clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Unboxing the College Football Polls: Week Five

New, 5 comments

Jon embarks on our weekly analysis of both polls, smushed together.

Now, why do we have Georgia Tech here? Read on, find out.
Now, why do we have Georgia Tech here? Read on, find out.
Michael Shroyer

Welcome to the latest edition of our utterly pointless yet still mildly amusing look at what the poll voters are really telling us. By now you should be familiar with the methodology, but if not you can always go back to week one and bone up on it.

You may be asking, "Wait, what happened to week four?" That, dear reader, is the wrong question. Instead, you should ask why the first polls after the preseason polls are referred to as "Week Two." We've skipped "Week Four" to bring ourselves into line with the terminology used by the polls.

The missing vote from the coaches' poll has mysteriously reappeared, and after digging up the original list of voters, June Jones did not appear. So the missing vote last week wasn't a result of him resigning; it was just a missing ballot.

This means that the raw vote totals swing the other way this week; a small gain in raw points in the coaches' poll actually indicates a loss of support. This only applies, however, to Oregon, Auburn, and Ohio State, as well as possibly some teams that only got a literal handful of points. (Memphis went from 2 to 3 this week, but maybe that ballot had Memphis 23rd, see.) The Ducks were +4 but probably had an additional 22-25 points added due to the missing ballot; Auburn was +19 against a number that's probably pretty close to +19, and Ohio State was +5 while holding a position worth six points, so they probably dropped a point or two. I say probably in both cases because it is of course possible the ballot submitted by whoever failed to last week had Auburn lower than 7th and Ohio State lower than 21st. Clear as mud? Fantastic.

And now, the table:

TEAM AP COACHES RK 1st PPB LW +/- PPBLW +/-
Florida State 1 1 1 70 24.040 1 0 24.528 -0.488
Alabama 3 2 2 17 23.298 3 1 22.758 0.540
Oregon 2 4 3 15 22.981 2 -1 23.334 -0.353
Oklahoma 4 3 4 16 22.684 4 0 22.435 0.248
Auburn 5 5 5 21.180 5 0 21.064 0.115
Texas A&M 6 7 6 4 19.920 6 0 19.458 0.462
Baylor 7 6 7 19.307 7 0 19.114 0.193
Notre Dame 8 8 8 16.300 9 1 15.560 0.741
Michigan State 9 9 9 14.961 12 3 13.294 1.667
Mississippi 10 11 10 14.465 11 1 13.303 1.162
UCLA 11 10 11 13.967 10 -1 13.782 0.184
Georgia 12 13 12 12.769 13 1 11.755 1.013
Arizona State 15 12 13 12.237 14 1 11.667 0.570
South Carolina 13 15 14 11.447 15 1 10.319 1.128
Mississippi State 14 16 15 10.101 28 13 1.212 8.889
Stanford 16 14 16 9.998 16 0 9.265 0.733
Louisiana State 17 18 17 8.653 8 -9 18.357 -9.704
Wisconsin 19 17 18 7.936 17 -1 7.024 0.912
Southern California 18 22 19 6.317 19 0 6.595 -0.279
Brigham Young 20 21 20 6.206 23 3 3.870 2.336
Nebraska 21 19 21 5.959 22 1 4.097 1.861
Ohio State 22 20 22 4.916 21 -1 4.995 -0.079
East Carolina 23 24 23 2.734 32 9 0.654 2.080
Kansas State 25 25 24 2.124 20 -4 5.840 -3.716
Oklahoma State 24 26 25 1.987 26 1 1.730 0.257
Duke 26 23 26 1.967 27 1 1.278 0.689
Penn State 27 27 27 1.215 33 6 0.638 0.577
Clemson 28 28 28 0.908 24 -4 3.438 -2.530
Washington 32 29 29 0.750 34 5 0.477 0.273
Texas Christian 29 31 30 0.647 31 1 0.760 -0.113
Marshall 30 32 31 0.525 35 4 0.438 0.087
Arizona 37 30 32 0.438 40 8 0.173 0.265
Georgia Tech 33 33 33 0.401 50 17 0.000 0.401
Utah 31 37 34 0.323 50 16 0.000 0.323
Boston College 34 38 35 0.215 38 3 0.216 -0.001
Arkansas 37 35 36 0.212 41 5 0.082 0.130
Oregon State 39 34 37 0.203 44 7 0.066 0.137
Cincinnati 36 36 38 0.197 39 1 0.206 -0.010
West Virginia 35 43 39 0.149 37 -2 0.272 -0.123
Missouri 39 36 40 0.147 18 -22 6.848 -6.701
North Carolina State 45 38 41 0.056 46 5 0.033 0.024
Louisville 44 40 42 0.048 42 0 0.082 -0.034
Boise State 45 41 43 0.040 49 6 0.008 0.032
North Dakota State 41 45 44 0.025 47 3 0.025 0.000
Memphis 45 42 45 0.024 48 3 0.016 0.008
Pittsburgh 42 45 46 0.008 36 -10 0.374 -0.366
Indiana 42 45 46 0.008 50 4 0.000 0.008
Iowa 45 44 48 0.008 50 2 0.000 0.008
North Carolina 44 45 48 0.000 25 -23 1.733 -1.733
Florida 44 45 48 0.000 29 -19 0.848 -0.848
Virginia Tech 44 45 48 0.000 30 -18 0.835 -0.835
Northern Illinois 45 45 48 0.000 43 -5 0.082 -0.082
Virginia 44 45 48 0.000 45 -3 0.058 -0.058

