The Mumme Poll gets a stimulus package.

It’s funny how things take off sometimes.

Last year, when I started the Mumme Poll, I wasn’t sure where things would wind up.   I was interested to see if I could find out a couple of things:  (1) whether a viable college football poll could be constructed on the basis of approval voting and (2) what sort of efficiencies in the voting would result from a 12-team ballot that didn’t involve ranking each team individually.

My perception at season’s end was that we got positive results on both.  Our rankings seemed as credible as any other poll’s, with the added benefit of reducing the perception of bias by means of approval voting.  And with the average MP ballot taking around 30 minutes to put together, it looked to require a level of attention that a typical college football coach should be able to manage on his own.

The only downside to the experience was that we lost about half of our initial pool of voters (in large part, I suspect, because the Georgia season turned out to be disappointing) by the time the last ballots were cast.  On the other hand, those that stayed on through the end enjoyed themselves tremendously, as did I.

So I was pretty convinced that I was going back to the well for more this year.  That being said, I recognized that there were some shortcomings that would need to be addressed.   A larger group of voters would reduce the chance for ties and would likely generate a longer list of top teams.  A more diversified group of voters would reduce the perception of bias even further, and would also be a hedge against a discouraged group of voters dropping out due to apathy.

It’s also fair to recognize a limit with me as chief, cook and bottle washer of this joint.  There’s only so much one person can do running a poll like the MP out of a standard WordPress blog like GTP, which means that there’s a limit on how many voters I can keep track of each week and how much attention I can generate with it.

And if I can get delusional with you for a minute, I want the Mumme Poll’s visibility raised for a reason.  College football fans may argue vehemently about the BCS and playoffs, but if there’s one thing we’re all pretty much in agreement on (unless you’re Grant Teaff), it’s that the Coaches’ Poll is seriously flawed.  It needs a fix badly.  So, humor me in my fever dream that there’s a one-in-a-million chance that someday the Mumme Poll catches the right eyes and generates a useful debate on a higher level.

In order to start down that road, though, I recognized the need to make some changes on my end.  It’s something I’ve been considering for the last couple of months or so, without much success.  However, in the last week or so, spurred on by one of my commenters here, I was approached by the guys at the terrifically named 3rd Saturday in Blogtober with an offer I simply couldn’t refuse:  a dedicated web site for the poll that they would host and a web interface/poll engine that they would construct to handle the voting.

Which means I’ve got some partners now.  And since they know something about how these here interwebs work, that’s a plus.  (Trust me on this.)

Speaking of which, please welcome one of your new Mumme Poll overlords:

Hello loyal Get the Picture readers.  This is Tidefan from Third Saturday in Blogtober.  I followed the Mumme Poll closely last season, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to partner with the good Senator on it this season.  In particular, we at 3SiB will be providing a new interface for the poll to make voting easier and offer multiple ways in which you can be a part of the MP experiment.  Senator Blutarsky will still provide his excellent analysis (and this season, so will we…the analysis, if not so much the excellence), but we’re hoping we can take the number-crunching burden and not just lighten it but explode it so that any level of detail the voters want will be transparent to them and immediately accessible.  As the season goes on we’ll be adding new features as well, but we don’t want to give away too much too soon.  In the next few weeks we’ll update you on how you can register as a voter and get a little more specific on the toys and tools we are planning.  In the meantime, sit back, get excited and pay attention.

Really, this is all good.  For one thing, since I can ditch the yellow legal pad and #2 pencil that served as my spreadsheet program last season in return for a poll engine that will assemble the results, there’s no reasonable limit on the number of participants we can accept as voters.  If you want in, sign up.  That’s all there is to it.  For another, you get to junk the rather clunky way I had of collecting your votes by e-mail and replace it with what should be a much more user friendly method of casting your ballot each week.  (Which means I can stop spending bandwidth chastising some of you for not getting your votes in on time.)

I’ve got plans for that freed-up time.  It’ll be used to do more analysis and commentary related to the poll and polling in general.  As Tidefan mentioned, two of my cohorts at 3SiB will be pitching in with this, as well.  In fact, I’m going to get fairly ambitious with this, as I’m inviting several other bloggers with various allegiances and backgrounds to contribute to the MP blog commentary with us.

Needless to say, your contributions are still highly valued.  I’m not sure what the final format will look like, but there will be some platform for your comments and observations.

There will be much more to come on this, obviously.  In the meantime, any suggestions you have about what you’d like to see happen with this would be appreciated.  Just stick ‘em in the comments section and we’ll take a look.

In case you can’t tell, I’m excited about this.  Just to let you know how serious we are, we’ve even come up with a logo:

Our inspiration

Inspirational, yet campy, right?  Anyway, thanks for playing.  And stay tuned.

(3SiB announcement here.)

