FanPost

Analyzing the Final Coaches Poll and Harris Poll

The following is an outstanding FanPost that was written by goingforthecorner. It's as good of a breakdown as I've seen. Enjoy.

If you haven't already, check out the final results to the USA Coaches Poll and Harris Poll. The final results of each year are transparent, so you can view exactly what voter voted which team where.

Link to USA Coaches Poll

Link to Harris Poll (.pdf format)

Every year, you're going to see the "WTF!?" outliers in the voting. Alabama/OSU ended up in a very close margin, but I wanted to see if those outliers made a difference.

Quickly, on how to calculate the final BCS Standings, you average the two polls and computers. There are 59 voters in the coaches poll and 115 voters in the Harris Poll. For both polls, for each voter that ranks a team #1, that team earns 25 points. Then 24 points for the team ranked #2, 23 points for the team ranked #3, and so on. This means that the maximum amount of points you can get in the Coaches and Harris Poll is 1475 and 2875 points respectively (you can see this is exactly what LSU received).

Before we go into the outliers, I think we can first establish that there's no valid argument into ranking OSU behind Stanford, Oregon, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Boise St., and Houston when you look at overall resume and number of quality wins... yet it happened. Specific eye-opening votes in the Coaches Poll:

- Nick Satan ranking #3 Stanford ahead of #4 OSU
- Gary Pinkel ranking #3 Stanford ahead of #4 OSU (I guess his SEC loyalty has already set in)
- Troy Calhoun (Air Force head coach) ranking #3 Stanford and #4 Arkansas ahead of #5 OSU

Specific eye-opening votes in the Harris Poll:
- Scott Johnson ranking #3 Oregon and #4 Boise State ahead of #5 OSU
- Derrick Mayes ranking #3 Stanford, #4 Arkansas, and #5 Boise State ahead of #6 OSU
- Craig Morton ranking #3 Stanford and #4 Oregon ahead of #5 OSU
- Jeff Van Note ranking #3 Wisconsin and #4 Oregon ahead of #5 OSU
- Bob Wagner ranking #3 Stanford, #4 Boise State, and #5 Oregon ahead of #6 OSU
- George Wine ranking #3 Stanford, #4 Boise State, and #5 Houston ahead of #6 OSU (the ultimate WTF!? voter here)

- Jim Walden was the only voter on either poll to vote Alabama lower than #3 (they are #4 on his poll)

Knowing how the final BCS standings are calculated, I was curious to see what would happen if you adjusted the final numbers for these outliers. What if all the outlier votes in both polls were at least changed to OSU being ranked #3 (along with that one voter who slotted Bama at #4? Here are your final standings:

ACTUAL BCS STANDINGS

Alabama Oklahoma St.
Harris Poll: 0.9471 0.9231
Coaches Poll: 0.9485 0.9268
Computers: 0.930 0.950
BCS RANKING: 0.9419 0.9333

ALL OUTLIERS CHANGED TO #3

Alabama Oklahoma St.
Harris Poll: 0.9475 0.9322
Coaches Poll: 0.9485 0.9315
Computers: 0.930 0.950
BCS RANKING: 0.9420 0.9379

It's a lot closer, but still alas, still no cigar. Just out of curiosity, what if half of these outliers were changed to OSU #3 and the other half to OSU #2?

HALF OF OUTLIERS CHANGED TO #2, HALF TO #3
Alabama Oklahoma St.
Harris Poll: 0.9477 0.9367
Coaches Poll: 0.9485 0.9339
Computers: 0.930 0.950
BCS RANKING: 0.9420 0.9402

Even in this completely unreasonable scenario (you still have to respect the outlier votes with regards to Alabama being ahead of OSU), OSU still barely falls short.

So there you have it, Poke fans. If you can take any solace in the final voting turnout, you can say that you weren't screwed over by the outliers. In the end, there were just too many coaches and Harris voters that voted Alabama #2 and wanted to see that rematch (or at least are biased toward the SEC).

Just enough voters to overcome the computer lead OSU had.

Congrats on a great year!

P.S. If you so happen to find anymore 28-year old QBs with college eligibility, please forward those names to Mack Brown. TIA

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