The week’s Mumme Poll thoughts

Tony Barnhart has a post up today entitled “Why the voters dropped Georgia to No. 2″.  Skipping past his angst-inducing purpose (it’s in the AJ-C, after all), Barnhart’s points in the end reinforce my belief that there’s got to be a better way to skin this particular cat.

Here’s his list of reasons, which come off as a pastiche of lazy thinking and bias:

**—Performance on the road counts big. Southern Cal was scary good in winning 52-7 on the road against Virginia, which won nine games a year ago…

That clearly ain’t the Virginia team of last year’s nine wins, and anyone who claims to follow college football carefully enough to justify casting a vote in a national poll should know that.

**—It is a weekly poll. Some voters believe that every Sunday, particularly early in the season, you should sit down with the results from the day before in front of a blank sheet of paper and rank the teams based on their performance to date. They believe the previous week’s rankings should not be a major factor. That’s what happened here…

Then why even have a preseason poll in the first place?

**—Georgia’s injuries: Voters watch injuries. They know that LT Trinton Sturdivant) was lost in preseason. They know what DT Jeff Owens was a big-time leader on that Georgia defense. Some teams start to unravel when big injuries start to hit. Some voters will drop teams a notch because of injuries.

This reasoning brings to mind Jody’s point about begging the question when it comes to factoring scheduling into team rankings:  are you going to punish the school again when it loses a game because of injuries?

**—Next week’s game: With No. 3 Ohio State coming to Southern Cal next week, some voters no doubt feel like the winner of that early mega-game deserves to be No. 1. So they were simply positioning Southern Cal for that game. If Ohio State beats Southern Cal, you can expect the Buckeyes to jump over Georgia into the top spot.

While this point offends me the most, it surprises me the least.  Voters are result oriented?  I’m shocked.  Shocked, I tell you.  ESPN doesn’t need to push these folks nearly as much as we’d like to blame it.

Barnhart has some final words of consulation excuses for us:

… The bottom line is that the human polls are like a beauty contest. It’s in the eye of the beholder and each voter sets his or her standards. Is that fair? Probably not but it’s the system we have, at least for the next six years.

I don’t know about you, but I feel better.  And I don’t understand why we have to wait six years to fix the poll mess.  Or that a playoff (which I presume is what he’s hinting at in that quote) is going to cure the problem by itself.  It won’t; in fact, it’s easy to see how it could make matters worse.

Now, again, before I get the inevitable pushback, I’m not arguing that a poll fix is a substitute for a change in the postseason.  Quite the contrary, one has nothing to do with the other in my mind.  But I do believe that the people running the show owe us their best efforts to make the process as fair as possible, if for no other reason than to avoid muddying the waters of the playoff/BCS debate.  Or, even worse, enabling those with an extended playoff agenda with an excuse.

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10 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Mumme Poll

10 responses to “The week’s Mumme Poll thoughts

  1. Tony Barnhart

    Plus, it’s worth noting that Troy rolled up almost 500 yards of offense against Georgia. Troy went into Athens and rolled up almost 500 yards of offense. Troy is good because they rolled up almost 500 yards of offense against Georgia. Auburn should beat Georgia because Troy rolled up almost 500 yards of offense against Georgia. Rolled up almost 500 yards of offense. Rolled up almost 500 yards of offense. Rolled up almost 500 yards of offense. Rolled. Rolled. Rolled. Rolllllllllleeeeeeedddddddddddd

  2. Tony Barnhart

    Also, when Georgia beats Florida, they won’t jump over anyone because Troy rolled up almost 500 yards…

  3. Did I read this week’s poll wrong or did TN drop completely out of the top 25 for losing a squeaker to UCLA? At this point I’m always interested in seeing the SEC as a conference do well because it proves strength of schedule down the road.

    It seems to me (and perhaps it’s because I’m living in Michigan now) that there is a huge bias in the media towards the Big 10. I don’t know why. Having experienced both football cultures, it doesn’t even compare to the ardent love of football in the SEC.

    Georgia’s linebacker coach, John Jancek moved to Athens from here. His wife, taught both of my children in middle school and when John got the call to Athens, she got in touch with me because she remembered that I was a Bulldog. They had already attended several coach soirées and she was completely blown away by the difference in intensity from up here to down there. I took her to lunch and gave her a goodie bag of essentials to get along in Athens including a copy of a Lewis Grizzard book, a book on the history of Georgia football and a copy of Gone With the Wind. Yeah, I know that doesn’t have anything to do with football, but if you’re going to live in Georgia it is a law that you read that book.

