Thursday, September 07, 2006

Return of the Wack

In his weekly recap of the goings-on in the world of the Blogpoll, Brian runs a small feature termed the "Wack Ballot Watchdog," which aims to point out the ballot most likely to have been produced with the assistance of a liberal dose of psilocybin. Generally there are a couple of voters who are easy to pick on, and that's done with great zest.

One of the shortcomings of the Blogpoll, I believe, is that while it was designed as a tool for discussion, it appears (from watching the feeds roll in) that most people are content to list the results, comment about where their team is, and move along. And that's fine. We're all mostly busy people, and a lot of the time that's all we have time for, especially if we're trying to get something together about our team.

Well, this week I've decided to dig a little deeper through the Blogpoll results just to see what's there waiting to be discovered. Admittedly, this archaeological expedition was mostly inspired by the absence of the Badgers on most voters' ballots (of 62 ballots submitted, only 14 featured a vote for the Badgers; five of those were 25th place votes, and 6 of the remaining nine fell between positions 22 and 24 inclusive.) This is not to say that I necessarily feel the Badgers are being disrespected; after all, to the casual viewer, all they did was what any half-decent Big Ten team should do: demolish its MAC opponent. What I saw was a young team that answered a few major concerns during Week 1 with a healthy quarterback and a punishing running back, and which should be seriously considered for votes in the future. Of course, all that stands between the currently under-appreciated team and the loss at Michigan (steel yourselves, Badger faithful, you know it's coming) is Saturday's D-IAA laugher and a visit from San Diego State, so any momentum the Badgers build is likely to go out the window by the end of the month.

Anyway, tired of seeing people exclude Wisconsin in favor of teams that, say, went down to the wire with a certain awful team from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, I resolved to see what the Blogpoll votes could tell me. And here's what:

* Nearly half of all voters forgot that Hawaii sucks when they travel to the mainland. 30 voters were impressed enough by Alabama's one-touchdown victory over Hawaii that they included them on their ballots. Journalism is for Rockstars engaged in some homerism, giving the Tide a 12th place vote; next up was Texas Tech fan Cheap Seats/Double T Ranch, ranking Bama 14th. I'd like to remind voters that Alabama only scored 25 points on the (Rainbow) Warriors. Unless Hawaii has taken a severe turn for the defensive, that total, frankly, is awful. Last season, only two of Hawaii's opponents scored fewer than 25 points: 2-9 Idaho scored 0, and 3-8 Utah State put up 23. This is not good company. In fact, over the past 4 seasons, Hawaii has played 53 games. Their opponents have exceeded 25 points in all 39 of those, and those opponents from DI-A had a total won/lost record of 66-117. Bama was forced to punt 4 times and had to settle for field goal attempts 4 times. When you play Hawaii, you should be bored of the end zone by the middle of the third quarter. Alabama wasn't. This is not a good sign.

* Speaking of a sucky Idaho team, most people dropped Michigan State like a bad habit after last week's nailbiter against the Vandals. Senior quarterback Drew Stanton pilots an offense that, by all rights, should be explosive. They only put up 27 points at home, giving up 17 to Idaho, which hasn't won more than 3 games in a season since 2000 (when they won 5). In the preseason poll, nine voters (including yours truly) had the Spartans ranked. After that close call, four voters gritted their teeth and voted for the men in green and white. Three of them are potentially excusable; the 614 and Rakes of Mallow dropped the Spartans 2 and 5 spots, respectively, and the Enlightened Spartan submitted his first ballot of the season this week. He gets off scot-free for being a homer and ranking the Spartans 17th (although his vote for Michigan at 18th place -- just below MSU -- reeks of the world-famous East Lansing Inferiority Complex). The final vote for MSU is the most befuddling: Stranko and Orson actually elevated them by two spots! Did the Spartans actually exceed your expectations with that crapfest, guys?

* Consider a situation: two major conference teams go on the road to play against a MAC team. One beats an upper-tier MAC team by three touchdowns; the other beats a historically low-level team by one measly touchdown. Who gets your vote, if you have to vote for one? I'm referring, of course, to Wisconsin and Boston College, respectively, and a few people did some mighty weird stuff. The Eagles' brush with death in Mount Pleasant didn't change a few voters' minds about their standing: they marked time in the polls of the Cover Two, TAAMABINPO, and Mountainlair. For some reason, though, Section Six had the urge to move them from #25 to #22. What gives?

* Just a quick thought about Arizona: what does TrojanWire know that the rest of us don't?

* Four voters saw fit to include Purdue in their preseason rankings. After Indiana State hung around for more than one half and finished with 35 points on a defense that needs to make it through a Big Ten season, two of those voters dropped the Boilermakers. The two who didn't -- Pitch Right and Sea Misting -- moved them up in the poll, by three and two positions, respectively. Should be interesting when a I-A team with a pulse comes calling in West Lafayette.

Those are the big things. But this post would be incomplete without mention of Brian's elevation of Tennessee from unranked to #1. He's testing out a new philosophy that involves voting and then immediately forgetting who was voted for, creating a clean slate each week. While I agree with the sentiment behind that move, it sure looks funny on the screen. I'll see how his ballot looks next week before I pile on too badly.

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Cool Hand Mike said...

Bama couldn't run the ball w/ 9 Hawaii defenders in the box. The defense(Alabama) wore out towards the end and the comeback almost occurred. Alabama had a young O-line and a young QB in his first start. 2 touchdown were called out of bounds and one feild goal hit the cross bar. No excuses. I'm just thankful we were playing Hawaii and not a team that was really worth a damn.

Cool Hand Mike said...

I know you've probably seen this already but after the bowl game your guys had with Auburn, I posted this on every Moo College site I could find.

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