In a short (but not short enough) while, we'll be back in the full swing of football season. With football returns the BlogPoll which, to my understanding, will remain at its home on CBS for another year.
I had hoped to spend the summer working on some new algorithms for ranking teams, but have been far too busy to even think about it. So we'll continue with the guidance from our tried-and-semitrue computer ranking system from previous years. It's transparent, easy to decipher, and I can always hand over the spreadsheet to anybody who wants to mess around with the number. Best of all, I can easily see why it ranks the teams the way it does, which makes it easier to override the rankings when necessary.
My biggest difficulties with the poll, however, always come early in the season. For one, the data is too sparse for reliable ranking (hello, Arizona State of last year). For two, I give preseason polls almost zero credence. (WARNING!! TANGENT AHEAD!) I don't like the idea of preseason rankings and, to be honest, I wouldn't even have any rankings prior to about week 6 if I had my way. People get far too caught up in defending prior rankings rather than letting bodies of work speak for themselves. (My favorite idea is to not allow a team to be ranked until it is bowl-eligible with 6 wins. That idea has its own issues, but now I'm on a tangent within a tangent.)
Anyhow, the point is this: I don't agree with the idea of preseason rankings, but that's a dissension of opinion, certainly not of any moral or ethical stance. So I have no problem contributing to a preseason ranking*, and I always hope to do my best with it.
That's where I need help:
For the preseason and first week, I'll need significant feedback for Rocky Top Talk's ballot. I'm looking for reasonable and I'm not worried about accurate. So to simplify the problem, let's attack the rankings this way:
Which teams would you expect to beat most/all of any of the other teams on opening day?
Let's say that you think that San Jose State would beat every other team on opening weekend. That'd be your number one team. Then if you think that Hawaii would beat everybody except SJSU, they'd be #2. Etc. (I use the absurd to avoid making suggestions.) So here's how the preseason ballot will go.
Discussion In this thread, give me some input as to which teams should be considered for the top 25. I'm not worried about getting it figured out quite yet - just a start.
Slots 1 through 10 After a bit, we'll have a discussion thread to hammer down the top 10. If that's too many, we'll start with a top 5. Either way, we'll break down the poll a bit. This will also give us a chance to talk about the upcoming season some more.
Slots 11 through you get the idea Lather, rinse, repeat.
Let's face it; preseason polls are a deficiency of mine. That's why I need some learnin' here. This should also help speed the time until we're talking about actual football rather than right-brained fantasy land football.
* For the record, the BlogPoll doesn't require any contributions prior to week 3. This satisfies those who insist on resume ranking (like me) to the point that they can't relax and move away from the resumes (not like me). And since I consider RTT's ballot to be inclusive of the opinions of our clan, I feel we ought to participate in the early ballots despite me.