Sunday, November 28, 2010

Checking in on the week 13 polls; a few oddities in the AP poll

I analyzed last week polls looking for inconsistencies and any interesting observations and was able to go into more depth on the AP poll since they publish the pollsters votes, and it is time to do the same this week.

First, the Coaches Poll.  There were five first place votes up for grabs with Boise State losing, and they all went to Auburn and TCU, plus Oregon lost two going to those teams.  Auburn was the big winner picking up a total of six and narrowing the gap from Oregon from 61 to 40.  Interestingly, Oregon's total is exactly the same even with the loss of two first place votes so they still benefited by moving up on some ballots due to Boise's loss.  Was Auburn's one point win over a then 2-loss Alabama that impressive that they should gain first place votes?

With Boise losing 472 points and LSU 379, there were plenty of points available for others to move up and they did.  Wisconsin gained 71, Stanford 121, Ohio State 97, and Michigan State a whopping 156.  Arkansas' win gave them a big boost too, 228 points.  Nothing terribly odd here.

Like before, lets look at the total for the undefeateds though.  With 4,248 points available from the voters top-3 picks and the top-3 teams only totaling 4,221, there are some voters that have a one or two loss team in their top-3.  You can certainly make a case for doing that (my computer has Stanford #2), but I'm somewhat surprised there are that many.  It will be interesting to see if this changes at all next week when the votes will be public, and if not, what if any bias there is from the coaches.  With Wisconsin's 1,282 total pretty close to a perfect (for 4th place) 1,298, it is likely that they are the primary beneficiaries of probably TCU being 4th or lower on some ballots.  Fair, perhaps as TCU's schedule being #82 according to my computer, but Wisconsin's isn't much better at only #72.  Stay tuned next week for analysis once we know the votes.

The Harris Poll, Boise 14 first place votes had to go somewhere and Oregon picked up 2, Auburn 11, and TCU 1, all gaining a good number of points.  The top-3 here have 8,194 of a perfect 8,208 points, so a few voters have likely TCU 4th or lower, but a far smaller percentage than the coaches.  Similar changes to the coaches in the rest of the top-10.  It will be interesting to see specifics on the voting next week.

The AP is where we can get a lot more detailed though.  Here, there were 10 first place votes from Boise to dole out and like the coaches poll, Oregon actually got fewer dropping 1.  Auburn picked up 10 and TCU 1 but all gained points as you would expect.  What exactly happened here?

It wasn't just one voter that made a switch from voting Oregon #1.  Surprisingly, 7 voters actually made Oregon their #1 but 8 that had them #1 swapped them out for another team.  I'm not sure the logic here as Oregon beat a good Oregon team by 19 while Auburn had to eke out a 1 point win, albeit on the road.  Was Auburn's win really so impressive as to overshadow Oregon's 19 point win?

Now, there were 2 voters that had Auburn #1 last week and dropped them which, to me at least, is more understandable.  The voters really seem to give a lot of credit for a 1 point win at Alabama.  Strange.

Oregon and Auburn are voted 1, 2, or 3 on every ballot, but TCU is voted #4 on 4 ballots and #5 on 1.  The beneficiaries are Stanford 4 times and Wisconsin twice.

How about the Wisconsin vs Ohio State debate?  Wisconsin has a clear overall lead, and in fact every single ballot has them ahead of Ohio State.  The AP voters are either A) impressed by Wisconsin's late season push or B) abide by head to head.  But if they really did that then Michigan State should be closer shouldn't they?

How about the Wisconsin vs Stanford debate?  Wisconsin is ahead of Stanford 33 times and Stanford is voted higher 27 times.  When Wisconsin is ahead, the average gap is 1.21 spots and when Stanford is ahead the average gap is 1.26.  This has narrowed a bit as last week Wisky was ahead on 35 vs 25 for Stanford.

As I did last week, I've created a chart that shows the high and low vote for each team so you can see the range.

Things are pretty close at the top, but then there is some awfully big variance, especially for Boise State.  But the voters aren't on the same page with Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Missouri too.  And someone thinks awfully highly of 3-loss and #18 South Carolina voting them #8 ahead of 1-loss Boise State and Nevada and a host of 2-loss teams in Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Missouri, Utah, and Northern Illinois.  Ahead of a few of those, sure, but all of them?  Seems questionable, although they do have the 16th hardest schedule according to my computer.

If you have questions, leave a comment or send me a tweet @computerratings.