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23 Comments

Filed under Mumme Poll

23 responses to “The Mumme Poll gets a stimulus package.

  1. The Realist

    Hooray, Mumme Poll stimulus package!

    Now that is change I can believe in.

  2. Munson's Call

    Great news. That will really make voting easier and more likely to attract more voters.

    Can’t wait!

  3. I’m getting excited. BTW Senator, the logo is showing up at 3SIB, but not here.

  4. RedCrake

    I’m crazy for some Mumme poll. Can’t wait to get it started.

    You need to sell T-shirts with that logo. Perhaps then folks could send them as gifts to commissioners, coaches, athletic directors, and the like.

  5. Dog in Fla

    Lech Walesa from Gdansk is solid with this idea and says count him in plus he wants royalties for misappropriation of mirror image of Lech as inspirational and campy logo for Mumme poll http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/05/europe_solidarity_in_poland0/html/8.stm

  6. We’re pretty pumped, too. Unfortunately, I was one of the half that didn’t make it all the way through last season. I think with the interface, not only will it attract more voters, but the voter-retention rate should rise significantly.

    And as far as all the poll-building credit goes, it’s all Tidefan. The rest of us are clueless.

  7. Dawgie in NC

    Is there anyway to get “The” Mumme himself to take part, because that would be awesome!

  8. Lee

    Hey do you mind if i splatter this all over SB Nation? I figure the more diversity we get the better the poll, (plus plenty of links to your blog). Plus SB Nation has a huge following and we could get plenty of more voters and more importantly, more diversity. I’ve already posted it on Dawgsports.com and Team Speed Kills (SEC site).

  9. Ben in Georgia

    Senator,

    Just curious, and this is probably an observation of ignorance (I didn’t follow the poll last year), but did you find it difficult when ranking the top 5 last year? My thought here is that usually there are 4 or 5 teams that are clearly better than everyone else and I would think most people would have those in their top 5, therefore reducing the measurable difference between those teams using the Mumme Poll since voters don’t rank the teams. Or am I completely off base here? Regardless, I am very intrigued by this and will certainly participate this year.

    • Ben, at the end of the season, voters will also select a number one over all, so the voting goes 1->next 4->next 7. That one (just like the five in the first several rankings) servers as a tie-breaker and not a weighted rank so that if ten teams all receive an equal number of votes, they will be listed by number of top five votes, and if there are ties there, it will be divided into number of first place votes. In that way, the team that is shown to deserve top 12 recognition by more teams but with no first place recognition will be ranked higher than the team that isn’t as widely accepted as a valid top 12 team even if it receives top spot recognition by two voters. Which is the beauty of this poll. Those two people who believe the team is number one don’t have a more valid opinion simply because they voted a team higher.

    • Believe it or not, it’s rare when there’s complete agreement among all of the voters on a top five. Usually there are just enough people who vary the ballots to generate separation in the rankings. If you do a search of the Mumme Poll archives here and look at last season’s results, you’ll find there weren’t very many ties.

      Obviously, the larger the voting pool, the lower the risk of this, which is one lesson I learned from last year. I thought that this would function well with as few as a couple dozen voters. That’s really not enough.

      • Ben in Georgia

        Apparently nothing to worry about. I suspect with the (presumably) expanded voting base this year, it will be even less of a problem. Thanks for the explanation.

  10. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to it last season, but after brushing up on it, it appears I was an idiot. I’m always the last one to jump on board with stuff. Like, for instance, this email stuff and these weblogs are things I’m finally catching on to. It’s all the rave.

    Seriously, though, this is going to be a lot of fun. We are pumped to be associated with you guys.

  11. Looking forward to the MP again this year!

  12. Will Q

    It’s a beautiful thing when Mumme can bring together so disparate groups of fans. [sniff]

  13. SoCalDawg

    Der Seenaatur! As the lone Southern California based voter last year (I think), I find this to be great news for the future of the poll. I enjoyed it TREMENDOUSLY all the way until the end. I found myself paying attention to many, many more games, and even waking up in the middle of the night to edit / finish my ballot by the deadline. College football nirvana, indeed. When the Dawgs lose, I usually tune out for at least a week, but with the added responsibility of voting in the poll, and actually taking it seriously, I found I was able to shred my dread much quicker than in years past. It also gave me unique perspective for the usual Saturday saloon arguments that tend to happen when you live on Pac-10 foreign soil. Only suggestion would be for a regionally uniform deadline i.e. 9AM EST, and 9AM EDT. I don’t recall the deadline last year, but I assure you I was the last person to vote every week. Count me in for year 2. Cheers, JE

    • SoCalDawg

      Sorry. I meant 9AM EST, and 9AM PST. Not Daylight time, no need to off set the space time continuum just for our votes.

  14. Wolfman

    Cheers Senator!

  15. mcboyt

    Can’t wait to get going on the MP again this year!