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Blog Pollin': Week Fourteen Ballot

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BlogPoll Ballot, Week 14
This is not a power poll.
1. Missouri (11-1)
2. West Virginia (10-1)
3. Ohio State (11-1)
4. LSU (10-2)
5. Georgia (10-2)
6. Oklahoma (10-2)
7. Kansas (11-1)
8. Boston College (10-2)
9. Virginia Tech (10-2)
10. Southern Cal (9-2)
11. Illinois (9-3)
12. Florida (9-3)
13. Tennessee (9-3)
14. Oregon (8-3)
15. Arizona State (9-2)
16. South Florida (9-3)
17. Clemson (9-3)
18. Wisconsin (9-3)
19. Virginia (9-3)
20. Cincinnati (9-3)
21. Texas (9-3)
22. Hawaii (11-0)
23. BYU (10-2)
24. Auburn (8-4)
25. Connecticut (9-3)
Waiting: Michigan, Florida State, Penn State, Wake Forest, Arkansas, Boise State, Oregon State, Michigan State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M.
- - -
This week’s poll brought to you by seventies proto-glam rockers Queen, who in the server-induced demise of this week’s official poll at MGoBlog reminds readers,
Whatever happens, I'll leave it all to chance.
Another heartache - another failed romance.
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess i'm learning
I must be warmer now...
I'll soon be turning round the corner now.
Outside the dawn is breaking,
But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free!

The Show must go on!
The Show must go on! Yeah!

- - -

Before these notes came up, an argument broke out in the comments based on the poll alone, begun by commenter usckb and backed by LSU partisan crepusucular, who take their cues from fearless leader (or pope; he has the hat - ed.) Les Miles in arguing that, rather than suffer for its second defeat, the Tigers should remain at the top of the polls – in reality, they argue, "LSU has tied twice," and its collection of wins marks it as "still the best team in the nation."

I’d like to politely second the comment deeming this argument "revisionist horse shit." With apologies to the New Pornographers, the rules have changed. There is an overtime system that’s been in place since today’s seniors were in elementary school; if you lose via this system you are, in fact, a loser on that specific occasion. The closeness of the score does not mitigate defeat, though it should be taken into account in assessing the value (in the case of losses, the demerits) of any game. This is why LSU is still in front of Georgia, which has a comparable or perhaps slightly better set of wins but was obliterated at Tennessee.

Margin of victory also explains West Virginia’s status ahead of Ohio State, fresh off the Mountaineers’ 45-point smackdown of the second place team in its conference in the de facto Big East Championship. I would like to stress, though, that WVU and OSU are really "2" and "2a," because if I don’t, I’m going to find myself in a lot of trouble next week.

Missouri West Virginia Ohio State
Illinois Wisconsin
Connecticut Michigan
Cincinnati Penn State
Texas Tech Rutgers Michigan State
Texas A&M Miss. State Purdue
Colorado Maryland Northwestern
Nebraska Louisville
Kansas State East Carolina
Iowa State Washington
Ole Miss Syracuse
Western Mich. Western Mich.
Marshall Kent State
Illinois State Y'town State
South Florida Illinois

I think Missouri is clearly out front, as clearly as it could be in the current morass, but the Buckeyes and Mountaineers are in a dead heat. I think of the rankings as an "average" of all games, and on that front, West Virginia is ahead this week because it’s played one less worthless game than OSU, basically accounting to the Buckeyes’ opener against Youngstown State. This is academic in real world terms, because the Mountaineers are in if they crush Pittsburgh as expected in the Brawl Saturday, but that game might hurt WVU’s "average" for the year incrementally enough to push Ohio State in front; the more I look at the games, the more I think Ohio State, with the best win on either schedule (Wisconsin) could be ahead right now. Then again, the Mountaineers just beat the saliva out of UConn in the biggest game of their season... It’s an absolutely arbitrary call, and I reserve the right to change my mind - er, whatever that is, exactly – based on what happens with West Virginia against Pitt.

Boston College is ahead of Virginia Tech because the Eagles beat Virginia Tech, albeit in somewhat dubious circumstances; obviously, this will be settled Saturday. Oregon is what it is, and is still sitting on a lot of decent-to-good wins like Arizona State and Michigan, plus (more importantly) doesn’t have a really terrible opponent anywhere to drag its strength of schedule into the gutter. The worst teams the Ducks have played are conference games against Stanford and Washington, and compared to the losing mid-major and I-AA teams bringing up the rear for literally all the Ducks’ competition, that’s strong. It would be stronger if Arizona State hadn’t, uh, laid an egg on Thanksgiving, putting a big black mark on Oregon’s best win, but I’m not going to disregard UO’s early success in post-Dixon pessimism. Again, academic: both Oregon and Arizona State are sliding and probably out of the BCS picture (though ASU is still clinging to an at-large spot, or an improbable USC loss to UCLA), especially if their in-state rivals have any say this weekend.

Hawaii: Florida State made me do it. If only the Seminoles had pulled an upset, maybe I could have found a way to keep FSU in the poll and the Warriors out. I wanted to, really I did. Out of principle, out of consistency, out of reaction to unthinking hype like this. But the Warriors did wreck ten-win Boise State’s six-year WAC championship streak, and – though BSU’s best win is Fresno State, and the Warriors’ entire schedule features exactly one win against a BCS school (Fresno over Kansas State Saturday) and virtually no other I-A wins outside of one another in pillow fight WAC play – Hawaii sneaks in by default. They’re joined by BYU, which won its 16th straight Mountain West game and second straight conference title by ending Utah’s seven-game win streak Saturday. Bronco Mendenhall was an obscure, bizarrely-named, eyebrow-raising hire, and he’s done a fantastic job with the Cougars after a few really lean years under Gary Crowton.

As always, everything will be completely different next week.