By Hugh Falk, Pollspeak.com
Last week I talked about the intriguing USC-Oregon matchup because it was not only a clash of highly ranked teams, but it was also a clash of human voters versus computer rankings. Well, the computers won that round. Don't read too much into it though, computers make errors all the time.
There isn't a dramatic human vs. computer matchup this week, but Oklahoma is the most drastic example where the two sides disagree. The coaches and AP voters rank the Sooners No. 20, and Harris voters rank them No. 19. Meanwhile, five of the six computers rank the Sooners from 34 to 44. The lone exception is (you guessed it) Billingsley who ranks them No. 17. Once again, we explained last week why Billingsley often won't agree with the other computers. With the computers' low perception of Oklahoma, they slip down to No. 24 in the BCS.
At the top of the BCS Standings, the biggest move was Texas taking over the No. 2 spot. While this might dismay some Alabama fans, it really doesn't matter. If Alabama continues to win, they'll meet Florida in the SEC Championship and get their shot to be either No.1 or No. 2 in the BCS Standings with a win over the Gators. Either way, if they win out, the Tide will be in the BCS Championship.
Meanwhile, the bottom of the BCS holds more drama. The Coaches' and Harris voters' No. 25 team, BYU, didn't crack the BCS top 25. That's a bit surprising considering the weight given to human votes. Instead South Florida snuck in with a No. 26 ranking from the humans and a better poll average than BYU. This is another example where the BCS gives humans a voting advantage. Yes, USF has a better computer poll average, but the Bulls really benefited because they still scored points while being ranked outside the top 25 in the human polls. However teams get no benefit from computer scores outside the top 25. If human votes outside the top 25 didn't count, BYU would be No. 25 in the BCS this week. For those curious, BYU's BCS average is approximately: 0.07013, which puts it right behind USF's: .0786.
In the AP, there are only 59 voters this week since Kirk Herbstreit did not turn in a ballot. He will be back in the ballot box next week, though. In the meantime, one of his co-workers, Craig James led the charge of eight voters who ranked Oregon over Boise State. 51 other voters made the right call, but James has Oregon at No. 4 and the undefeated Broncos team that beat them at No. 11.
The most polarizing team in the AP this week is Miami – ranked everywhere from 10 to unranked. The No. 10 comes from Kirk Bohls, while Craig James and Bob Asmussen are the only two to leave the Hurricanes unranked.
Central Michigan's hopes of a first top-25 ranking were dashed by the loss last weekend to Boston College. However, a moral victory goes to Temple, which received a rare vote from Mike Hlas after the Owls run of six wins in a row. Even rarer, Richmond, an FCS (I-AA) team, got a vote from the San Francisco Chronicle's Ray Ratto. Richmond is undefeated and beat a much-improved Duke team to start their season.
Duke didn't receive any votes in the AP, but they did get one in Harris Interactive and three points from the coaches after three straight ACC wins. Without public ballots, we won't know where the votes came from, but in the Coaches' Poll, I can take a guess. One point probably came from David Cutcliffe himself. With the job he's done at Duke, he deserves to pat himself on the back. The other two points could have come from Steve Spurrier, who had been giving his old team a pity vote for years in the pre-season polls. Now that there is a slim opportunity to actually vote for them, he's giving the Blue Devils their due.