Pre-Season CBS Sports Blogpoll

Welcome to the first edition of the 2009-2010 CBS Sports Blogpoll.  This is Tomahawk Nation's third year in the poll.  I happen to think pre-season polls are quite dumb, but I don't want to lose my vote, so I acquiesced.  

This is not a power poll.  I don't attempt to rank teams based on how good I think they are.  I only rank teams based on their resume.  What have they done?  Not how talented are their payers or how other polls project them to do, but what have they done?The poll is designed to be dynamic.  I try to start from scratch every week.  I do attempt to reward teams for "quality losses", while punishing them for bad performances.  I do not give excessive credit for stomping horrible teams.  I reward quality play, win or lose.  I am not bumping team A 10 spots and docking team B 10 spots when team A beats team B by a field goal in what was essentially an equally played game.  I like to reward playing well against good teams, win or lose, and punish losing to poor teams more harshly than I reward defeating poor teams.

Reward Grinders.  I reward those who play difficult schedules.  Teams that play a tough team every week don't get to spend extra time preparing for their tough games, and they also don't face the attrition other teams face because they are able to pull their starters in blowouts.  Fewer plays for important players reduces the chance those players will get injured.  

So, how did I manage to balance my resume ranking with the fact that no games have been played yet?  I'll show you.

Also, I want your input on this every week.  The debates this inspires can be quite fun.

Rank Team
1 Georgia
2 Mississippi State
3 Florida State
4 South Carolina
5 Arkansas
6 Vanderbilt
7 Kentucky
8 Tennessee
9 Miami (Florida)
10 Georgia Tech
11 LSU
12 Maryland
13 Virginia
14 Washington
15 North Carolina State
16 Auburn
17 North Carolina
18 Alabama
19 Oklahoma State
20 Boston College
21 Arizona State
22 Stanford
23 Florida
24 Wake Forest
25 Clemson

 

I elected to rank the teams based on their projected schedule strength.  Basically, how good were each team's opponents last year, who did those teams lose, and what is their schedule strength.  I elicited the help of FootballOutsiders.com, one of the most advanced football websites out there and winner of multiple awards.

You may notice some themes:

11 SEC teams.  Seems like a lot, but that's the best conference and most of the teams have scheduled at least one good non-conference team.  Alabama has Virginia Tech.  Auburn has West Virginia.  LSU doesn't have one, but they do draw Georgia and Florida from the east.  The only team that doesn't make the list is 'OIe Miss, which fortouitiously dodges Florida and Georgia from the East (each team must play three games against the other division).  

10 ACC teams.  The ACC gets rewarded for having a bunch of "very good" teams.  I'm not so sure any are top 5 good, but each ACC team will play a quality opponent most every week, and the ACC schedules very aggressively in the non-conference.  Clemson grabs TCU and South Carolina.  Wake Forest has Stanford and Baylor, which isn't amazing, but those are two projected bowl teams from BCS conferences.  Maryland travels west to face Cal, while North Carolina State faces South Carolina and Pittsburgh  

3 Pac-10 teams, but no USC.  What keeps out USC but lets in three other Pac-10 teams?  The other three teams get a bump from playing USC, but USC obviously cannot play themselves.

1 Big-12 team.  The problem with the Big12 is that there are just a lot of below average teams, and their non-conference schedules are pathetic.  Teams like Kansas would probably not be bowl eligible in the SEC or ACC.  Take a look at Texas' Non-conference schedule.  I have highlighted the for-sure bowl teams.  Probably one of the Missouri- Kansas- Baylor trio will make a bowl, but the rest of the schedule is pretty poor.  The non-conference is embarrassing.  la-Monroe, Wyoming, UTEP, and UCF?  Texas can't even be bothered to schedule a BCS conference team.  If they go undefeated, I'll have them close to the top, but Texas could be one of the undefeated teams to be passed by a one or two loss team.

Sep. 5 La.-Monroe 6:00pm
Sep. 12 at Wyoming 2:30pm
Sep. 19 Texas Tech 7:00pm
Sep. 26 Texas-El Paso 2:30pm
Oct. 10 Colorado TBA
Oct. 17 Oklahoma 11:00am
Oct. 24 at Missouri TBA
Oct. 31 at OK State TBA
Nov. 7 UCF TBA
Nov. 14 at Baylor TBA
Nov. 21 Kansas TBA
Nov. 26 at Texas A&M 7:00pm

The one Big-12 team that does make the list is Oklahoma State.  Oklahoma State couldn't play a lick of defense last year, but that's irrelevant here, because this poll is about schedules, and Oklahoma State's ability will show up in their resume.  They make the list because they play Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia.  

No  Big-10 or Big East teams.  I think this should be fairly obvious.  These two conferences aren't very strong and they don't make much of an effort to schedule out of conference.  If you think one should be eligible, let me know.

No Mid-Majors.  This should be fairly obvious.  There isn't a mid-major with a schedule difficulty in the top half of the country, much less the top 25.  

So, let's have your thoughts?  How would you have handled the requirement to submit a poll, keeping in mind I want to use a team's resume, knowing that no teams have played ganmes?

 

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