In a probably-futile effort to retain some sense of normalcy in these oh-so-trying times, here is the Blogpoll ballot. It's not exactly in the spirit of transparency since there's no longer a chance to change it, but that's not completely my fault either now that they publish the final deal on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.
The eligible pool gained four teams and lost one. Louisiana Tech was upset by Utah State, and without a qualifying Big Five win, 9-2 isn't a good enough record. Penn State, Washington, and UNC won their way back to qualification with 7-4 records and a qualifying win, and there was one surprise team: Middle Tennessee. Technically they're eligible for this ballot now; Georgia Tech, whom they beat, has a winning record. I had very low expectations for Middle Tennessee's chances, and they failed spectacularly to meet them. But I figured I'd include them just for giggles. With 33 teams under consideration and 11 games on most everyone's resume, the maximum number of points you can get in my system this week was 363. MTSU had 354. Team number 32 (Louisville) had 297. Lots of points are bad. Next week I'm invoking the same imaginary corollary I used to kick out Ohio, and booting the Blue Raiders too.
The final poll has Alabama #2, which shows only that Blogpollers are susceptible to many of the same biases as the regular voters. Putting them above Florida is only barely justifiable. They have two common opponents (Missouri and Tennessee) where Alabama was clearly better, and Alabama has a much better OOC game on their list. That said, Texas A&M as a common opponent carries much more weight than who beat who by more points. Florida's top three wins are a drubbing of South Carolina, then A&M, and LSU. Alabama's best is LSU, and third-best is the semi-fraudulent Mississippi State, which isn't even part of the eligible pool under the rules I use. (They haven't beaten anyone with a winning record, except for Middle Tennessee.) Alabama might very well beat Florida in a game, should they play each other, but they don't have the better resume.
Hanging around at #26 and #27 are Kent State and Northern Illinois, who actually tied in points this week and were only two behind Rutgers. Either could worm into the ballot next week, particularly Kent State, who plays Ohio and thus has a chance to add a very nice (for the MAC) win to their resume. They're both also on a collision course for the MAC title game.
Next week, it'll be important to remember that 7-5 teams are ineligible, which puts seven teams at risk of dropping out, and that 10-2 is good enough without a qualifying win, which means not only that the two MAC teams are assured of staying in the pool, but there are five other mid-majors that could rise to get a look as well.