Proofreadin' Changes Its Ballot Again

When I submitted the Blogpoll ballot, I said that I was still tweaking how I thought we should go about classifying teams.  For the last few weeks, I have give great priority to undefeated teams over one-loss teams.  I am prepared to abandon that rigidity to some degree.  This week - still toying with rankings - I used five criteria:

  • Whether a team is undefeated
  • Whether a team has at least one quality win
  • Whether a team has multiple quality wins
  • Whether a team has a Top 25 offense
  • Whether a team has a Top 25 defense

Quality wins are determined by counting up how many of a teams' opponents are in Jeff Sagarin's Top 50 this week.  This means that South Carolina does not get credit for a "quality win" for beating then-#22 Georgia.  After the jump I have the teams stratified by how many of these criteria they meet.  Every team in FBS with one loss or fewer was considered.  They are in alphabetical order within their categories.  At the far bottom, I offer a provisional ballot which fairly strictly adheres to these stratifications.

The format for how teams are listed is:  TEAM (RECORD) (TOTAL OFFENSE / TOTAL DEFENSE).  Asteriks indicate the number of wins over Sagarin Top 50 opponents.

Alabama (5-0)*** (464 / 292.4)
Boise St. (4-0)** (527 / 223.5)
TCU (5-0)** (462.4 / 238)

Only Alabama and the the twin scourges of the Tempe Area Chamber of Commerce can claim multiple wins over Top 50 teams, style points in high national rankings on total offense and defense, and a spotless record.  Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Oregon still have some work to do on achieving all those distinctions.

Arizona (4-0)** (x / 230.8)
Auburn (5-0)** (475.4 / x)
LSU (5-0)**** (x / 246.6)
Mich. St. (5-0)** (460.6 / x)
Nebraska (4-0)* (471.3 / 265)
Ohio St. (5-0)* (463.4 / 241.6)
Oregon (5-0)** (569.2 / x)

Oregon's defense has fallen from tops in the country a few weeks ago to 50th.  Yeesh.  And LSU is still the only the only team in the country with five FBS wins, four of which are over Top 50 opponents.  The Bengals have yet to play anyone spectacular, but almost everyone they have played has been, at least, decent.  Where there is an "X" in the second paranthetical, that means that the yards per game total was not in the Top 25, statistically.  I thought about showing where teams (like LSU) are particularly moribund in a category, but we wouldn't want to embarrass anyone.

Florida (4-1)*** (x / 291)
Iowa (4-1)** (x / 242.2)
Kansas St. (4-0)** (x / x)
Michigan (5-0)* (565 / x)
Nevada (5-0)* (526.4 / x)
Oklahoma (5-0)*** (x / x)
OK State (4-0)* (534.8 / x)
Stanford (4-1)** (496.6 / x)

Though Oklahoma has achieved Top 50 wins over Texas, Air Force, and Florida State, they lack flash on either side of the ball, which makes them vulnerable.  Iowa's defensive totals are stingy as hell.  And the only thing separating Nevada and Michigan is about 40 yards of offense.

Arkansas (3-1) (468 / 297)
San Diego St. (3-1) (509.5 / 296)
Texas A & M (3-1) (509.8 / 279.5)
Utah (4-0) (x / 246.8)

Speaking of comparisons you wouldn't expect, exactly what has Arkansas done that San Diego State hasn't on paper?  I saw the Razorbacks play against Alabama, so I'm pretty sure they are the better team, but the Aztecs have better numbers against a similar slate of opponents (save, except, that Arkansas lost to Alabama and SDSU lost to Mizzou).  The fresh is wearing off Utah's win over Pitt.  Besides the Utes spotless record and Top 15 defense, there isn't much to get excited about.

Air Force (4-1) (474.2 / x)
Baylor (4-1) (470.6 / x)
Florida State (4-1) (x / 293.4)
Houston (3-1) (465.5 / x)
Indiana (3-1) (455 / x)
Miami (FL) (3-1) (x / 266.8)
Mizzou (4-0) (x / x)
NC State (4-1)* (x / x)
Northwestern (5-0) (x / x)
So. Fla (3-1) (x / 301)
So. Miss (4-1) (x / 282.6)
West Virginia (3-1) (x / 249.3)
Wisconsin (4-1) (x / 301)

USC (4-1) (471.6 / x)

Florida State and Miami are both ranked in advance of their game this weekend, but given their Top 25 defenses, I expect an ugly game.  Missouri and Northwestern are, meanwhile, the statistically worst undefeated teams in the country. 

Colorado (3-1) (x / x)
Fresno St. (3-1) (x / x)
Maryland (4-1) (x / X)
So. Car. (3-1) (x / x)
UTEP (4-1) (x / x)
Temple (4-1) (x / x)
Syracuse (3-1) (x / x)

Believe it or not, the Gamecocks have about as good a resume as Colorado - both teams have beaten Georgia and nobody else, and neither has done it with an elite offense or defense.  The best win among any team in this group is South Carolina's win over Southern Mississippi.  I know that I'll look stupid if they knock off Alabama in Columbia this weekend, but the truth is that South Carolina has done precisely squat this season, except for curb-stomping the Golden Eagles and pissing away the game against Auburn.  It's tough to say they have a Top 25 resume.  That all in mind, here's my provisional ballot:

1.  Alabama

2.  Boise State

3.  Oregon

4.  TCU

5.  Ohio State

6.  Nebraska

7.  LSU

8.  Auburn

9.  Arizona

10.  Oklahoma

11.  Michigan State

12.  Florida

13.  Iowa

14.  Stanford

15.  Michigan

16.  Nevada

17.  Oklahoma State

18.  Kansas State

19.  Arkansas

20.  Utah

21.  Texas A & M

22.  Miami

23.  Florida State

24.  Air Force

25.  Baylor

Notable exceptions, obviously, include South Carolina and Wisconsin.  It feels funny ranking Texas A & M ahead of Miami and Florida State, but the Aggies were a lot closer to winning in the only game they've lost than the 'Cane or "Noles were.  And what the hell am I doing ranking Kansas State that high?!?!  But, believe it or not UCLA and Iowa State are both Sagarin Top 50 teams.  While teams like Arkansas and Miami came close to beating opponents with raging 'roid heartbeats, Kansas State has twice beaten opponents with, at least, a recognizable pulse.  This is meant to reflect that Nebraska may be your surprise loser in Manhattan this weekend.

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