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: Apr 9, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2010 5:17 pm

The Poll Attacks

"and Missouri's loss actually came to Georgetown in Kansas City, Missouri"

What he didn't mention was the bogus 3 points Georgetown had before half and the game went into overtime. KC MO may regionally favor Mizzou, but it's not the same as playing on their home court.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:45 pm

The Poll Attacks

Wait a minute, the Free Lance-Star has a vote?

The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va.?

Oh, Lord.

Since: Oct 13, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:40 pm

The Poll Attacks

I think it's not that unreasonable to factor in Tennessee's blowout loss in an exhibition game.

I don't know that I'd have Pitt above Tennessee, because I'm not sure Pitt is that good. But I can understand if some voters do.

Since: Nov 27, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:19 pm

The Poll Attacks

K-State beat teams that were supposed to be good, Gonzaga and Virginia Tech, went to Washington State and got a road win and their only loss is to the unanimous #1 Duke. While it's not Nova and Pitt, I still challenge the rest of the top 10 to play that schedule and do better than 9-1.

Since: Mar 14, 2009
Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:18 pm

The Poll Attacks

The 3 point shot at the end of the first half shouldn't have counted and Kim English was fouled twice at the end of the game with no calls.  Sure it was a home game but no home cooking was involved per the refs. 

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:14 pm

The Poll Attacks

Well said Gary. Yet another day I agree with you.  I still dont see how we have yet to crack the top 5 in the coaches or AP.  We have better wins than teams 1-5, but I will give Duke the nod given the beat 2 top ranked teams and are the defending champs.  I hate saying that.  But its true.  Ohio State beat Florida, but no one else.  And Syracuse is up in the air but they are playing good ball at the moment.  K State and Kansas need reality checks.  Kansas looks good, but have yet to play real competition.  Unless you consider UCLA competition.  K state, not going there, but have not proven their worth atop the polls. So yeah, good post.  Vols will prove themselves yet again once we play memphis, UCONN and get started in SEC play.  GO VOLS!!

Since: Oct 24, 2009
Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:01 pm

The Poll Attacks

Well said Gary.  It's as tho each of those individuals who turned in their ballot that had Pittsburgh ahead of Tennessee we're basically saying Tennessee winning @Pittsburgh wasn't really a bigtime win on the road.  Maybe they didn't know Pitt was 81-1 when playing in Pittsburgh.  Who knows.  Maybe it's just their way of trying to kick Tennessee back down in the mud.  Ever since this deal with Pearl and his situation with the NCAA became public, it appears the individuals in charge of turning in ballots decided to slight Tennessee in anyway they can.  Even after beating Nova you could go as far as to say that there were coaches who voted Tennessee lower than what they should have been.  It happened in the past, and it will continue to happen in the present and future.  I've always felt we've got to many individuals who get a vote who have no business voting.  Period. 

Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2010 3:46 pm

The Poll Attacks

 and Missouri's loss actually came to Georgetown in Kansas City, Missouri.

Thank you, Gary!

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