A Look inside the Polls

The new Harris and Coaches polls are out along with now 5 of the 6 computer rankings are out, and so its time to dive in and see what they all mean. The human polls (Harris, and Coaches) make up 1/3 each and then the rest of the computers make up one third of the BCS rankings.

Also, the human polls go by total votes and not their placing in the poll. This is a more accurate reading because a team who is ranked just one spot higher in the poll position is not one point higher, because those teams could be separated by a few total votes and that is why the vote count is used instead of their position in the polls.

The comparisons of the teams will be the top three schools in the MWC, which will be BYU, TCU, and Utah. The reason to include TCU is because if they are to have a 11-1 record will defeating two teams ranked in the top 15 and top 10 TCU should be able to be ranked high enough with the provisions that allow a team to be top 16 and ahead of another automatic BCS qualifier that is lower then 16.

Colley Matrix Sagarin Ratings Wolfe Ratings Massey Ratings Anderson/Hester Billingsley Report
5. UTAH

25. BYU

31. TCU

14 Utah
15 TCU
16 BYU 
N/A 4. Utah

31.BYU

33. TCU

6. Utah

19. BYU

31. TCU

9. Utah

0. BYU

19.TCU

This chart above is what the current BCS computers have the teams at as of today, still it is only five of the six computer rankings.  These computers really favor the Utes.  Also in the other two polls rankings are listed below.

Harris Poll Rankings                Coaches Poll

9. BYU 1,964 Points                         8. BYU 1,086 Points

13. Utah 1,416 Points                     13. Utah 793 Points

28. TCU 139 Points                         27. TCU 84

There are good and bad things about Utah and BYU being ranked so high this part of the season.  The main disadvantage is that the Mountain West is much tougher then the WAC, MAC, and C-USA.  All three of those leagues have undefeated teams in Boise State, Ball State, and Tulsa.  It will be hard for Tulsa or Ball State to get there because both are barely in the discussion for the top 25 in the coaches and Harris polls.

Boise State is the biggest threat to Utah or BYU Boise State’s SOS did take a hit with Fresno State losing to Hawai’i, but the Broncos get Hawai’i and Fresno both at home, and their toughest game looks to be at Nevada, but Boise has owned the Wolfpack the past six years.

Then there are teams that will jump BYU, at this time, or block Utah from getting too much higher.  The teams may not be better, but public perception in the polls will rank these other teams higher because of their brand name and conference and just assume they are better then a lowly Mountain West teams.  One more thing before more team breakdowns, all the BYU fans who were pumped and the ‘experts’ who were writting articles and wondering if BYU, and to a lesser extent Utah, could make the BCS title game need to use Lee Corso’s “Not so fast my friend,”  because just this last week BYU has a less then impressive win against Utah State were jumped by Texas Tech who had a convincingly victory over Kansas State on the road, but what is more interesting to me is that while BYU was jumped they still gained more votes then the week before going from 1,054 points to 1,086.  This is important since the poll averages total votes and not poll position and in the BCS who measures out to four decimal points each vote matters.

Below will be scenarios for what teams could stay ahead of the MWC champ, if it is BYU or Utah and the winner is unbeaten.  First will be teams listed below in the coaches poll, and I choose that because it is 1/3 and as bad as it sounds the most reliable source of voting.

1. Oklahoma/5.Texas/ Big XII Runner up

The Big XII is interesting because Texas and Oklahoma play each other this weekend and it is possible that even though one team will lose that both could still be ahead of BYU.  The reasoning behind this is that if Texas wins Oklahoma most likely will not fall behind BYU.  The only way for that is if BYU defeats New Mexico by at least 30 points and Oklahoma gets beat by the same margin. That is an unlikely scenario that Oklahoma losses by that much.

On the other hand is Texas if they lose in my opinion they will fall behind BYU almost no matter what, even if BYU wins a close one over New Mexico.  Unless Red River Rivalry comes down to the last play and BYU wins by a few then there is a scenario that Texas could stay ahead with a loss.

Then there is the runner up in the Big XII.  This could be interesting, because most have Missouri playing either Oklahoma or Texas in the title game.  Missouri could still lose the Texas game and make it to the title game since the north is still not on the level of the South.

