We're getting closer to deploying our computer number-cruncher to work out the ballot, but we're not there yet. Because the computer is truly non-Bayesian, it can't yet differentiate between a win over an obviously bad team vs. a win over an obviously good team. (For the non-stats crowd, 'Bayesian' would mean that the computer at least suspected that New Mexico was a horrendous team before the season started. Right now, it's just beginning to get a read on that.)
There's a part of me that would like to go ahead and run the results anyhow, just to give some discussion about early season results, but the truth is that there are a lot of teams that still haven't shown who they are yet. Florida is one; Tennessee is another (though to a lesser degree). I don't think we're at the point where even the unbiased approach of a computer would generate good thought exercises, so they'll be on the shelf for another week.
So once again, here's the draft. I'm wide open to help from the audience, as usual. By staying home this week, I was better able to watch more teams and have a better grasp on the big voting picture, but I'm still woefully lacking for a few teams.
Here are a few of my thoughts and pleas for help:
Like last week, I'm more interested in getting teams in the right general area of the ballot than I am in specifics. There are a few places that you can argue for a myriad of orders, but there are some definites out there (such as Alabama somewhere near the top). That said, I don't mind tweaking things around a bit. In general, I tend to prefer consistency over flash-and-crash, but sometimes an argument can be made either way.
The top of the ballot
This early in the season, the top 5ish or so could be placed in any order in my book. I just see them as the top grouping and move on from there. That said, Alabama appears to be the toughest team of the lot to beat, so they get the nod. Boise's the enigma because they've only played one game, but in two more weeks we'll have the Oregon State game to add to the pile. Patience for them. I also think Oregon is more deserving at this point than Ohio State, not because they beat Tennessee, but because they've come out of the gate a more polished team. Will they peak too early? Perhaps, but that's a question for later ballots.
Back in the draft, I felt that the NFL was overvaluing the OU players, and that Oklahoma wasn't losing as much as it appeared. In the early goings, they've had one game where they needed to shake things out and one where they just flatttened an otherwise respectable collection of talent. (Note to Vols fans: this was a worse beating than the one we saw in Neyland. Much worse.) Texas is a strong team too, but for now I like having OU ahead of them.
Spurrier with a strong running game? Garcia merely having to manage the offense to win? A solid defense? An extremely good receiving corps? They deserve the top 10 in my book.
Yes, those were two cupcakes, but they were duly massacred. At least give 'em credit until they prove otherwise, right?
All four show some weakness, but also some very good potential so they're in a holding pattern at the moment. Florida looked a lot better this week, so their talent should have them in the top 25 right now. They're still a bit shaky, so they're not top 10ish at the moment, but I'm again willing to move them in large chunks over the next few weeks if they so deserve. Houston is better on defense than before, but still needs some work. We'll also have to see how that Keenum concussion affects things, but that's for next week.
The bottom of the ballot
Um ... help? /whimper