This is where things get tricky. With about 30 percent of the season under everyone's belts, results start to become mixed as teams are still trying to figure themselves out. The transitive property is useless in trying to determine relative value between teams, and it's even more pointless when trying to put together a ballot. Just because Team A beats Team B doesn't mean that Team A is definitively stronger than Team B; it's an important result and it needs to be considered in an analysis, but it isn't the be-all, end-all of ranking teams. This becomes even more exacerbated when Team C becomes a mutual opponent of Team A and Team B, especially if Team C provides different results to Team A and Team B.
In short, if you can build a decent ballot based exclusively on the transitive property that isn't a steaming pile of trash, you have solved the Higgs boson. Congratulations.
What I tried to do this week was start to move a little from my preseason expectations and utilize results and data to try and figure out where teams fall on the continuum. It's not a perfect system by any stretch of the imagination, but where everything shook out didn't make me want to slap myself for failing to live a perfect existence. As always, some pertinent explanations follow my ballot.
|9.||Penn State||-2||19.||St. John's||-5|
- New this week: Hofstra. Dropped out this week: Duke. The Devils are jettisoned to the deep, cold depths of space until Duke starts to show up and act like a team that doesn't leak goals and blood. Hofstra returns after a short hiatus, climbing back in after hammering Fairfield and putting together a nice effort against Harvard this weekend. The Pride are existing under the radar, its only loss against a Princeton team that beat Johns Hopkins this past weekend.
- Outside of the top six (and I'm still not sure how I feel about Loyola right now), I'm not totally comfortable with how anything looks. The function of overtime games from the middle of the ballot back makes you wonder what is real, imaginary, and whatever falls between those two things. Is Syracuse really the 10th best team in the country right now? Are there truly 14 teams better than Lehigh at the moment? I don't know. It's only March, though, so I'm once again focused on making sure I get teams into the tiers that I think they belong in and then adjusting the clubs in those tiers relative to recent results. This will all likely start to change in a week or two, but this is about as close as I can get -- in terms of fairness -- at the moment.
- Some explanations relative to questions I'm sure you have: North Carolina -- Moves up despite losing in triple overtime because I probably had the Tar Heels ranked too low going into this week; Virginia -- I actually had the Cavaliers ahead of the Orange through two drafts, but decided to keep Virginia where it was relative to other results and how they dealt with a difficult situation in the Dome; Princeton behind Johns Hopkins? -- Yes, see my screed on the transitive property above (also, I'm not ready to significantly move the Tigers after only two games).
- I am finally coming around on Ohio State after their furious comeback against Penn State this past weekend. That's a validating win in The Book of Suxa, and I thought about moving them up an additional spot but eventually declined.
- I think other folks are going to hammer Colgate, and I can understand that. The Raiders got stomped and haven't rolled over anyone yet this season. However, I'm willing to give Colgate the benefit of the doubt for a week and see what happens.
I'm always willing to hear what you guys think. Have something to add or want to call me a moron in a few sentences? The comments are your launching pad.