towards the bottom of the poll, it truly is anyone’s guess, as certain teams like Clemson probably could have jumped in and did so on a number of fellow participants’ ballots. Unfortunately for us, having watched Kentucky play all year, beating the Cats isn’t enough to stake a trip to the Top 25.

Finally, we were asked to submit our final SEC Power Poll for the 2009 season. This one was easy in one sense, exceptionally challenging in the other. At the top, it’s easy to pick 1-2-3-4. At the bottom, it’s easy to pick 12. 5-11 though is a total guessing game. Is Georgia better than Kentucky? Probably. Did Kentucky beat Georgia? Yep. So do you discount season long results or do you discount head to head competition? Exactly.

This is what we came up with:

  1. Alabama: National champs, SEC champs, pretty self explanatory.
  2. Florida: A better game by Tebow in Atlanta and the Gators may have been our #1 after they beat Texas.
  3. Ole Miss: Disappointing when compared to this season’s gigantic hype wagon that rolled in, but the Rebels peaked at the end with another Cotton Bowl victory.
  4. LSU: In the top tier but barely holding on. Confusing losses, some lackluster performances, and significant underperformances at times this season.
  5. Georgia: One of those middle of the pack teams that are just as good (or bad) as those in the same boat.
  6. Tennessee: See Georgia.
  7. Arkansas: See Georgia/Tennessee.
  8. Auburn: See Georgia/Tennessee/Arkansas.
  9. South Carolina: See Georgia/Tennessee/Arkanasas/Auburn.
  10. Kentucky: Probably indistinguishable from Mississippi State below them, and the Cats did lose to MSU. That’s logical, rational, and totally not needed here.
  11. Mississippi State: Better than Vandy.
  12. Vandy: Definitely the worst team in the SEC this season, arguably one of the worst in recent memory. The fact that 2009 is finally over is literally the only thing to celebrate for Dores fans.

Final Regular Season Blogpoll Ballot

All season long, OTP has been honored to participate in the weekly CBSSports/MGoBlog Blogpoll. It’s roughly the best and brightest 100 or so college football blogs on the net. To be included in that group is quite the honor.

This week is the final ballot we’ll submit until after the Bowls have all played out. And this week, unlike any other, we have as much empirical evidence of a team’s quality and stature as we’re going to get. The conference champions have been decided, the major can’t miss games of 2009 have been played, and all that’s left is 35 games until college football is put in storage for the better part of 7 months.

This weekend saw upsets, near upsets, close games, and thrashings, but perhaps more so than any other weekend, the games were spread far enough around through the day that the dedicated souls who wanted to could football their asses off for around 14 hours. And yes… we did.

What have we learned? We’ve learned that 14 weeks of a season and a 3-year legacy can go for naught should you lose to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. We learned that Mack Brown at Texas is either the game’s riskiest clock manager or its most insane. We learned that Cincinnati, as good teams often do, finds a way to win games it has no business winning, while we confirmed that Pittsburgh almost always disappears in high importance situations. We learned that Paul Johnson’s option attack is unstoppable when executed correctly, and Georgia Tech is indeed for real.

All of this made this week’s Blogpoll more than a simple attempt at logic or a haphazard collection of loosely connected thoughts or ideas. There are facts. There are game results. There’s our impression of each of these teams gained from 14 straight Saturday’s spent parked in front of a television. And some Thursdays. And a few Fridays. Maybe a couple Wednesdays. With the occasional Tuesday.

Dropped Out This Week:
Houston (#19)
Clemson (#24)
Northwestern (#25)

We disregarded where we had teams ranked last week, and focused considerably on what these teams have done this season as a whole. Hence, the large amounts of swing, etc. which will probably win us some award from Brian the Blogpoll czar for being manic-depressive and flying off the handle.

Some random thoughts: Florida stays in the Top 6, if for only because I believe that they are clearly one of the best teams in the country. Did they perform on Saturday against Alabama? No. But I’m of the opinion that that had significantly more to do with the Crimson Tide than the Gators. Penn State drops a bit more so because of teams underneath them like Georgia Tech jumping them. Iowa jumped considerably as well, namely because we had punished them a bit unjustly in the last several polls. Feel differently? Let us know.

Pitt and Oregon State stay in the poll if only because of who they lost to. The same cannot be said for those that were bounced. Per usual, comments and such should you feel the need to voice some discontent over where we have a team ranked, a team we don’t have ranked at all, or really anything else for that matter.

Week 13 Blogpoll Draft Ballot

Well, well, well… wasn’t that a nice little weekend of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and upsets galore. Granted, it wasn’t Earth shaking upsets like Alabama getting beat by Auburn or Florida getting dusted by Florida State, but many of the games that ended up exactly as they were supposed to certainly didn’t go according to plan.

This week’s poll was challenging mainly because it’s at that point in the season when one loss won’t necessarily knock you out of the Top 25 depending on your body of work. Take Georgia Tech for example… or Pitt. Solid teams who stumbled to rivals in games that could have gone either way. Both were Top 10 teams before the weekend, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that would argue they still are not two of the 25 best teams in the country. Here goes the rationale…

Boise State

The undefeated teams remain locked at the top, and in my opinion, this is the order of talent, skill, and deservingness to play for a national title. Truthfully, there’s the first three and then everyone else, based again on that pesky body of work. The SEC and the Big 12 are head and shoulders above the Mountain West, WAC, and the Big East and the elite teams in those leagues benefit because of it.

