If you vote on performance on the field, then you have to have South Florida #1. Of the unbeaten teams, no one has better wins than USF does. If you vote on quality wins, then LSU should still be #1 because no one has better wins than the Tigers do. You can’t make a reasonable case for BC or Arizona State #1 since they don’t have the best resume of the unbeatens (USF does) and doesn’t have the best, most proven coaching staff (Ohio State does). You can’t vote Oklahoma #1 because LSU has the best resume of the once-beatens.
I bring this up because the AP poll actually releases votes week-to-week, and we actually get to know who voted what. There actually was one nutjob who voted Arizona State in the top spot and that was… Neal McCready from Mobile, Alabama. Huh? The guy who voted BC #1? Tommy Trujillo from The New Mexican. The one person who left LSU #1? Jon Wilner from San Jose, California. The person who voted Oklahoma #1? Adam Van Brimmer from Savannah, Georgia. At least these aren’t homer votes.
South Florida did pick up 11 first place votes, and they came from Louisiana, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, Greensboro, Nashville, El Paso, Austin, Provo, Los Angeles, and two national guys (Stewart Mandel of SI.com and Tom Hart of CSTV). But wait – what about Brian Landman, from the St. Pete Times? Surely he’d have USF #1, right? Nope, in fact he has them #3 behind Ohio State and Oklahoma.
Fortunately, we no longer have to worry about the AP Poll since the BCS poll is now out. Unfortunately, that means the Coaches’ Poll now does matter, and I shouldn’t have to tell you why it’s a joke. Anyway, there are a few significant discrepancies between the humans and the computers.
The biggest discrepancy is USC – the humans have the Trojans a consensus 9, but the computers have them #23. The next biggest is Hawaii, who is 16th in the human polls, but 25th among the computers, and only 2 of the 5 computer polls have Hawaii in the top 25. After that, it’s Oklahoma, a consensus #4 in the human polls, but #11 in the computer polls.
I think that computer polls are a nice tiebreaker since they don’t factor in things like track record, tradition, coaching, emotions, and other confounding factors in the human polls. They don’t care that USF has been playing football for a decade; they just look at the games as they have been played. However, since they can be heavily biased based on what factors go into them, so it’s best to use several of them averaged together like the BCS does.
To that end, there is a site that puts together every known computer poll from a reputable source (66 in all) then adds the AP, Coaches’, Harris, and Master Coaches Survey polls to come out with one huge master poll. The top 25 of that poll are as follows:
- Ohio State
- Arizona State
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- Virginia Tech
- Kansas State
- Texas Tech
Notables: Hawaii (31), FSU (29), Miami (58), Notre Dame (84)