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Friday, September 30

 

The Sky Is NOT Falling...

What do Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Jim Rome, and Bill O’Reilly have in common? Yes, they’re all pretty creepy, but that’s not what we’re looking for here. All four of those goons make a living on the engine of contemporary American civil society: controversy. And to think, some people want to do away with college football polls!

Hey, look, we’ll be the first to admit that the polls are hardly scientific. Just like most everyone these days, we advocate a change to a playoff system to crown the national champion. But all the moaning and groaning about these polls is excessive.

There’s one—and only one—issue that counts, and that’s whether the best team wins the national championship. For all of these polls’ flaws, the system works pretty damn well. Some people crowed that Auburn got screwed last year. We say: combine the best players from Oklahoma and Auburn on an All-Star team last year and we’ll still take USC by 21. The best team won. The rest is details.

And that’s usually how it goes. Furthermore, the controversy wouldn’t subside if we switched to a playoff system. If it were an eight team format, we’d still be forced to listen to Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon blow a gasket about whether Notre Dame or Miami deserved that eighth and final playoff slot.

There’s no such thing as a perfect system, but even if there were, make no mistake about it—the controversies would continue. This is America, baby! The land of the free and the home of the shouting match. We love to argue, and there’s no easy fix that would magically silence the debates. They’ll continue to rage on, in one form or another, as they should. It’s part of what makes sports—and college football—so great.

SI.com asked us to offer our thoughts on a few poll-related questions.

What poll do you rely on most?
The AP Poll, because the coaches’ poll is ridiculous. Coaches have motivations to vote for teams that will make their own team look better, and they hardly have enough time to keep tabs on the whole nation. But even last year’s AP writers were silly, too. As controversies between Oklahoma-Auburn and Texas-Cal raged, it became increasingly clear that even many football writers were barely paying attention. Nowadays, we rely most heavily on our own ballot. We know what we like. Now if the BCS would just let us vote…

What exactly is the Blog Poll and how does it work?
The Blog Poll is a collection of ballots from roughly fifty regular college football blog writers. Somewhat to my surprise, it mirrors the AP poll very closely. Which just goes to show you: for all the huffing and puffing from the blogosphere, the sky is not actually falling. Still, it’s creative and fun. And worth checking out. At least voters are asked to explain their votes.

Is the Harris Poll just the BCS poll in sheep’s clothing?
We still can’t figure out what the Harris Poll is. Scanning the list of voters doesn’t help—they’re largely unknowns. We don’t know that there’s an easy solution out there, but the best idea we’ve heard comes from what we’ve seen at the Blog Poll. Make the voters explain themselves. Narrow down the field of voters (do we need 114 people?!?) to about 25, and make them explain their votes. Accountability might force them to think about, you know, which teams are the best.

Should polls be released in the preseason, or before October at all? (Michigan and Oklahoma started in the top 5)
Sure, why not? Does it really matter if it takes six weeks for it to get sorted out? Not really. Hey, even if the first poll of the year were released next week, how much different would it look than what we’ve got today? We can guarantee you it wouldn’t change a lick. Furthermore, if you extend this argument to its logical conclusion, we shouldn’t release any polls until December, when we really know just how good teams are.

Do people freak out too much about polls?
Absolutely! Hey, Sammy Spartan! It don’t matter if you’re #10 or #12! Relax! Keep winning games and you’ll be fine. We love the polls, love the hype, and love the debates. It’s part of what makes college football so great. And hey, don’t kid yourself, there are downsides to a playoff system. The NBA regular season, for example, is nearly insufferable. How much does it really matter when sixteen teams make the postseason! Be careful what you wish for, kids. The controversies in college football are part of what make it so alluring.

What are some flaws in the current polls?
The worst part about the polls is the lack of accountability from the voters. We want to see the number of voters shrunk and the accountability of the voters magnified. Stick ‘em on television and make them explain their votes. Make them submit their ballots online, for public viewing, complete with commentary and justification—with message boards for viewers to sound off on the ballots and make cases for different teams.

Will there ever be a perfect system?
Never, thank goodness. Chaos is bliss. Just win baby, and things take care of themselves.


You can read the answers from other bloggers on the SI.com 'A List' web page here.
--PB--

Comments:
Rush Limbaugh is CREEPY!!?

WHAT!!??
 
Comments: Texas Tech is underrated. Everyone remembers USC OK (literally that is all some people can remember about the 2004 season), but how about TT v Cal?

Where the hell is any Missouri pre-game analysis? Does anyone know shit about them? I mean come on! Well all know Brad Smith, but who is their RB? He any good? What about their D? Any all big 12 tigers out there?

I love this blog and will continue to be active with it, but I would appreciate more concrete talk. I admittatedly don't know shit about Mizzu but... come on! Clearly drunk and refuse to log in as normal.
-Holt
Love it
 
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