Sunday, November 6, 2011

Analyzing the 11/06/2011 AP Poll

The Associated Press college football poll is no longer used as part of the BCS rankings, but since the votes are public it (thank you AP!), analyzing the poll can help us understand what the voters are thinking and the range each team is voted at.

The summary view is in this chart.  The top-25 teams are listed across the X axis and the top and bottom of the vertical lines for each team indicates the high and low ranking the team has received.

This nicely shows that LSU and Boise are getting all the 1st place votes, but we knew that as those votes are always listed with the poll.  What we can see here is that all of Oklahoma State, Stanford, and Alabama are getting 2nd place votes.  The Cowboys and Cardinal are not a surprise but Alabama might be as they just lost.  However, as I suggested yesterday, an argument can be made that Alabama should be #2 and 12 voters hold that argument.  This compares to 31 for Oklahoma State, just 10 for Stanford, and only 6 for Boise State.

It is interesting to see the confusion of how to rank Boise State.  Everything from a 1st to an 8th, but oddly no 7th.

For the 3 teams right behind the top-5, it is clearer with none being higher than 5th or lower than 9th.  Behind that group it gets a little wild.

Here are how the top-8 break down.

Oklahoma State1,398311892
Boise State1,2881621233402

Clemson is anywhere from 8th to 17th, Virginia Tech 8th to 21st, Houston 9th to 22nd, Penn State 9th to 25th, Michigan State 10th to 21st, and Georgia 9th to 25th!  I don't know that I've seen this many teams with such a large range of ratings.

Even at the tail end of the top-25, several teams are rated surprisingly high.  #23 Cincinnati is 7-1 but has one of the weakest schedules in the country, #101 by my ratings, and is rated as high as 13th.  And #24 Auburn is 6-3, albeit against a tougher schedule than many (#7), and is also rated as high as #13.

I'm also able to get summary info comparing two specific teams.  For example, Oklahoma State is ahead of Stanford 42 times with an average gap of 1.23 and the reverse 18 times with a gap of 1.28.  Then Stanford is ahead of Boise State 50 times with a gap of 1.9 and the reverse 10 times with a gap of 1.9.

I have all the data, let me know if you have any questions.