There's an anti-Big Ten bias going on.
I'll explain in the Poll Attacks.
AP poll: There are a lot of goofy ballots out there this week. But today I want to focus on the 23 AP voters who have Michigan State ranked outside their top 10, because once I breakdown the Spartans' body of work I think they'll see the error of their ways and react accordingly, which is sort of the point of the Poll Attacks.
Here's Michigan State's key information ...
-- MICHIGAN STATE --
Overall record: 19-4
RPI ranking: 7
Strength of Schedule ranking: 7
Wins against the top 50 (at CollegeRPI.com): 8
Looks pretty good without any explanation, doesn't it?
The Spartans are 19-4 against the nation's seventh-toughest schedule (according to CollegeRPI.com), and only Oklahoma has more top 50 wins. That's strong. But it's even stronger when you consider that two of the losses (Maryland and North Carolina) came during a five-game stretch where Goran Suton was injured and unavailable, and that the other two (to Northwestern and Penn State) have come while Raymar Morgan battles pneumonia. Ailing, Morgan scored just one point in 18 minutes against Northwestern and no points in three minutes against Penn State, the latter performance being enough to convince Tom Izzo to sit Morgan until he fully recovers, which is why the junior has missed the past two games and isn't expected to play Tuesday night at Michigan.
Bottom line, there's no way to have Michigan State outside the top 10 with that body of work.
And would you believe it if I told you one AP voter actually has the Spartans all the way down at 19?
The voter's name is Ed Graney.
He has one of those goofy ballots I was talking about.
Ed works at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is kind of close to Utah. I point this out because that's the only explanation for having Utah State ranked 15th, i.e., four spots ahead of Michigan State. Seriously, Ed has a team with just one top 50 win (against Utah) and a misleading overall record ranked ahead of a team with eight top 50 wins and a two-game lead in the Big Ten (which is the second-toughest league in the country, according to CollegeRPI.com).
On the other hand, perhaps he's just into win totals and loss totals, and that's how he makes sense of having Utah State so high, because he really likes the 23-1 record and doesn't care that it's a direct result of playing a schedule rated 189th nationally. Fine. Whatever. But then how could he explain having Gonzaga ranked 18th, i.e., one spot ahead of Michigan State when the Zags have two fewer overall wins than Michigan State, one more loss, five fewer top 50 wins and a schedule rated 51 spots worse?
Coaches poll: When I ranked Ohio State 17th I assumed I'd have the Buckeyes higher than either poll.
And I was OK with it.
Because I can defend the ranking.
But do you think the coaches can defend not ranking OSU at all?
If you saw the Dear Gary entry from earlier today you should have a better understanding of how I rank teams. Sure, I look at how a team is playing now, what it just did, etc. But more than anything I focus on bodies of work, and Ohio State's body of work is pretty damn solid by any measuring stick.
-- OHIO STATE --
Overall record: 17-5
RPI ranking: 21
Wins against the top 50 (at CollegeRPI.com): 6
Losses outside the top 25 (at CollegeRPI.com): 0
So to summarize: Ohio State is 17-5 with six top 50 wins and no losses outside the top 25.
Also, the Buckeyes are on a four-game winning streak.
But somehow the coaches chose not to rank OSU and instead rank two Pac-10 schools I did not rank.
Here are the bodies of work of those two schools ...
-- No. 18 ARIZONA STATE --
Overall record: 18-5
RPI ranking: 39
Wins against the top 50 (at CollegeRPI.com): 3
Losses outside the top 25 (at CollegeRPI.com): 4
-- No. 24 WASHINGTON --
Overall record: 17-6
RPI ranking: 18
Wins against the top 50 (at CollegeRPI.com): 4
Losses outside the top 25 (at CollegeRPI.com): 5
So, again, to summarize: Ohio State has roughly the same record as Arizona State and Washington, but more top 50 wins and fewer losses outside the top 25, and for the life of me I can't figure out how anybody could digest all this information and reach the conclusion that Arizona State should be 18th, Washington should be 24th and Ohio State should be unranked. But that's precisely what the coaches did, which is why the Poll Attacks work every single week.