I volunteered to do the BlogPoll ballot for CougCenter this season. So far this Sunday I have done nothing but regret that decision. Ranking teams is hard.
For much of the morning I've been working on creating my own little ranking system using yards per play and trying to adjust it for opponents, but it was taking a long time and I've got lots of quizzes to grade and homework to do (read: NFL Redzone to watch). I'll keep tweaking it and hopefully by mid-season it will be something that I'm comfortable with.
For now, my ballot is created in super subjective fashion. I started with all the teams I "think" are good based on watching games. Then I checked scores, game stats, etc. to shift them around or push them out altogether. Side note: Leaving Texas out feels good.
As an example of how difficult this becomes: Should TCU be unranked because they lost a close game to Baylor in a supercharged road atmosphere? In my mind, you can't really reward Baylor for the win if you are discounting TCU for losing that game. So I felt the need to keep TCU on the ballot. Of course, I could have said the same thing about Penn State, who lost to Alabama. You just can't rank everybody and that is why the last five teams are the hardest. I'm working on a system where the numbers do everything. Then I just have to worry about if my formulas are worthwhile instead of wondering if TCU's loss is better than Penn State's loss.
Since this is my first time voting in any sort of ballot, I felt the need to acknowledge my beloved Washington State Cougars for their spectacular start to the 2011 season. Want to argue with me for ranking a team that has outscored opponents 123-28 through two games? Go ahead. Tell me about how bad the teams were. I'll still have a big grin on my face thinking about Marshall Lobbestael's five touchdown passes against UNLV.
Do I think WSU is the 25th best team in the country? Not really, but not many other teams in the country could have done any better with the Cougs' first two games. For that, I reward them.
Poll is after the jump. Feel free to tell me how dumb I am in the comments.