The MaxDiff Poll After Week 3: Fans think TCU is better than Notre Dame

This Week’s Poll Specs

When was this fielded?: September 17, 2018
Number of respondents: 1,409
Research technique: Online quantitative survey using the MaxDiff Market Research Technique.

Interpreting the Scores: The MaxDiff scores for each team are indexed at 100. For example, LSU’s MaxDiff score of 255 means that team was ranked 155% higher than the average team in the exercise. It is important to note that these scores should not be interpreted as “votes.” See our explanation of MaxDiff if you would like more information.


FanJuicer’s “Big Six” Takeaways From This Week’s Poll

  1. TCU impresses fans in loss to Ohio State.

    I’ve noted many times that this poll is not constricted by the unwritten rules to which AP voters tend to adhere. One of these rules is that teams can’t move up in the rankings after a loss. Despite losing to Ohio State last week, TCU actually rose in the MaxDiff Poll from #15 last week to #11, this week. By comparison,  TCU fell two spots in the AP from #15 to #17. This establishes TCU as one of the most underrated teams in the minds of fans this week.

  2. Fans remain high on Texas A&M.

    Since even before Week 2, fans have voiced that Texas A&M has been one of the most underrated teams in the AP. This week Texas A&M remains one of the teams fans feel is most underrated in the AP for the third week in a row. The Aggies face a tough test this weekend when they travel to Tuscaloosa to face #1 Alabama, who has looked untouchable in three weeks of action.

  3. LSU shoots into Tier II.

    After a hitting a field goal as time expired to upset Auburn in Jordan-Hare, LSU shoots up this week’s poll into Tier II. With wins over Miami and Auburn, Coach O and company so far have amassed arguably the most impressive resume in college football. The Tigers still have an amazingly difficult schedule remaining with upcoming games against Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, and Texas A&M.

  4. Fans remain low on Notre Dame.

    As I’ve previously noted, this poll is more likely than the AP to reward teams for “quality losses.” However, it is also more likely punish teams for ugly wins, which is why Notre Dame continues to be ranked as one of the most overrated teams in the AP according to fans. With consecutive struggles against Ball State and Vanderbilt, the Fighting Irish have not instilled much confidence since defeating Michigan in Week 1. The Fighting Irish have a chance to rebound this week against a quality Wake Forest team.

  5. There is little agreement after the top six.

    I noted a couple weeks ago that when the rankings create even, flat tiers that it indicates agreement among fans about the quality of teams, whereas uneven “staircases” reflect a lack of consensus. As the season has progressed, there has been less and less agreement among fans, particularly after the top two tiers. That trend continues this week.

  6. UCF is now overrated in the minds of fans?

    Yes, despite being on a 16 game win streak, UCF was voted by fans as one of the most overrated teams in the AP this week.



The MaxDiff Poll Versus the Spread?

Last season, I noticed a peculiar trend in the MaxDiff Poll in that the teams fans felt were OVERRATED in the AP tended to win versus the spread the following week, while teams fans felt were UNDERRATED tended to lose versus the spread. Using this pattern, last week’s poll made nine predictions with four wins and five losses. Despite batting below .500 last week, the MaxDiff Poll is still 14 – 12 (54% hit rate) against the spread on the season so far.

Here are this week’s predictions:

  • NOTRE DAME (-7.5) over Wake Forest
  • UCF (-13.5) over Florida Atlantic
  • DUKE (spread has not yet been set) over North Carolina Central
  • EAST CAROLINA (+22) over USF
  • TEXAS (+3) over TCU
  • ALABAMA (-27) over Texas A&M

How Do Fans Feel About Stanford v. Oregon This Weekend?

By the way, fans were close to dead on with their prediction of the Ohio State versus TCU score last week.