Week 1 BlogPoll Ballot: What do you know?

Like the preseason ballot, Week 1 is a bit different. First, I don't punish teams for lackluster wins in the first week. The first week can often be deceptive.

Southern Cal beat Virginia 52-7!!!! GIVE THEM THE CRYSTAL FOOTBALL NOW!!!!!!! Which is what a lot of people were saying after the Trojans shellacked Arkansas 50-14 back in 2006 -- then lost two games on the way to missing the NC game. It could be that Virginia is, as many of us expect, simply a terrible team.

We cannot know what we do not know -- in this case, whether Virginia will suck against the rest of its schedule. If Richmond beats Virginia 52-7 next week, will anyone argue that Richmond should be ranked No. 1? Of course not.

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Strong supporter of C&F's concerns about knowns and unknowns and...

Granted, that means that this ballot could be way off-base. And I would agree with you. All I am saying is that I see no reason to move Georgia, Missouri and Florida all down below Southern Cal given that all four teams won, especially when we all expected Virginia to be bad anyway. Had one of them lost, the entire order could have been reshuffled to reflect that -- but it seems wrong to come to the conclusion that Georgia is any worse than it was last week after it won its first game, something that has tripped up many teams over the years. (2007 Michigan, anyone?)

That said, I reserve the right to harshly punish any team that looks flat again in its second game, when the first-game issues should be worked out. And if Southern Cal blasts tOSU a week from Saturday, they will almost certainly move to No. 1, depending on what Georgia, Missouri, Florida, etc do.

At the same time, I reserve the right to hold in the same place a team that won unimpressively and jump other teams with more impressive wins above that team.

Is all of that arbitrary? Yes. And until sometime around Weeks 5 or 6, any ranking is arbitrary, since the data sample is so incredibly small. You can pretend to do straight resume rankings at this point, but the season will almost inevitably reduce your logic to rubble by the time the bowls roll around.

That said, I have also reluctantly come around to The Mayor's pronouncement last year about resume ranking on the first week, even though I do not go to rigorous resume ranking until later in the year.

and it simply is a fact that 1-0 is objectively better than 0-1, so all winless teams were booted from the poll altogether.

By all the same logic I have above, it is impossible to tell how good a team is if its only accomplishment is losing. So, however close a loss might be, and however good the competition might be, it is all a loss. No losing teams appear on the ballot below.

Rank Team Delta
1 Georgia --
2 Missouri --
3 Florida --
4 Southern Cal --
5 Oklahoma --
6 Ohio State --
7 Texas 5
8 Auburn --
9 Texas Tech --
10 LSU --
11 West Virginia --
12 Alabama 9
13 Kansas 1
14 Wisconsin 3
15 North Carolina --
16 Penn State 2
17 Oregon 9
18 Wake Forest 7
19 Arizona State --
20 Brigham Young --
21 South Florida 1
22 Utah 4
23 Colorado 1
24 Fresno State 2
25 East Carolina 1

Dropped Out: Clemson (#7), Illinois (#13), Rutgers (#16), Mississippi State (#23).

Movement, duly noted:

Texas. I still believe Florida Atlantic has turned a corner, and the Horns defeat of the Sun Belt champions was impressive, even in the Owls are the Sun Belt champions. Auburn, Texas Tech, LSU and West Virginia turned in less impressive wins over other Sun Belt squads or against FCS teams.
Alabama. Clemson isn't as good as I thought they were. But they aren't scrubs either, and they are members of a BCS league, assuming that the ACC still counts as a BCS conference. Which, for the time being, it does. Besides, the Tide was dominant in every facet of the game Saturday. Given the expectations and achievements so far, they deserve to be the ballot's big mover.
Kansas, Wisconsin, Penn State. Largely move up because of losses or unimpressive wins above them. (North Carolina, you're officially on notice.) Same more or less applies to South Florida.
Oregon. I was sorely mistaken about the Ducks, at least given what we know now. I was going on the Mike Bellotti odd-even principle. Evidence on the field, in the form of a 44-10 thrashing of woeful Washington -- again, still officially a BCS team -- overrules that.
Wake Forest. Yes, it was Baylor. But, again, officially BCS, yada yada yada. None of the other teams below them prove their worthiness to place this high.
Utah. Beating Michigan in the Big House doesn't count like it used to. But it still counts.
Colorado. Struggled more against the Rams than they should have at the beginning of the game, but eventually put Colorado State away in a charged rivalry game. The question is not whether the Buffaloes can move the ball -- they can do that. The question is whether they can stop anybody else.
Fresno State, East Carolina. Both of them beat BCS teams. And both will face a test next week to see if they belong, Fresno against Wisconsin, ECU against West Virginia.
Just outside: Bowling Green, UCLA. I haven't given up on Rutgers or Illinois. I'll be watching South Carolina at Vanderbilt on Thursday, but one of those teams would have to do something awfully special to earn a spot.

Convince me to change it. Otherwise, this is the Week 2 ballot.

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