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BlogPoller Disorder: Ballot Prewriting

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Brian has put out the all-call for BlogPoll ballots and even released his first attempt... now Tennessee free! He managed to fit in Georgia Tech, Iowa, Rutgers, and Hawaii, but not the Vols. It'd be A-OK with me, high emotion and low expectation are a fine way to start a season. But it turns out overlooking UT was not a slight but an oversight on the part of Cook, one he calls himself out for:

Unranked Tennessee. Um... I do not endorse this ranking. An oversight. Where should they go?
In coming to my answer to that question, I dusted off the ranking method I used the most last year (and not that crappy victory chain mess), which is to group the teams by what I think is their relative strength, then rank the groups, then mesh the groups into one ranking. In chart form, for visual learners:
A+ A B C D
USC
Michigan
LSU
Texas
Oklahoma
West Virginia
Penn State
Louisville
Wisconsin
Ohio State
Virginia Tech
Florida
Cal
Tennessee
Arkansas
UCLA
Oregon
Georgia
Missouri
Nebraska
South Florida
South Carolina
Auburn
Texas A&M
Hawaii

Where A+ teams are basically a toss up against each other, but could beat everybody else 90% of the time, A teams could beat everybody but A+ teams 90% of the time, etc. Using that method and what I came up with in the table, I get a top 25 that looks like:

Rank Team
1 USC
2 Michigan
3 LSU
4 Texas
5 Oklahoma
6 West Virginia
7 Penn St
8 Louisville
9 Wisconsin
10 Ohio State
11 Virginia Tech
12 Florida
13 Cal
14 Tennessee
15 Arkansas
16 UCLA
17 Oregon
18 Georgia
19 Missouri
20 Nebraska
21 South Florida
22 South Carolina
23 Auburn
24 Texas A&M
25 Hawaii

Now, I've got a lot of problems with this ballot, namely, that I hate it. Well, not all of it, mostly the top four I'm pretty happy with. The next six. my "A" teams, make me way uncomfortable. In fact, other than Oklahoma (who should probably be on the A+ list) I don't think any of them are worthy of a top-10 ranking, but neither are the teams below them. Specifically:
  • I'm harboring some unreasonable grudge against WVU, the origin of which I don't even remember. In general, I know they're fast, but I'm still not a believer.
  • Ditto Louisville, a team I closely associate with WVU even though they run vastly different schemes on offense and aren't really the same team at all. Still, would anybody be surprised if Louisville has the year that WVU is supposed to have?
  • And Wisky/Tosu: toss up. They're good because of who they are. Are they this good? Probably not. Help me.
  • And that leaves PSU ranked what may be unreasonably high. They told me Morelli was a dishrag-armed nimrod. They were wrong. I'm still impressed.

The B teams don't make me real happy, either.

  • Virginia Tech should probably be in the top 10 on talent, but I've got a feeling that the emotional burden of what their season will be made to represent will take a toll on them. Maybe I shouldn't factor that in.
  • Cal and Florida are, because of some sort of bizzare reverse-homerism, in front of the Vols until UT proves they can beat them [An aside: when ranking the teams in the ABC groups, I don't count how many teams are in each column, I just go by feel. When I started this I thought Tennessee should be about 15, the method spit them out at 14. Fair enough, I think, I sure wouldn't put them any higher.]
  • Brian makes a good argument for Arkansas in the top 10, but with Marcus Monk hurt, they're too one-dimensional.
From there it's pretty much blindfolded darts. I don't mean I didn't think about it, but Phil Steele can only take you so far. Appropriately, Missouri is in this range, because there's a lot of "show me" in these teams. TCU should be here, too, at least in place of Hawaii if not higher. And I've bought into the "South Florida could be this year's Rutgers" thing. I hate the phrase "drink the kool-aid," but --

So, this ballot's a disaster. Help me fix it.