Ohio State
Penn State
Virginia Tech

These teams essentially slide into the back half of the Top 10 only because of the losses in front of them. Has has been the case most of the season, these back half Top 10 teams have significant accomplishments but more than a couple significant reservations or concerns. In OSU’s case, it’s their inability to not get thrashed by any team faster than a banana slug on Vicodin.

The rest of the poll is comprised of teams that either moved down because of a devastating loss or moved up simply because teams in front of them inexplicably lost. Virtually no one has earned their ranking solely on their accomplishments since each and every one has had at least one head scratching screw up this season. Utah (#20), North Carolina (#21), Navy (#22) and Ole Miss (#25) all drop out on the heels of losses, further proving again that Ole Miss is probably the most schizophrenic team in the entire FBS division.

Clemson hangs on by its teeth, and Northwestern squeaks in, mainly because there was no other program I felt deserving of being ranked. Your thoughts on what we got wrong, who we over valued, who we under valued, and who should be in there in the comments section. Go.

Week 12 Blogpoll Draft Ballot

Ridiculously easy this week or just ridiculously flawed? You be the judge. Comments go in the comments section, and tell us what we’ve got overranked, underranked, or who we’re missing. Go.

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama
2 Texas
3 Florida
5 Cincinnati
6 Boise State
7 Georgia Tech
8 Pittsburgh
9 Ohio State
10 Oregon
11 Penn State 1
12 Oklahoma State 1
13 Virginia Tech 3
14 Clemson 4
15 Brigham Young 2
16 Oregon State 3
17 LSU 6
18 Miami (Florida) 2
19 Iowa 2
20 Utah 6
21 North Carolina 1
22 Navy 2
23 Central Michigan 2
24 Nebraska 2
25 Mississippi 1
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Wisconsin (#14), Stanford (#15), Rutgers (#23).

Week 11 Ballot Madness

Each Wednesday we get the task of bringing forth to the masses the two things we do here at OTP that matter outside this site, the CBSSports Blogpoll and the SEC Power Poll. Let’s get it on…

This week’s edition of our Blogpoll ballot:

This week’s edition sees us unfortunately need to right the ship a bit as we buy back in to teams we bounced after horrific losses. Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech are back in after promptly being shown the door after putrid stretches. Despite the losses, they’re still great teams, and worthy of inclusion. The same cannot be said for Houston (#10), Utah (#14), Arizona (#16), Southern Cal (#17), South Florida (#18), and Auburn (#23) who were all bounced out of the poll. Will this win us some award from Brian the MGoBlog creator and Poll czar for too much swing or being captivated by inappropriate results? Probably. But don’t blame us… blame the teams who proceeded to define themselves as posers. Houston and Utah could make a case to stay, but it’s a weak case. At best. And now for the SEC…


We here at OverThePylon were asked to be a voting member in the SEC Power Poll this season hosted by Team Speed Kills. It’s a collection of the best and brightest SEC blogs throughout the college football landscape. Each week we’ll be posting our ballot, and an expansion of the little blurbs we have to put forward with our votes.

General Power Poll Philosophy
In general, it wouldn’t really make sense for us not to start off with the teams already ranked on our CBSSports Blogpoll. So that’s the starting point. From there it’s an exercise in resume evaluation, accomplishments, and expectation. Some use their Power Poll as an evaluation of who would win on a neutral field given the teams’ recent performances while their poll ballots are a combination of where the teams started, how they’ve done, all balanced with preseason expectations. Our Power Poll ballot is a nice hybrid of the two, as is our Blogpoll Ballot. Off we go with this week’s ballot…

  1. Alabama: Tide rolling along, but will be challenged by Auburn before their SEC title game.
  2. Florida: Neck and neck with Bama. SEC Championship set, Gators with no significant tests to end 09.
  3. LSU: When you’re a top 10 team and only 3rd best in your conference, that says quite a bit about the SEC.
  4. Ole Miss: Dexter McCluster beat Tennessee, not the Rebels. McCluster clocks in at 1-0 for the season.
  5. Auburn: A loss to Georgia isn’t that bad… as long as it was good Georgia and not bad Georgia.
  6. South Carolina: New uniforms, same old results. Another loss to Florida
  7. Georgia: Georgia has two games remaining against Kentucky and Georgia Tech. With any luck, they’ll be 0-2.
  8. Kentucky: Cats beat Vandy, get Bowl eligible, resounding, “Who cares?” by everyone not wearing Wildcat Blue.
  9. Arkansas: You beat a SunBelt team big. Congrats?
  10. Tennessee: Vols need one win between Vandy and Kentucky to make a Bowl. Please, baby Jesus, don’t let this happen
  11. Mississippi State: Winning out makes the Bulldogs Bowl eligible. A longshot for sure but doable.
  12. Vandy: The good news for Vandy is that 09 is almost over. Seriously… that’s the only positive thing