My College Football Polling Philosophy

Monday, September 07, 2009

Before we get started and I get yelled at for not having Florida or Texas at #1 I shall explain my polling philosophy. My philosophy is this, the poll should be entirely resume based and should act as such: if today was the last day before the BCS bowl was announced who has done the most to qualify for that spot. I do this by using just two simple ranking criteria, Quality Wins and Bad Losses.

The Point of the Poll

I want do away with Preseason Biases that hinder so many polls around the country. If Vanderbilt goes out wins their first ten games and in the process beats Ole Miss, LSU, Florida and Georgia Tech, there should be no reason I should feel guilty jumping them over a Texas team that I had ranked third to start the season.

So instead of anchoring teams at the start of the year at where I think there talent levels are on a week to week basis, I simply judge them on what has happenned. What good teams they've beaten and what their bad losses are.

Quality Wins

I want to know what good teams you beat not just your generic win total. So essentially when Florida beats Charleston Southern, I don't care if it's by 3 or by 103. Playing Charleston Southern is a waste of time and really shows nothing important about Florida's chances to win the title. But when they beat Georgia in the cocktail party, that has significant meaning.

Bad Losses

I define a Bad Loss as one of two things. A) A Loss to a team you clearly should have beaten or B) Getting Blown Out by a Team you should have been competetive with.

So what does this do? I try to use it as a barometer to not severely punish those teams that pick up competetive losses. The reason being if Texas and Oklahoma play each other, than someone has to lose. The team that wins should be rewarded heavily, but should the team that loses be punished? Not severely in my opinion.

In general my poll is very fluid especially at the start of the season. The reason being, if you haven't beaten a good team yet, than I know nothing about you. I believe this is the best way to create a poll as it tries to pull you away from the bias of preseason rankings and focus on simple facts. I believe that by focusing solely on Quality Wins and Bad Losses that in the end you reward those teams that go out of their way to play competetive football games against good teams.

Is a Quality Win always Quality or a Bad Loss Always Bad?

No. Say I think beating Virginia Tech is a quality win in the opening week but then they go on and lose their next 5 games. Obviously its meaning isn't what I thought, and so the Quality Win would be removed.

So How Does the Poll Usually Play Out

The poll is incredibly fluid in the opening weeks. Teams will bounce around heavily as the schedules and quality wins build up and will begin to stabilize towards the end of the season and act more like a traditional poll.

Any Other Questions, Feel Free to Yell at Me in the Comments.

Posted by Simon at 11:01 AM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!


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