From a poll perspective, I love the final week of the season. It is the only week that the coaches' ballots are made public. Thanks to tools such as Pollstalker, fans are able to see how bias and uninformed some coaches are when it comes to ranking teams. It also means that we get to see Coach Pete's view of the college football world. I was tempted to copy Petersen's ballot verbatim for this week's OBNUG ballot, but he had Utah way too high in what is perhaps a nod (or mind game) to his upcoming bowl opponent.
Some absurd observations from the Coaches' Poll:
- Ron Zook - Fresh off a loss from the fourth best WAC team, pledges his Big Ten allegiance by placing conference brethren Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State ahead of unbeaten TCU. One-loss Stanford however, plays in the wrong conference to rated above the Horned Frogs.
- Jim Harbaugh - The Stanford coach took the opposite approach, putting as much distance between his team and the 10-1 Big Ten teams as possible. He has the Cardinal at #3 with the closest Big Ten vote for Ohio State at #7, squeezing TCU, Oklahoma, and Virginia Tech in between.
- Robb Akey - Is the only coach to rate TCU at #1. Not absurd on its own, but it is surprising no MWC coaches rated TCU in the top spot. Gary Patterson does not have a vote in the poll or else he would have undoubtedly put TCU #1.
- Dan Mullen - In addition to having Auburn at #1, the Mississippi State coach gave the highest ranking to the other four SEC teams in the Top 25. Arkansas (#7), LSU (#8), Alabama (#12), Mississippi State (#16)
Interestingly, all three undefeated coaches, Chip Kelly, Gene Chizik and Gary Patterson were without a vote in the coaches poll.
Auburn's dominance in the SEC Championship game was enough to give them an edge over TCU in this week's season ending BlogPoll. All year, preference for the #1 spot has been given to the team with the more dominant defense. However, Auburn has looked unstoppable on offense and their defense has stepped up enough in big games to earn the nod for the top spot.
With 120 teams and a short season, giving preference to head-to-head results creates some odd rankings. Nevada climbs into the top ten by being pushed by Boise State and Virginia Tech. Wisconsin, despite a fairly weak strength of schedule is propelled into the top five with the win over Ohio State. Missouri is the most difficult team to give the head-to-head treatment. They have victories over Oklahoma and Texas A&M, and a road loss to Nebraska. Ultimately, the unexplainable loss to Texas Tech drops them to #15, despite having a stronger strength of schedule.
- Oklahoma - Wins the Big XII Championship over the Huskers in what may be the final meeting in this storied rivalry.
- Virginia Tech - The Hokies have been dominant, winning eleven straight since their stumble against James Madison.
- The BCS - Hancock and company will once again tout how they got the matchup for #1 and #2 right to prove that the BCS works. Connecticut was the fat kid in the BCS selection going to the Fiesta Bowl with the last selection. UConn is unranked in the human polls and their highest computer ranking is 39th. The other five computer rankings for the Huskies were 48, 49, 50, 60, 61.
What are your thoughts on the final poll? What ballot oddities do you observe in the Coaches Poll? How would you suggest head-to-head is handled?