Monday, August 21, 2006

BlogPoll Roundtable #1

It's time for the first official BlogPoll Roundtable of the season.

1. What's the biggest ripoff in this preseason poll? Either pick a team that's offensively over or underrated, or you can rag on a particular voter's bad pick (hey, we're all adults here, we can handle it).

West Virginia is not a top five team, and I'm not sure it is a top ten team either. Fifty-one of 59 voters ranked the Mountaineers in the top fifteen; I was one of the eight who didn't.

2. What shold a preseason poll measure? Specifically, should it be a predictor of end-of-season standing (meaning that a team's schedule should be taken into account when determining a ranking), or should it merely be a barometer of talent/hype/expectations?

The philosophy of the BlogPoll is...

At all times it should be an approximate ranking who would beat who on a neutral field this year.

...and I agree with that completely. I try to stick to that reasoning throughout the season. And I think when you rank teams based on who-beats-who, you at least indirectly consider all of those other factors (schedule and what have you), anyway.

3. What is your biggest stretch in your preseason ballot? That is to say, which team has the best chance of making you look like an idiot for overrating them?

I've got Southern Cal at #1, and I'm definitely taking a leap of faith there. The Trojans could end up right back in the national title hunt, or buried somewhere in the tier of teams with a few losses.

4. What do you see as the biggest flaw in the polling system (both wire service and blogpolling)? Is polling an integral part of the great game of college football, or is it an outdated system that needs to be replaced? If you say the latter, enlighten us with your new plan.

A lot of pollsters don't vote using the "barometer of talent" line of thinking, or don't take the rankings seriously enough, or haven't seen enough teams to make reasonable evaluations, or are biased towards schools in their region, and on, and on. But I don't have a serious problem with the current system, despite all that.

5. You're Scott Bakula, and you have the opportunity to "Quantum Leap" back in time and change any single moment in your team's history. It can be a play on the field, a hiring decision, or your school's founders deciding to build the campus in Northern Indiana, of all godforsaken places. What do you do?

So many choices here. I could go back and convince Dick Sheridan not to leave. After I showed him what our record against UNC would be over the next seven years, he'd have no choice but to stick around.

I could go back to 1998 and have Oscar Davenport (I'm pretty sure it was Davenport) throw an INT in overtime instead of the game-winning touchdown.

Or as TA McLendon in 2004, I could plow five yards into the endzone on the final play of the game. Reverse that touchdown, jerks. [mutters, kicks rock]

In the end, though, I think I'd have to go back to the Florida State game in 2003. Playing as Brian Clark, I wouldn't fumble the ball near midfield on NC State's last drive of regulation. Without the turnover, NC State marches down the field and kicks the game-winning field goal. With that win in hand, maybe NC State goes on to win the ACC title...