Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: December 13, 2010 3:15 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 3:18 pm
Did some AP voters really rank Pittsburgh ahead of Tennessee?

Yes, some really did.

Their punishment is a featured spot in this week's Poll Attacks.

I won't stop till the stupidity stops. Real talk.

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of

AP poll:
I knew somebody would do it. Just had to get the ballots and start looking, and I knew I'd find it in seconds. So I got the ballots and started looking, and, seconds later, I found the ballot I knew I'd find -- the ballot that has Pittsburgh ahead of Tennessee despite the fact that Tennessee is undefeated with a dominating win over Pittsburgh.

The ballot belongs to Elton Alexander of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

He's a friend.

So -- as I tell my son right before he must be disciplined -- this, Elton, is going to be harder for me than it is for you. But the Poll Attacks do not play favorites, and I can't sit here and let you get away with ranking Pittsburgh No. 4 and Tennessee No. 9 on your ballot. Pitt, you might've heard, lost a pretty lopsided game this past weekend. In Pittsburgh. To Tennessee. Which means the Vols are still undefeated, and that they now have wins over the two schools picked first and second in the preseason Big East poll. And yet, Elton, you have three Big East teams still ranked ahead of Tennessee, including the Big East team that just lost to Tennessee after trailing the Vols by 21 points in the second half.

Beyond that, why aren't the Vols in the top five (or even top three), period?

They meet every criteria when it comes to ranking teams.

They have obvious talent (two McDonald's All-Americans in the starting lineup), a coach with a proven history of success (Bruce Pearl wins nearly 80 percent of his games), signature victories (over Villanova in New York and over Pitt in Pittsburgh) and no losses. There is absolutely no reason to be skeptical, but that's another post for another day. For this day, let's just keep it simple: You can rank Pittsburgh wherever you like, but you can't have the Panthers ahead of the Vols. That makes no sense. And it's why Elton Alexander's ballot looks silly -- as do the ballots belonging to The Capital's John McNamara (Pitt at No. 6, UT at No. 8), the Free Lance-Star's Steve DeShazo (Pitt at No. 6, UT at No. 8), and the Olean Times-Herald's J.P. Butler (Pitt at No. 7, UT at No. 9). I mean, come on guys. I post my updated Top 25 (and one) every Sunday night. If you have to cut-and-paste it, just cut-and-paste it.

Coaches poll: The coaches have Duke at the top, Tennessee in the top seven (and ahead of Pittsburgh and Villanova), San Diego State in the top 10, Michigan State still in the top 15, Louisville ahead of UNLV, and, I must say, these dudes did a pretty reasonable job this week.


I could quibble with Missouri being one spot ahead of Georgetown considering both teams have one loss to quality opponents, and Missouri's loss actually came to Georgetown in Kansas City, Missouri. But that's a minor detail. Florida at No. 24 and Central Florida unranked doesn't make a lot of sense either considering UCF is undefeated with a win over Florida. But I'm not ranking UCF (or Florida, for that matter), and I still think the Gators are a Top 25ish team. So that doesn't bother me much. Meantime, every single team that got a vote in the coaches poll -- Texas A&M, Temple, Old Dominion, Washington State, etc., -- can be justified on a Top 25 ballot. So what I'm trying to say -- and this is really hard for me to say -- is that I don't have any major issues with the coaches poll. I disagree with parts, but there's nothing that infuriates me. So in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I offer an attaboy to the coaches who voted this week. They weren't perfect, but they were way better than normal. And, again, they've got Tennessee ahead of Pittsburgh, which is pretty good, relatively speaking.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: December 13, 2010 8:15 pm

The Poll Attacks

Mich ST. is overrated and by seasons end everyone will see that. Izzo can mask it for a while but not even he is good enough to cover up this over hyped barely top 20 school.

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2010 8:04 pm

The Poll Attacks

"And who has Syracuse played??  Mich state??"

Hahaha.  Um, yeah.  They are pretty good, right?  Thanks for giving it to us. 

