Poll Dancing: Week One, or Brian Kelly’s Vocabulary Corner

As both of my readers are probably aware, I have a few firm, unwavering beliefs.  One is that there are actually two people who regularly read this feature, and another is that college football coaches are the last people who should have any influence over who is elected to the BCS title game outside of the actual coaching of their teams.  This is not because I don’t think coaches understand football; in fact, they understand it better than pretty much anyone else on the planet, except maybe pigskin wizard Fat Urkel.

The problem, oustside of the conflict of interest inherent in allowing those who stand to benefit from the system to have direct and substantial control over it with very little transparency, is that coaches simply can’t watch other games during the week.  All they know is who won and who lost and maybe a little bit about the opponents of those teams.

Which is why in the first poll of the year based on something other than complete conjecture, there are clear patterns.  If a team from the preseason poll lost, they dropped about 10 spots (Georgia and Oregon each dropped 10, TCU dropped 11) unless they were Notre Dame, who apparently gets double-whacked for being Notre Dame.  Or maybe their 20-spot plummet has something to do with this f***ing bulls***.

If you’re one of the teams that beat those ranked teams and you weren’t ranked before, then congratulations!  You are now!  But not too high, because you might lose next week, and we’re trying not to look stupid here.  Therefore, this week sees the arrival of #20 Baylor and #22 South Florida.  Neither of these teams plays anyone of interest for a few weeks, so they’ll make perfect candidates for the inaugural FraudWatch list (see below).

Now, if you were already ranked and beat a ranked team, you’re still going to move up but just a little bit because hey, we actually kind of got something right here, why mess with it?  Hence, LSU moves up two spots for beating Oregon and Boise State jumps up a notch for offing Georgia.  Potential season storyline:  You can only win in an ugly uniform if you you let mentally challenged chimpanzees design it.

Let’s say you had a nice win and were ranked abnormally low in the preseason poll because you have a big question mark like a new ex-baseball-playing starting QB (Wisconsin) or a new head coach (Florida, West Virginia) or both (Ohio State).  That’s good for a bump of around four spots.  Hey look, there’s prototypical random SEC team Mississippi State, let’s bump them up four spots too!

Don’t worry, traditional power teams who didn’t make the preseason poll and did nothing noteworthy over the weekend, you get to fill in the gaps!  Enjoy those shiny new numerical prefixes, #23 Penn State and #24 Texas!

Coming Soon: FraudWatch!

A couple of years ago, I came up with a way to help identify “fraud teams,” defining the term as teams who open a season with four or five wins and then end up with five or more losses.  Sometimes this can happen because of ill-timed injuries or other flukes.  But often, the teams just aren’t that good and have benefited from close wins and weak schedules.  Originally, I limited my list to teams that were undefeated in week five, but this year I’ll open it up to one-lossers as well, to increase my chances of making embarrassingly wrong selections.


  1. First reader checking in! Now, who’s the second?

    Regarding the MD uniforms: those things were so ugly that the you couldn’t pay Miami players to wear them.

  2. Second!

    So what do we do with those people retweeting Uncle Mark un-ironically?

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