I’ve been away for a while, but I haven’t been idle. I’ve been working on 2012 predictions since early spring.
Last year, I posted a predicted AP Top 30, in which I correctly picked 21 of the top 30 teams in the final AP Poll. This year, I’m extending it to 40 teams. These are, essentially, the teams I give the best chances of either finishing ranked or among the top teams in the “others receiving votes” category. (If you’re so inclined, you can compare my top 30 results from this year to last year simply by ignoring the teams ranked #31 through #40.)
Predicting rankings is difficult, as there are many biases that affect voting, such as preseason rank, conference affiliation, historical success, expected success, favoritism, etc. The cumulative effects of these biases are not clear and, unlike conference results, which are determined only by record, they have a non-negligible impact on final rankings. I try to account for those biases with some minor, non-scientific adjustments.
That’s not the important stuff to most people, so on with the rankings. I hope to see most of the teams ranked in the final AP Top 30 somewhere in this preseason list.
And yes, that is Army listed there, despite a 3-9 record last year. And yes, Michigan is not listed, despite a terrific season under first-year coach Brady Hoke. I rate those two teams as the unluckiest and luckiest of 2011, respectively.