“I always tell people that if they don’t like the way I vote, they can rank teams how they please. Thanks to you, they can.” – Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples
The Mumme Poll is an ongoing experiment to construct a viable method to rank the best Division-1/FBS college football teams, absent the bias and potential conflicts of interest that affect other polls, in particular the USA Today Coaches Poll. The poll is jointly sponsored by two college football blogs, Get The Picture and 3rd Saturday in Blogtober.
We attempt to accomplish this by conducting the voting in two very different ways from other football polls:
- The first vote does not take place until after the games of Week Six have been played. Voters are not asked to evaluate teams based on preseason expectations and are not expected to use those as a baseline from which to rank teams for the rest of the year.
- Rather than being required to rank twenty five D-1 teams in order of preference, Mumme Poll voters submit ballots which consist of their top ten teams in the country, without ranking (other than to designate a single best from those ten, for use as a tiebreaker). The poll rankings are then compiled by means of approval voting; that is, the teams are ranked in the order of the total number of times they appear on voters’ ballots. (For more on approval voting as a means of addressing bias in the Coaches’ Poll, see this post.)
The inspiration for the Mumme Poll came from the final 2007 regular season Coaches Poll and Tony Barnhart’s post breaking down some of the more curious ballots cast. (You can read that post here.) The poll is named in honor of perhaps the most questionable vote of that Coaches Poll – Hal Mumme’s ballot listing Hawaii as the number one team in the country.
In response, the initial Mumme Poll ran at Get The Picture for the 2008 season. (Florida finished first at season’s end.) With the 2009 season, the poll moved to a new home at this site. The move allowed for a web interface that made the voting process much more user friendly. For 2010, the site was tweaked in order to allow for greater feedback from voters.
We’re (small “d”) democrats here. Mumme Poll voting is open to any knowledgeable, enthusiastic college football fan. That’s part of the fun of it.
There aren’t many, but what few there are matter.
- Registration. To cast a ballot, you’ll need to register at the Mumme Poll site. Registration each season is limited to the week leading up to and through the games of week five.
- Voting period. In most weeks, balloting takes place at any time between 9:00 A.M. on the Sunday following the games and 9:00 P.M. on the following Monday. On those rare weeks when a Sunday game is played, the voting is pushed back 24 hours.
- Ballot format. A ballot must contain votes for ten schools and a top team selected from those schools.
- The one commandment. Don’t try to game the system. Don’t subvert the vote by submitting a ballot with your favorite school and the nine worst teams in D-1, for example. The ballots are monitored and if something questionable comes up, a voter will be given a chance to explain. If we’re convinced there’s a deliberate effort to muck things up, we’ll toss the ballot and the voter.