The Sweep

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Alabama
Javier Arenas' Alabama team is ranked No. 2 in the AP poll, but three BCS computers put the Tide on top.
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By Hugh Falk, Pollspeak.com

The computers and humans clearly disagree about who is No. 1. The three human polls (including the AP) all have Oklahoma in the top spot.  Three of the four released BCS computers have Alabama No. 1 (LSU is first in the Billingsley Report).  It's this type of disagreement that's going to cause a Terminator-style takeover by the machines someday.

The biggest disparity among the computers this week involves Florida, which is ranked 11th by Harris Interactive but 67th by the Massey Ratings. So which teams do the computers like?

Northwestern is generally getting far more respect from computers: No. 2 in Massey, No. 4 in the Colley Matrix and No. 15 in Sagarin (ELO). Yet the Wildcats are unranked in every human poll.

Sagarin loves non-BCS teams, with Utah at No. 2, Boise State No. 4 and TCU No. 18. Colley thinks highly of Vanderbilt (No. 2), South Florida (No. 7) and Ball State (No. 12). The Billingsley Report treats two of last week's upset losers the best, ranking USC fourth and Georgia sixth. Massey likes the ACC and Big East; Duke is seventh, Virginia Tech eighth, and Connecticut 10th.  Massey also includes FCS schools and actually has Cornell No. 24.

Let's see what the voters think by looking at the AP poll (which is currently the only one with public ballots, so it gives us an idea how human voters think):

Looking at last week's top 10 upsets, Bret Bloomquist of the El Paso Times punished Georgia the hardest for the Alabama loss, slotting the Dawgs 18th. Barker Davis (Washington Times) penalized Florida the most, also to No. 18. Doug Segrest (Birmingham News) and Glenn Guilbeau (Gannett Louisiana) dropped Wisconsin all the way to No. 25, and Jon Wilner (San Jose Mercury News) dropped USC to 15th after the Oregon State loss. 

Excluding Georgia, those voters are much nicer than the toughest computers, which doled out these rankings:

Team         Lowest Rank
Florida       No. 67 (Massey)
Georgia     No. 17 (Colley)
USC           No. 42 (Colley)
Wisconsin  No. 32 (Massey)

The following AP voters ranked losers over winners in head-to-head matchups even though the winner has the same number (or fewer) losses:

Herb Gould (Chicago Sun-Times) ranks Ohio State (No. 8) over USC (No. 14).
Randy Rosetta (Baton Rouge Advocate) and Pete DiPrimio (Fort Wayne News-Sentinel) rank Oregon over Boise State.
Joe Rexrode (Lansing State Journal) has Kansas (No. 14) over South Florida (No. 15).
• Guilbeau, John Hunt (Oregonian) and Randy Harrison (Albuquerque Journal) have Florida State over Wake Forest.
• Six voters rank Fresno State over Wisconsin, but Scott Wolf (Los Angeles Daily News) has the largest margin (Bulldogs at No. 16 and Badgets at No. 24).

In the Coaches' Poll:

Coaches' Pets (ranked highest in the BCS):
• Missouri: No. 3
• BYU: No. 7
• Oregon: No. 20

Coaches' Goats (ranked lowest in the BCS):
• Alabama: No. 4
• Virginia Tech: No. 24

Finally, the biggest poll news this week is the release of another BCS component: the Harris Interactive College Football Poll (HICFP).  You can find the list of Harris voters on its site, but here is a quick breakdown of the changes from last year.

Harris voters gave the highest BCS rankings to Florida (No. 11), Wisconsin (No. 16) and Fresno State (No. 20). Amazingly, they didn't vote anybody lowest in the BCS top 25.  Harris Interactive does a good job of selecting voters based on conference affiliation.  It is by far the most comprehensive selection process, and aside from using secret ballots, the HICFP is a solid poll. I just hope it can hold its own against a T-1000 when the machines revolt.

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