Another reshuffle at the top

Florida State remains atop the mountain, but their support continues to erode. Last week, the Seminoles were about 1.2 PPB ahead of #2 Oregon; this week, they're barely .7 PPB ahead of #2 Alabama -- and only 1.3 PPB ahead of #4 Oklahoma. That means that the top four teams are all jammed into a space barely big enough for two teams. Further, it's a pretty stark indication that the folks who don't think Florida State is #1 don't necessarily think they're 2, 3, or 4 either. If the Seminoles suffer another shaky outing, they may find themselves sliding out of the top spot.

Meanwhile, Alabama as once again overtaken Oregon, on the strength of a dominating win over Florida combined with Oregon's relative struggles against Washington State. The Ducks remain pretty solidly ahead of Bama in the AP, but the coaches dumped Oregon all the way to fourth.

Behind the top four, Auburn, Texas A&M, and Baylor all held serve while picking up a few extra points. Some of those were at the expense of the teams ahead of them; most were handed over by LSU.

A drop and a jumble

Once again a team fell out of good graces (LSU), and once again the teams in their wake shuffled themselves around in the process of filling the vacuum. The big winner there was Michigan State, sliding up to 9th from 12th last week; UCLA was the loser, actually falling a spot. As a group, 9-15 simply moved up to 8-14.

Auburn sits a point and a half back of the leaders, with A&M trailing the Tigers by a little less than that. Baylor is hot on the Ag's heels. A massive drop then exists between Baylor and Notre Dame -- three points per ballot. The Irish have a pretty standard lead on Michigan State, and then things get messy. Sparty was right on Mississippi's tail last week, but now sit a half-point ahead per ballot. UCLA slid down to create a similar gap behind Ole Miss. Behind them, Georgia, Arizona State, and South Carolina each hold rational distances behind the teams in front of them.

Oh, hello there

And then, suddenly, it's Mississippi State. Checking in at 28 last week, the Bulldogs made the third largest jump in rank this time out (we'll get to that in a bit), and by far the largest by PPB. They're in close to a dead heat with Stanford. LSU also appears out of nowhere in this group, although they of course came from the other direction. They're more than a point back of the Cardinal, and are far enough ahead of Wisconsin to call it a reasonable spacing. The Badgers are the only team actually victimized by Mississippi State's rise; Missouri's tumble saved everyone beneath them.

The rest of the best

Big drop to USC here, over a point and a half. BYU is right on the Trojans' doorstep, and Nebraska's not far behind. These teams swept in to fill the vacuum created by Missouri and, to a lesser extent, Kansas State. One other team appears here before we get to the Wildcats: East Carolina, rightfully rewarded for winning the ACC Coastal Division. K-State checks in at #24 here, a result of the AP and coaches having somewhat differing views on Oklahoma State. The 'Cats fell five places in each poll, but lost less than four points per ballot. Oklahoma State is 25th here, but...

Fighting to get in the door

...they're just a sliver ahead of Duke, only 0.02 PPB separating them. Filling out the "got at least half a point per ballot" brigade are Penn State, Clemson, Washington, TCU, and Marshall. And then there's everyone else who got votes, flumphing around like driftwood. I say that because some of these teams made pretty big gains as far as rankings go. Oregon State gained seven spots, Arizona gained eight, and our two largest gainers for the week were Utah (up 16) and Georgia Tech (up 17). Of course, that's because neither team had a single vote last week and suddenly leaped into the top 35.

Finally, there are our sad stories for the week. LSU suffered the greatest indignity in terms of volume, shedding just shy of 10 points per ballot. As far as ordinal rankings go, however, it was a quartet of teams taking it on the chin: Missouri, sliding from 18th all the way to 40th, was the only one of these four who still have votes to count. The other three all fell completely off every ballot: Virginia Tech (-18), Florida (-19), and the winner of this week's ignominious collapse award, the North Carolina Tar Heels, who tumbled 23 spots from the top 25 to complete irrelevance. Also disappearing, but hardly missed: Virginia and Northern Illinois.