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2010 7:00 pm

The Poll Attacks

NcCuse93, your post is rubbish.  I would like to see the evidence that Tenn could have lost to Belmont.  After all, facts can be proved.  The fact is this, UT has ran through the top 2 in the Big East.  Fact is UT has held everyone to a low outing score wise.  Wake up out of your Big East dream world.  Did you ever think that the reason these teams were "ice cold" is because of the UT defense.  Save yourself more embarrassment, and just go sit in the Dome and wait for Cuse to choke like the usually do. 

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:37 pm

The Poll Attacks

And who has Syracuse played??  Mich state??  Good win.  Ill give you that.  But still, they have alot to prove as do my VOLS.  We are only heating up.  Thats what youre failing to realize.  Cuse wouldnt play us because they are scared everyone would find out where the real orange lives after the VOLS whoop up on em.  Wait until Big East play before you start talking about beating the VOLS.  Im pretty sure we have proved we can play with the best of the Big East. 

And to the K state fan, i wasnt downing you guys cause you have a good squad.  But you have not proven your worth atop the polls.  Thats all im sayin.  In my opinion, you can have the hardest schedule in the country.  But if you are not winning those games more than losing, you are simply Oakland.  Whom almost beat Mich State.  And who play the VOLS tomorrow night.  Should be interesting to see where we match up with Mich State this yr.  I know its a home game for us and the MSU-Oakland game was in detroit, but o well.  A win is a win.  But it has to count.  And exhibition doesnt count.  So haters, keep hatin.  GO VOLS!

Since: May 13, 2010
Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:26 pm

The Poll Attacks

Reference Tenn/ go a step further Gary, I can't believe the AP and the coaches settled in with Tenn 7 and Pitt at 8.  The way TN made it look, there was a lot of space between the two teams.  Room for a Baylor or a SDSU to squeeze...shoot maybe 6 or 7 teams room in between Tenn and Pitt.  And the way Tenn fans are feeling...UConn and SU ahead of them is suspect.  Just so ya know...SU will put the beat down on Tenn.  They don't want none of this.   

Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:22 pm

The Poll Attacks

Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:18 pm

The Poll Attacks

Fact 1: The end-of-half three was BOGUS.

Fact 2: The overtime period was a CRUSH.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:11 pm

The Poll Attacks

Ok so since were making excuses, tenn only loss in exhibition, which doesnt even count, was because they were ice cold and their best player was sleep walking. The fact is this, Tenn is a better team then the overrated Pitt and I would love to bet on a rematch if their was one. Pitt dropped 51 on tenn in the second half cause TN was in the middle of a victory lap midway through the second half. I mean if were going to make excuses then lets make excuses for both sides. Tenn won because they were the better team period. They may not blow them out if they played a second time but TN wins that game 8 out of ten times.

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:06 pm

The Poll Attacks

from your comments I am assuming you did not watch the game... If you had I am sure you would mention the ridiculous discrepancy in fouls called that were WAY in Pitt's favor.  Even with that the Vols were smoking Pitt the ENTIRE game.  We also had 2 players out that we were expecting to be able to play.  I don't know what you are basing "it looked like TEN could have lost to Belmont" on, but you are clearly just being ridiculous. 

Since: Nov 12, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2010 5:48 pm

The Poll Attacks

Fact is it looked like TEN could have lost to Belmont.   They beat 'Nova on a night when 'Nova was ice cold for the game and their best player was sleep walking.   Fast forward to Pitt and they were ice cold in the first.  There was a lid over the rim.   But they blasted TEN for 51 points in the second, and despite Pitt only scoring 25 in the first, and TEN shooting it well, TEN only won by 7 or 8.

Wanna bet on the rematch?  Wanna bet Pitt only scores 25 in the first again?  Wanna bet Scotty Hopson has a near perfect shooting night and drops 27?   I'll take your money.    I'll take Pitt straight up. 

I can see how a voter could rationalize Pitt as the better team.   BUT, that being said, I do believe in the duty of the ranking folks to not actually rank teams by who they think is best, but by the results on the court.   If Duke gets blasted by a non con opponent this week ... by 15 lets say ... how far do you slide them?    I mean lets be real.   You have to move them, but are you saying they still wouldn't be the best team on paper?    

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