Archive for October 2nd, 2009

On College Football Rankings, or: Is Doug Lesmerises an American Pioneer?

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Doug Lesmerises* has caused quite a bit of commotion early in the college football season with his unorthodox manner of voting. This week, Lesmerises’ top five teams in the country are Alabama, Boise State, and Houston, Florida, and Iowa. No other AP voter ranked the Gators lower. No other AP voter ranked any of the other four teams higher.

*Lesmerises isn’t alone here. Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News pretty much does the same thing. It’s just that I read about Lesmerises first.

Lesmerises has laid out the rationale for his voting in painstaking detail each week. Instead of voting based on talent or coaching or preseason predictions, Lesmerises bases his ranking purely on results. Alabama’s win over Virginia Tech is the best in the country, and thus the Crimson Tide are No. 1, etc. His rankings alter dramatically from week to week because, well, the results alter dramatically. In his preseason rankings, Lesmerises had Oklahoma State ranked 14—one of the lowest rankings for the Cowboys. After their opening win over Georgia, he moved them all the way up to third, behind only Alabama and BYU. When OSU lost at home to Houston the next week, Lesmerises bumped the Cowboys down again to 22 and the Cougars from unranked to fourth. Needless to say, his ballot embraces flux.

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