Last year, I wrote a piece that asked you to compare various teams based on objective data. The point of the exercise is to get people thinking about the madness of trying to compare two teams based on nothing more than at a few football practices. Simply, put, it is impossible to do so fairly.
Until 2008, I was one of the masses that figured if someone is ranked, it means something. I have discovered it means pollsters are lazy and decide to just go with defaults and hope. I am sure many polsters take time to research their decisions. However, at this point in the season, we can only make some educated guesses about team's schedule and guess the number of wins. For entertainment value, it is a fun thing to do. The problem lies in the fact that this isn't for entertainment value. In 2004, Auburn proved that. It has been proven since by other teams. Once a voter puts a team in a certain place, they usually don't move them from that spot unless they lose and still might not move them much then.
For this reason, I participate in the Mumme Poll and think it is the only human poll that makes any sense.
The Mumme Poll was founded in 2008 by Senator Blutarski at Get the Picture as a way to remove any preseason conjecture or bias from poll voting. No voting takes place until the sixth week of the season and voters are asked to choose only 12 teams for their ballots. Those 12 teams are put into two groups: Top five and next seven. No numerical rank or other designation is given. In effect, you only have two choices to make. Is a team one of the top 12 teams in the country and is a team one of the top five in the country? Teams are then put in the poll by the number of times they appear on a ballot (called approval voting). The poll is now jointly run by The Senator and the guys at 3rd Saturday in Blogtober and is open to any college football fan.
I write this to bring up that the Coaches' Poll will be out at some point today. With that, the hopes of a national championship for all but about 15 teams will instantly vanish. Unless we see another year like 2007, it is unlikely any team going undefeated, but starting out ranked lower than 15th, will ascend to the very top of that poll unless every other team in the nation loses at least once.
We can debate the merits of the BCS, disparity of schedule strength or conference strength, and returning statistical performance all day. In the end, the decisions of 60 or so coaches...or their SID's will have a disproportionate impact on the eventual BCS and National Championship picture. If you are mad about how college football chooses a national champion, this is where you should probably start.