Conference Poll Update
This is my third update on how the conference poll voting is shaping up. The last couple of years, I have I put up a poll for everyone to pick who would win each conference game during the year. I found these results fascinating prior to the year. When you vote in the poll, it tabulates the current % of votes for each team in each individual game. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the year for the people who predicted the conference’s most accurately. However, you need to vote on every single game to qualify. You cannot just vote on the six BCS conferences and skip the others. You have only until the end of the week to get your votes in!
Here are the current conference standings for all the conferences with the percentages of each game factored in according to your votes. There have been some notable changes since my July 31 Blog. USC is now expected to lose at Oregon St giving the Trojans their only conference loss of the season. In the last update, North Carolina and NC State were tied at 50% but now the Tar Heels have the voting edge with 54% of the vote as expected. Also in the MAC, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan were tied atop the league with identical 6-1-1 records with the teams each getting 50% of the vote in the game at Western. Now the Huskies have the advantage with 51% and are now alone at the top with a 7-1 record.
According to your votes Defending champ Alabama is predicted to go undefeated in the regular season for the 3rd year in a row. (Georgia was the last SEC team to do so back in 1980-82 playing a six game schedule). The Crimson Tide’s closest game is expected to come against in-state rival Auburn as they received 65% of the vote. According to you, Auburn will start 6-0 in the SEC before dropping their last two. In the East, Florida is expected to win all of their games except their road trip to Alabama as the Gators will look to make it three straight SEC East titles. Georgia also is expected to go 7-1 but just 41% of you so far expect them to beat Florida. Finally, Tennessee with a tough opening schedule is expected to start 0-5 before winning their final three.
Ohio St is expected to go through the conference unscathed and this would be their sixth straight shared or outright Big Ten title. Their closest games are expected to be their road trips to Wisconsin (68%) and Iowa (67%). Iowa gets the nod for 2nd place over Wisconsin (68%) and according to you should win most of their games comfortably with only the Penn St and Wisconsin games coming under 75%. Wisconsin and Penn St do not play each other this year and the Badgers and Nittany Lions are expected to tie for 3rd.
Like my magazine you are predicting the Sooners and Cornhuskers to run the table in the regular season and meet up in the Big 12 title game. Texas is the biggest obstacle for both teams but 74% of you expect Oklahoma to win the Red River Rivalry and 64% of you expect Nebraska to beat the Longhorns at home. Texas A&M looks to have their best conference finish in many years according to you with losses coming only to conference heavyweights Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska. It is interesting to see four Big 12 South teams with 5-3 or better overall records while only one team in the Big 12 North is expected to finish above .500. Naturally this shows that the South is without question the stronger division in the league.
According to you, Florida St will win the ACC Atlantic with their only loss coming to Miami. So far the Seminoles look like clear winners in all the other games (80%+) with the exception of a home game against North Carolina (54%). Despite being picked to win at Boston College, Clemson is in 3rd with their tough schedule that includes predicted losses to ACC Coastal teams Miami, North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Meanwhile Boston College only gets one of the four possible Top 25 teams from the Coastal in Virginia Tech and gets the nod at 5-3. In the Coastal, the Hokies are heavy favorites in most of their games with only Miami (56%) and North Carolina (66%) coming under 84%. Miami is picked to go 7-1 while Georgia Tech is picked to finish 5-3 in the conference.
The Pac-10 was the toughest conference for me to forecast this year as there is very little difference between the top 9 teams. So far your voting tallies agree with my “toughest conference to forecast” assessment as you have several tight races between conference favorites. USC even though they stand alone at the top with a 8-1 record, five of their games are in the 49-63% range which means they could go either way. Defending champ Oregon is picked to go 7-2 with only two their two losses coming under 70%. As mentioned above, Oregon St is now picked to finish in a tie for 2nd with their win over USC.
The Big East also figures to be very competitive this year and so far your votes reflect that. Right now you favor Pittsburgh to finish the conference season unscathed with West Virginia coming in at #2 with a 6-1 mark. Cincinnati, USF and Connecticut all finished at 4-3 with the Bearcats coming close to 5-2 (48% at Connecticut).
This conference has been dominated by Utah, BYU and TCU (Air Force a clear #4) in the past several years and this year looks no different. Right now you have TCU edging out Utah (58-42%) as the Horned Frogs look to be a heavy favorite in the other seven games with a 90%+ vote in each. BYU is projected to go 6-2 while Air Force is 5-3 with annual wins against all the conference teams outside of the Big Three.
Houston is your runaway choice to win the CUSA West division with only the game at SMU (66%) coming in under 80%. Meanwhile SMU looks to make it to their 2nd bowl game in a row and according to you, that should be no problem with a 7-1 projected conference mark. In the East, UCF is the favorite with a 7-1 record and wins over traditional CUSA powers Southern Miss and East Carolina.
There is no surprise here as Boise St is your heavy favorite to win the WAC with no game coming in under 90%. Nevada and Fresno St like my magazine are picked to finish 2nd and 3rd in the conference but I do think it is surprising that you have Hawaii picked to finish 4th with a 5-3 record.
Like my magazine predicts, Temple is your favorite to thru the MAC schedule unscathed and make their 1st trip to the MAC Championship game. Ohio is predicted to finish 2nd in the East while new Buffalo HC Jeff Quinn looks to have a successful 1st year with a 5-3 projected finish. In the West, Northern Illinois is now your pick to win it all as the Huskies barely edge out Western Michigan (51%) in the October 30 showdown.
Middle Tennessee is projected to finish 8-0 in the conference for the first time in their history with only their home game against Troy (55%) being considered a toss-up. Defending champ Troy comes in at 7-1 while Louisiana, Arkansas St and FAU all are projected to finish 5-3. It is surprising that my #3 pick North Texas is projected to finish just 1-7 according to you.
In a couple of days I will give you an final look at the standings for all of the conferences. If you have not voted already, on the PhilSteele.com homepage below the FCS countdown, select a conference of your choice. After clicking on the conference you get the complete conference schedule for each team with the home team capitalized. All you have to do is vote on who you will think the winner will be in each game and the current voting tally appears. Remember you can only vote once and take your time by maybe doing one conference at a time. To vote you do have to register your e-mail address and then login but this is just to make sure there is no stuffing of the ballot box. Have a great time voting and thanks in advance! Remember you only have a couple more days to vote as the the polls will be closed at the end of the week!
Only 22 Days Away Until the 1st College Football Game!!!