The Senator, on his blog Get the Picture, suggested that the voters of the Mumme Poll, we hardy bunch, agree that the winner of the BCS championship game be the defacto number one of our poll. By way of background, we don’t rank teams from one to n, where n is some random number. Instead, we have two groupings of teams. The top five and the next seven. I am not sure where he came up with twelve, but that is the number we have been using all season. In my opinion, this ‘approval’ voting method has been a success. It is very easy to group teams without having to decide if a 11-1 Florida team is better than a 11-1 Texas team or if a 12-0 Utah team is one or six places better (or worse) than a 10-2 Texas Tech team. You simply group the teams you have on your list. As you can guess, the difficult decisions come with deciding who should be included and who should be on the top list.
Overall, it is a simple system that doesn’t ask people to nitpick between virtually indistinguishable teams and helps minimize bias inherent in humans, who are notoriously prone to subjective thought.
In his post, he asked for feedback on the idea of having the BCS champion as our number one, then vote for only four teams in our ‘top’ group and seven in our ‘next’ group. Via email, I suggested we pick one team as our number one, then have the four and seven lists. He posted that suggestion in the comments. I wanted to further elaborate on my reasoning.
One of the reasons I wished to participate in this poll was my past interest in polling and polling theory. Every year, for many years, I did polls with my friends and found it difficult to make the distinctions between teams in ranking them. However, I never had a hard time deciding which team, in my mind, was the number one team at the end of bowl season. Yes, there were many times that my thoughts differed with others on who the national champion should be, but I never had problems deciding who I thought number one should be and defending that decision.
Also, I am against a playoff. What does that have to do with anything, you ask? The BCS championship game is a playoff. Yes, it is a one game playoff, no different than an ‘and one’ game. I am opposed to the notions that there can only be one number one team and that team has to be the same on all polls and in everyone’s mind. I am old school that way.
Finally, I don’t want to be locked into deciding before any final games are played which team is the best in the land. That isn’t to say that I won’t vote for the winner of the Florida vs Oklahoma game as the national champion in our poll, but I don’t want to be constrained to those two teams in considering the champion, when there are other teams worthy of consideration, especially considering several teams are probably facing their toughest test of the season (I am talking to you Penn State). As I stated in my email to the Senator,
IF Florida and Oklahoma play a terrible game, a sloppy seven turnover 6-3 or 55-53 affair, I could see (or make) arguments for putting a winner of a well played Rose Bowl at the very top.
The same goes for Texas, if Ohio State gives them a game, especially if Oklahoma wins in an ugly (or flukish) fashion.
Hopefully, the Senator will incorporate this idea, as it avoids the obvious issue with selecting a number one team using approval voting in our Poll.