By Hugh Falk, pollspeak.com
By Hugh Falk, pollspeak.com
PROBLEM OF THE WEEK: Pittsburgh, USF and Kansas
I knew this week would pose a serious problem for conscientious AP voters who adhere to the AP guidelines and "pay attention to head-to-head results." What should they do with Pittsburgh, USF and Kansas this week? Unranked Pittsburgh beat No. 10 USF, who beat No. 16 Kansas earlier. They all have the same number of losses (one). The ideal solution is to rank the winner of the head-to-head over the loser. So it should be:
However that was the exception more than the rule on this week's ballots. Kudos to Doug Lesmerises, Jon Wilner, Anthony Gimino, and Tom Keegan who were the only AP voters to rank them in that order, and an honorable mention to Stewart Mandel who provided the unique solution of not ranking any of them (which is a drastic but perfectly acceptable solution).
This was probably hard for many voters because it required drastic shifting of their ballots. It could even mean dropping Kansas after their win, which voters don't like doing. However, the AP Guidelines specifically say this is what voters are supposed to do. In summary, it says voters should pay attention to head-to-head results and make significant changes when necessary.
These three teams have the same record and have head-to-head match ups for reference. There is no reason to rank them out of order. If Pittsburgh isn't worth ranking yet ... then neither is Kansas. Many voters disagreed with Mandel about Kansas, but did they consider that the Jayhawks haven't beaten an FBS team with a winning record yet? The come-from-behind victory at Iowa State was not a signature win worth changing the status quo. Kansas may turn out to be the best of the three, but until they prove it on the field, only the voters above have it right (on this issue).
Tensions are growing worse between the humans and computers over who is No. 1. The human polls (Coaches, Harris Interactive and AP) still have Oklahoma No. 1. The computers still favor Alabama, and the Anderson & Hester Computer Rankings, which debuted this week, gives Oklahoma its lowest ranking at No. 7. Massey is the only computer to have Alabama at No. 2 (and Vanderbilt at No. 1).
WHO'S No. 2 AND No. 4?
With all the talk about who's No. 1, there's even more variety at the No. 2 and No. 4 spots.
Poll -- No. 2, No. 4
AP Poll -- Alabama, LSU
Harris Interactive -- LSU, Missouri
Coaches' Poll -- Missouri, Alabama
Colley Matrix -- Vanderbilt, Texas
Sagarin Ratings -- Northwestern, Vanderbilt
Massey Ratings -- Alabama, Utah
Anderson/Hester -- Missouri, Texas
Billingsley Report -- Oklahoma, USC
Why do some computers rank schools like Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Utah, Duke, USC and Texas higher? Common sense says it's a lack of bias. However, what if the computers actually have a bias for schools with strong computer departments? Pollspeak leaves no stone unturned. According to U.S. News and World Report, the computer science program at Texas ranks No. 9, Duke and USC are tied for No. 20, Northwestern and Utah are tied for No. 39 and Vanderbilt is No. 58. Impressive, but we can dismiss this theory since co-No. 1 Stanford would obviously be ranked higher by the BCS computers.