A scenario that could pit the runner up ahead of an undefeated MWC champ is if it is MIssouri who is 12-0, but then loses the title game.  That scenario could put Missouri ahead of an undefeated Utah but may not have Missouri ahead of an undefeated BYU.

If the loser is Oklahoma or Texas who most likely would be number one that loss may drop this loser anywhere between three and five, and realistaclly ahead of any potential undefeated MWC team.  If the loser is three or four that is an automatic BCS bid, because a non conference champ gets an automatic bid if they are third or fourth.

Texas Tech is neglected because they play four straight ranked teams with two at home and two on the road, and history has shown that the Red Raiders have not take the step to the top of the Big XII.  If Texas Tech wins first two of those then the Red Raiders will be considered for the Big XII and this discussion.

9. USC

Currently the Trojans have only one ranked team on the schedule as of today and that is Cal.  Cal has been iffy this year and USC can not rely on that team to be ranked.  The Arizona game on the road could be a tough game with the Wildcats should be 5-1 when the Trojans come into town and very close to a top 25 ranking.  Then there is the wildcard in Notre Dame who currently has a 4-1 record, albeit against bad competition.  Notre Dame is possibly the biggest key to USC not just staying ahead of the MWC champ, but also getting back to the national title game.

As painful it makes me say this the Fighting Irish could realistically have a 9-2 record coming into the Collesium and everyone loves Notre Dame so they could be int he top 15 by then, but on the flip side voters have bee heisitant to vote The University of College Football of America aka Notre Dame in the polls so far, but if they are 9-2 t hey will be ranked probably in the top 20.

By years end USC most likely have wins over three teams maybe four that were ranked at some point during the season, California, Oregon, Notre Dame, and Arizona.  If you look at either Utah or BYU they will have faced each other, and TCU who will be ranked as well.  By years end the MWC dominance most likely will not be brought up even though the MWC went 6-1 this year over the Pac-10.

USC will need to have another loss for either school to stay ahead, and it is mainly off of name recognition of being in the Pac-10.  The one good thing though about Utah and BYU if both are 11-0 come November 22nd is that it is the last week before conference title games and is could easily be a matchup with a BYU ranked as high as five and Utah team in the top 10.  That is much better then what USC would face as they play UCLA for thier last game.

10. Georgia

The way the SEC is going they could be ahead of BYU but be left out because most likely the SEC champ will be in the title game and then the loser, or a representative from the East would get an almost certain gain an at-large bid and leave a two loss Gerogria team out even if ahead of an undefeated MWC champ.

No one really expects Vandy who is 5-0 to stay that way and win the West, so expect Georgia to defeat Vandy and then look forward to the no longer named ‘World’s largest outdoor cocktail party’ in Jacksonville with Florida taking on Georgia in to decide the West.

Even if Georgia loses to LSU between those two games if they win the Florida game that should be enough to put them over the edge and make it to the SEC title game, which could be a rematch against LSU or Alabama.

Georgia was overrated to begin the year and in my projections Georgia will have to make it to at least make it the SEC title game to stay ahead of Utah or BYU.  The reasoning because I feel they will lose to both Florida and LSU which would be 3 loses and very unlikely they would be ahead of the MWC champ.

11. Ohio State

The Buckeyes are tricky because they were shut out at USC without Chris Wells and rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor not the primary quarterback.  Voters could give them a different look, plus the USC game was in early September and as everyone knows it is better to lose early then late.

The Big 10 is better then people thought with Penn State ranked 6th right now and Michigan State just now entering the polls, and the computers like Ohio State much better then BYU which puts the Buckeyes one spot behind in some mock BCS rankings.

A one loss Ohio State team that has wins over one top 5 team, assuming Penn State is there, a win over a top 20 Wisconsin at the time but fading fast, and perhaps a third over a possibly ranked Michigan State would be enough by its own merit to put the Buckeyes ahead in the human polls.

12. Florida

See Georgia above.  Honestly there is no difference except that Florida gets LSU at home and Vandy on the road which is different from Georgia.  A Florida team that is able to defeat LSU, but lose in the title game that late loss should put Florida behind a undefeated BYU or Utah.

