Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Leatherheads College Football Poll

I've always had a fascination with college football polls. I'm not really sure why. Obviously, a poll, rather than a playoff, is a less than ideal—to say the least—way of determining a national champion, or which two teams get to play for said championship. But, ever since I was in high school, I've played around with developing my own rankings.

I would usually wait until at least mid-season to get started. It was always my feeling that early season polls were really just predictions of who were going to be the best teams, rather than evaluations of who had earned those distinctions. Sometimes I toyed around with the philosophy that last year's final should be this year's opening rankings. But, I never really followed through with that idea.

Over the years, I've even worked on my own rankings system, complete with points awarded for each victory on a scale which assigns a higher value for beating better teams, then adds bonuses for road wins and "decisive" victories, without going overboard to reward running up the score. Let's just say this system continues to be a work in progress.

So, it was only fitting, when my pal Joe started a football blog called Leatherheads of the Gridiron, and encouraged me to contribute, that my first project would be to spearhead a weekly college football poll.

We put together a group of 13 contributors to the site—including me and Joe—who've been voting regularly for the past four weeks now. If you're interested, you can check out all of the posts related to the poll here.

Our poll is a top 16, rather than a top 20 or 25. Why, you ask? For starters, it's for the sake of time. I don't necessarily think it's really worth the effort to spend a lot of time laboring over picks 17-25, when a top 16 truly comprises college football's elite. But, most importantly, 16 is kind of a magic number for a potential mock playoff system, and we have an intriguing plan for that.

Interestingly enough, our latest rankings are pretty darn close to the AP poll's. In fact, our top ten is exactly identical, while numbers 11 through 16 are the same teams, but in a different order. I'm not necessarily saying that's a good thing, just that I find it interesting.

Of course, I know far less about football than I do about baseball, but somehow I got talked into co-hosting a podcast, which airs this Saturday night at 9pm (EST) on BlogTalkRadio. Tune in if you're so inclined, or feel free to download it after the fact.

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