    What I’m trying to say, is I don’t understand why the rest of the nation doesn’t pick up on what we KNOW. That the SEC is much tougher than the Big 10, the PAC 10 etc…etc. and vote accordingly. From what I understand from all the written reports (since I didn’t see or hear the game) Mark Richt had the cheerleading squad in running plays by the 4th quarter. Of course, Georgia Southern was going to score. And good for Richt. Only some A-hole like Spurrier would keep in his first string just to run the score up when it wasn’t necessary to win the game.

    Thus endeth the rant.

  4. Did I read this week’s poll wrong or did TN drop completely out of the top 25 for losing a squeaker to UCLA?

    There wasn’t much redeemable about UT’s performance. They looked a whole lot like 2006 midseason Georgia- lousy OL play, loads of missed opportunities, bad FG kicking, a baffling rejection of the ground game, and a defense that gave up just enough at the worst possible time.

  5. hoodawg

    Another reason for the pollsters knocking us down — we’re not an “establishment” program right now. As much as Dawg fans like to think that we’re among college football’s anointed elite (and, if we’re looking at facts rather than national opinion, we are), until we at least place in a MNC game, we’re still upstarts.

    Sure, we keep playing in BCS games, but so does West Virginia. Yeah, we won that national championship once, but that was in 1980, when most of these reporters weren’t even out of elementary school. In the national media mindset, Georgia is a very solid program with a very solid coach that hasn’t yet put it all together. When they see USC do what USC does — destroy mediocre teams when they get up for them — they forget why they didn’t put them #1 in the first place. When they see tOSU do what tOSU does — beat inferior schools in a methodical, overwhelming, almost boring display of consistency — they recall all those prior polls when that performance earned them #1.

    Until these teams start playing games that allow Georgia to prove it’s something special, and other teams to show that they aren’t tOSU 2003, or USC 2005, we can’t expect the media to be anything but what they are — reporters with selective memories.

  6. Ally

    This pisses me off to no end. Its bad enough that there is no parity among conferences. Now, we get punished not only because pundits “think” we might lose a couple of games, but because you see a player go down to injury as well??? Forget the fact that Corey Irvin (3rd behind Owens & Weston) won the defensive player of the game & played like a monster, right?

    Honestly, with every day I hear another MANUFACTURED reason why UGA shouldn’t be number one. It won’t surprise me to see us bounced from the top 5 if we don’t beat central michigan & scum like rented mules.

  7. Ally

    And hoodawg, we’ve won TWO National Championships, btw.

  8. Barnhart, you keed, you keed – but you probably shouldn’t.

    Looking forward, Georgia better focus on the game at hand and not take take Central Michigan and quarterback Dan LeFevour lightly. Just remember last year’s game against Troy.

  9. BCDawg97

    Playing a bit of devil’s advocate because at this point it is obvious that the polls are beauty contests. I acknowledge that if we take care of business with the schedule we have that we *should* be playing for the MNC. But at what point does Richt’s not running up the score, I mean not playing for style points, hurt us? Let’s say we squeak out a few of our bigger games like LSU or UF and Oklahoma or USC continue to crush their big games like Texas or OSU. Say USC crushes ASU and we win with a last second field goal. We *could* be looking at a situation where the other undefeateds jump us based on style points. Or if it is the situation with a logjam of one loss teams that have to be separated somehow.

    I am aware that Richt’s thought is to protect the 1st teamers and more importantly play the 2nd and 3rd teamers to know what they can do and for the experience that hopefully helps us win a game later in the season. But I think it is fairly obvious that the old rules of “win and stay in place” are over. I think you are going to see rearrangement in the polls all season, not just the conventional wisdom of slotting people up or down based on the results of teams around them.

    I know it would take a lot of various elements to come together and make that perfect storm of us being an undefeated or 1 loss team on the outside looking in. At this point though, we are counting on the same pollsters that we complain about now, at the end of the season, to give us credit for the schedule that they are holding against us. Can Richt afford to take that chance?

  10. Looking forward, Georgia better focus on the game at hand and not take take Central Michigan and quarterback Dan LeFevour lightly. Just remember last year’s game against Troy.

    Sigh. I like Barnhart a lot, but he can be some serious talking points overkill. Troy’s 10-point loss (which was a 17-point hole with a few seconds left) at Georgia must seem to Tony on an importance level with the Texas/USC Rose Bowl, Jackie Robinson’s debut, and Apollo 11 combined.

    Troy also beat Oklahoma State. CMU didn’t beat anyone of note outside the MAC. Not saying they won’t give Georgia a game, and not saying it won’t be closer than we’d like, but Tony’s evidence for Georgia’s D getting sliced and diced is…what, exactly?