“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 in its original form was 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 teams in the country, without ranking order. 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. 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.
After a hiatus of some years, the Mumme Poll was resurrected in time for the 2019 season. It’s now purely a creature of GTP. It’s also continued with the purer approval voting approach — no tiebreaker selection involved now — that was adopted in the last season it ran before being put on hold.
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, all you need to do is click on the link provided weekly and follow the instructions there. No registration is required.
- Voting period. In most weeks, balloting takes place at any time on the Sunday following the games and the following Monday. On those rare weeks when a Sunday game is played, the voting is pushed back 24 hours.
- Ballot format. There are no restrictions on the number of teams you choose to place on your ballot. If you want to choose a top 25 every week, be my guest (just realize I’m not going to pay any attention to your order). If you want to select a potential playoff field of eight or four teams, that’s fine, too. If you want to indulge your inner PAWWWLLL!!! and choose Alabama alone, have at it.
- 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.