In putting together this week's Top 25 Draft Ballot for the BlogPoll, I concluded that Texas' and Michigan's resumes had finally inched their way to being among the Top 25 in the country. Now, I suppose I could see a voter making the case that neither resume is strong enough to merit inclusion among the Top 25, but it's very difficult for me to look at the two resumes side by side and conclude anything other than that the two ought to be ranked very near one another. Michigan has a solid edge in quality wins, but a distinct disadvantage in the bad loss category.
Take a look at the two resumes, grouped loosely by tiers of wins and losses. You can quibble with how the tiering should work, but I think it's a reasonably fair comparison model. Texas gets solid win points for beating a decent TCU team by three touchdowns in Austin. Michigan gets solid win points for beating Penn State in Ann Arbor, winning at Champaign, and easily handling Purdue. The filler category is intended to indicate wins which neither help nor hurt the resume. Just wins. And of course there is a loss component. Texas is dinged for a bad loss to Kansas State in Austin and penalized less harshly for a close loss to Oklahoma in Dallas. Michigan is dinged twice for bad losses to Appy State and Oregon in Ann Arbor.
Add it all up, and it's difficult to say that one resume is distinctly better than the other. Right?
Apparently not. Among the Week 10 submitted BlogPoll ballots as of Tuesday at 5:45, there are 10 voters who see a significant difference between the two teams. Though the majority of voters have Texas and Michigan ranked within five or six spots of one another (fair enough), a handful of voters see something that I'm having trouble comprehending.
Brian does a little bit of this when he announces the BlogPoll tabulations each week - ballots which deviate grossly from the poll at large are pointed out, with questions asked. One of the distinguishing features of the BlogPoll which gives it the potential to be something special is that dialogue among voters is encouraged. There's nothing inherently wrong with having an opinion which diverges from the opinion of the majority, but voters are encouraged to explain themselves in such cases.
With that in mind - where a voter ranks Texas (or Michigan) this season isn't particularly important to me, but understanding the rationale behind voting patterns always is. So, to the following bloggers, I ask you:
- Why the separation between Texas and Michigan?
- How does the separation fit with your broader theory of ranking teams?
Reasonable minds can disagree on this stuff, so I don't consider this a call to arms or anything. But a justification may be in order. I'll welcome any responses - from commenters and bloggers alike.