This Week’s Poll Specs

When was this fielded?: November 11, 2019
Number of respondents: 1,421
Research technique: Online quantitative survey using the MaxDiff Market Research Technique. See the bottom of this post if you’d like more information about how this poll differs from most online college football fan polls.

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

  1. Three contenders at the topTiers of teams in the MaxDiff Poll happen when there is a broad consensus among research participants. It’s one of the benefits of the MaxDiff system over a traditional ranking poll.Back in Week 5, fans zeroed in on seven contenders at the top. That list has gradually thinned out throughout the season as some of those contenders have taken losses. We’re now down to three teams fans agree rise above the rest:  LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson. This view lines up with the AP and the current CFP rankings, which feature these teams in the top three spots ranked in the same order as they are in the MaxDiff Poll. So for now, fans, the media, and the CFP Committee are all in agreement on these three. That’s not the case elsewhere in the MaxDiff Poll because. . .
  2. Minnesota makes a statement and joins Alabama in Tier IIMinnesota picked up a signature win this past Saturday by knocking off a top ten opponent in Penn State. The undefeated Golden Gophers now sit at 9-0 for the first time since 1904. The victory impressed fans, who moved the Gophers all the way up to #4 in Tier 2 alongside Alabama, which certainly surprised me.Despite positive fan perceptions, the Gophers didn’t get as much love from the AP (#7) or more importantly, the CFP Committee, who ranked Minnesota #9 behind four one-loss teams. Why? CFP Committee Chairman Rob Mullens says their schedule was a major factor:“When you’re looking at Minnesota, their schedule was a concern — particularly the nonconference schedule. As it laid out through Week 10, they’d only played one team in their league that has a winning record. The win against Penn State obviously impressed the committee.”While the Gophers’ schedule so far may be weaker than some of the other squads in the top ten, all of this is irrelevant if Minnesota wins out. Doing so would mean victories over Iowa, Wisconsin, and most likely Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game. It would be impossible to deny the Gophers at that point. 
  3. The four teams in Tier III have one loss and are still in itGeorgia, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Penn State each have one loss and comprise the next tier. The results suggest that college football fans currently agree these teams are generally comparable in terms of strength, but they are less likely to agree on the ordering of these four teams. The CFP Committee currently views Georgia as the strongest, as the Bulldogs clocked in at #4 in the latest CFP rankings, but that’s not a view shared by fans in this research. Not only was Georgia ranked behind both Minnesota and Alabama, their MaxDiff score was lower than Alabama’s by a statistically significant margin. This suggests that the average college football fan would favor Alabama over Georgia on a neutral field. However, that’s not a game we are likely to see this season, as Alabama is unlikely to make the SEC Championship game after losing to LSU.     
  4. Utah stands aloneUtah is the sole member of the next tier. Fans are split on where to rank the Utes and which teams they are comparable to in terms of strength. However, the results suggest that college football fans will agree that Utah is behind the pack of Georgia, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Penn State, but ahead of the next tier of teams comprised of Florida and Baylor. 
  5. Baylor needs that signature win to become a contender in the minds of fans Undefeated Baylor sits in the next tier alongside Florida, which is the team fans view as most comparable to the Bears. Baylor got even less love from the CFP Committee, who ranked them at #13. All of this points to the Bears needing a signature win before they are considered a contender. They’ll get a chance this weekend as they host Oklahoma with ESPN College GameDay in attendance. However, fans and Vegas alike don’t like the Bears’ chances. The Bears are currently a 10-point underdog and fans in this research predict a 34 – 42 victory for the Sooners.
  6. Fans think highly of App StateApp State clocked in at #21 in the MaxDiff Poll versus #26 in the AP, which makes them this week’s most underrated team in the minds of fans. The CFP Committee doesn’t share this view. The Mountaineers did make the CFP rankings this week, but just barely, as the Mountaineers were placed in the final spot of the Committee’s top 25.

National Championship Estimates – This Week vs. Last Week