Poll Dancing: Week Six, or BCSual Harrisment

This week, the first edition of that other BCS-sanctioned poll, The Harris Interactive, was released and just as you would expect from a poll that patiently observes the unfolding national scene, is formulated by contributors who are actually available to watch college football on Saturdays, and is not burdened by incorrect preseason assumptions, it is virtually identical to the one that takes the exact opposite approach.

Although they feature them in slightly different orders, both polls contain the exact same top 24 teams, once again ensuring that the computer rankings will have a major impact on the top 2 when the official BCS standings begin next week.  Until, of course, the pollsters decide they don’t like who the computers have chosen as the top 2 and adjust their own votes to counteract them, rendering the entire process meaningless.

But wait, who are these Harris Poll voters anyway?  Who are these chosen few who hold so much influence over the nation’s largest source of bragging rights?

A quick look at this year’s roster reveals the shocking truth: I’m pretty sure the list is at least 50% made up names, possibly generated by EA’s autoname engine.  Or maybe you can tell me who Bob Anderson, Eric Bailey, and James Bates are?  Can you be sure that names like J. J. Joe, Lee Grosscup, and Dick Bestwick aren’t just the childish prank of some Harris Interactive intern?  Jay Walker?  Dick Crum?  Corky Simpson?  Those guys weren’t even trying.  And seriously, Jack White?  Or does he get a vote because of this?

Pre-Season Pretenders Update

Way back in the innocent days of August, I sifted through the pre-season top 10 and chose a handful of teams that I thought would finish the season with at least 2 losses.  In the interest of calling myself out before you do, here’s how that’s going for me…

#2 Alabama (Currently 6-0, #3 in Coaches’ Poll, #2 in Harris Poll)

Of the four games I picked as potential stumbling blocks, two have come to pass with the Tide barely noticing.  Penn State was shut down pretty convincingly, and that’s the closest game Bama has played.  While they could still lose to LSU or in the SEC championship and a bowl game, it’s looking like this one is going in the Miss column.

#4 LSU (Currently 6-0, #2 in Coaches’ Poll, #1 in Harris Poll)

See above.  LSU beat Oregon and Mississippi State by 13 points apiece and then steamrolled West Virginia and Florida.  There’s still hope, but not much.

#5 Florida State (Currently 2-3, unranked)

Well, that didn’t take long.  As I guessed, the Seminoles couldn’t quite handle Oklahoma, continued their road woes against Clemson and even dropped a trip to Wake Forest.  Having lost these three games by just 20 points combined has to be extra-frustrating.

#7 Boise State (Currently 5-0, #6 in Coaches’ Poll, #5 in Harris Poll)

Boise handled the opening test against Georgia well and came up huge on the road beating Fresno by half-a-hundred.  There’s still the back-to-back TCU/SDSU tilt, but that’s a little less daunting now than it appeared back in August.  Could this finally be the Broncos’ year, or will a glut of unbeatens dash their dreams again?

#8 Oklahoma State (Currently 5-0, #7 in Coaches’ Poll, #6 in Harris Poll)

I paired them with Texas A&M (see below) because they played so early in the season.  The Cowboys won, but now enter a more difficult stretch.  They’ll need to beat a Texas team looking to take out some frustration this weekend and then take out top dog Oklahoma at the end of the year.

#9 Texas A&M (Currently 3-2, #23 in both polls)

Another early Hit!  After dropping the one-point loss to Oklahoma State, the Aggies fell to future conferencemate Arkansas by four.

#10 Wisconsin (Currently 5-0, #4 in both polls)

Well, Russell Wilson clicked, and the Badgers burned through their early schedule without a flicker.  The closest game was a 31-point dismantling of Nebraska.  After hosting Indiana for what should result in an amusing scoreboard, Wisconsin hits the road for consecutive away night games against Michigan State and Ohio State, their two co-champs from last season.  After that, they may face a challenge from Illinois, but probably not.  This is looking like another Miss.

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