As a general rule, we try to avoid posting on sports issues, mainly because there is an entire blogosphere devoted just to sports, and we're not part of it.
But, in honor of the Redskins finally benching Mark Brunell and bringing on "the kid"--Jason Campbell--we thought we'd ask a couple questions that have been bothering us about football.
Pack Voting By College Poll Members
Our big question is this: why is it that members of the three major college football polls all vote in a pack? Here's what we mean--if you look at the AP, USA Today, and Harris Interactive polls of Division I college football, there are roughly 240 sports writers and coaches who cast votes. Of those, 238 voted for Ohio State as the number one team this week.
That's ridiculous. Right now, both Ohio State and Michigan are undefeated with identical records and nearly identical opponents. Those two teams will play each other this weekend and the winner undoubtedly will be crowned Number 1.
Are you really telling us that 238 out of 240 of the top sports writers and coaches in the country think Ohio State is going to beat Michigan? Or put another way, are you telling us that Ohio State is so much better than anyone else in college football that this tremendous consensus exists?
Baloney. We're confident that a significant number of the poll members--certainly more than one percent--think Michigan will win. So why don't they vote for Michigan?
If these were good polls, there should be a distribution of votes for number one, with at least some voters even voting for one-loss teams that they think are better based on their schedules and how they've played.
But, for some reason, the "experts" we poll throw away their independence and simply vote as a pack. Once Ohio State beat #2 Texas early in the season, everyone decided Ohio State would be number one unless and until they lost. (Since then, Texas has looked like a team that was plainly overranked at the time.)
That's not how it should be. Indeed, Ohio State played a stinker of a game a couple weeks ago (so did Michigan), but it's poll numbers didn't budge.
In contrast, the computer rankings do change each week, depending on how a team played and how everyone else played, which is the way it should be. Furthermore, the computer rankings show much more variety in their picks. Indeed, there are only six computer rankings included in the BCS formula, and they have four different rankings for Ohio State (One computer has the Buckeyes ranked first, one has them at number 2, three at number 3, and one at number 5.)
And while the pack of human votes has Ohio State at number 1, four of the five computer rankings have Michigan as number 1.
We'd like to see the human voters act like humans--show some diversity of views, react to events each week, even be illogical. If all they do is anoint a team number one and then fall into a pack of voting for that team until it loses, then what good are they--heck, a computer could do that for us!
Do Offenses Ever Get Tired?
We hear it all the time during football broadcasts: "Dan, this defense has been on the field for quite awhile--they're tired. The offense has to give them a rest."
We've never heard anyone say that an offense is tired. Why is that? Don't offensive players get tired too? Is there something about defensive players that just makes them more prone to tiring out?
Tomorrow: our football jerk of the year (hint: he's not even a famous football player).