History has shown that two loss teams can still do well, but last year it was the SEC champ that had two losses and not the runner up who made the title game.

All what really matters for the MWC champ to make the BCS is to be top 12 in the BCS rankings or be top 16 and ahead of another conference champ to qualify.  The latter would most likely be the Big East or ACC champ, and under that scenario a one loss MWC champ could still get in, and even a long shot could put a one loss MWC team in as long as their loss is not agaisnt a team that goes undefeated.

Below are some mock BCS rankings

Here is ESPNs Brad Edwards Mock BCS Rankings

Mock BCS Standings (through Week 6)
Percentage
1, Oklahoma .936
2. Alabama .929
3. Missouri .912
4. Texas .843
5. Penn State .761
6. LSU .752
7. USC .619
8. Vanderbilt .616
9. Utah .615
10. Georgia .602
11. Texas Tech .563
12. BYU .503

Here is the unofficial BCS Rankings from the website BCSGuru.com the rankings go to 29 to include TCU

Rank Pvs Team Rk Coach % Rk Harris % BCS
1 1 Oklahoma 1 1524 0.9993 1 2837 0.9954 0.9483
2 2 Alabama 4 1339 0.8780 3 2594 0.9102 0.9261
3 5 Missouri 2 1404 0.9207 4 2553 0.8958 0.9121
4 3 Texas 5 1305 0.8557 5 2447 0.8586 0.8481
5 6 Penn State 6 1203 0.7889 6 2210 0.7754 0.7648
6 4 LSU 3 1398 0.9167 2 2604 0.9137 0.7335
7 9 USC 9 1055 0.6918 8 2025 0.7105 0.6408
8 7 Georgia 10 937 0.6144 10 1803 0.6326 0.6057
9 11 Utah 13 793 0.5200 13 1416 0.4968 0.6023
10 12 Texas Tech 7 1101 0.7220 7 2036 0.7144 0.5888
11 17 Vanderbilt 14 704 0.4616 14 1327 0.4656 0.5824
12 10 Brigham Young 8 1086 0.7121 9 1964 0.6891 0.5071
13 13 Ohio State 11 893 0.5856 12 1577 0.5533 0.4896
14 14 Boise State 16 624 0.4092 15 1177 0.4130 0.4574
15 15 Florida 12 883 0.5790 11 1768 0.6204 0.4365
16 20 Virginia Tech 18 393 0.2577 18 802 0.2814 0.3530
17 24 Oklahoma State 17 523 0.3430 17 964 0.3382 0.3004
18 22 Northwestern 22 231 0.1515 23 268 0.0940 0.2885
19 19 Kansas 15 667 0.4374 16 1157 0.4060 0.2811
20 30 Michigan State 19 273 0.1790 21 424 0.1488 0.2159
21 28 Ball State 29 75 0.0492 32 85 0.0298 0.1997
22 26 Wake Forest 21 247 0.1620 22 351 0.1232 0.1650
23 8 South Florida 20 267 0.1751 19 593 0.2081 0.1444
24 37 Georgia Tech 31 56 0.0367 29 126 0.0442 0.1103
25 38 North Carolina 26 88 0.0577 25 194 0.0681 0.0919
26 33 California 25 98 0.0643 26 169 0.0593 0.0912
27 16 Auburn 23 121 0.0793 20 456 0.1600 0.0798
28 34 Tulsa 28 76 0.0498 27 143 0.0502 0.0633
29 29 Texas Christian 27 84 0.0551 28 139 0.0488 0.0580
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2 Responses

  1. The Sagarin rankings, while technically correct, are wrong as it pertains to the BCS discussion. Sagarin submits his ELO-CHESS rankings, and the gap is significant there between Utah (5th or 6th?) and BYU (41st).

  2. [...] The BCS standings don’t come out for a few weeks, due to the fact that many computer polls are not up to date yet, but with the Harris Poll now officially published and 5 of the 6 computer rankings out, Jeremy over at MWC breaks down some of the rankings. [...]

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