Tag:Big Ten Poll Reactions
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:00 pm

Big Ten poll reactions, Week 12

Posted by Adam Jacobi

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Big Ten fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.


11/10. Michigan State

One of the many curious cases of the Big Ten this year has been the resume put forth by inaugural (sigh) Legends Division champion Michigan State, who sealed the division title with a 55-3 victory over Indiana and a concurrent Nebraska loss to Michigan on Saturday. The Spartans' best case to be made is the schedule; they went 4-2 in the following games: at Notre Dame, at Ohio State, vs. Michigan, vs. Wisconsin, at Nebraska, and at Iowa. The other five games were cupcakes.

That's a heck of a run in six legitimately difficult games, all against bowl teams, and a run that plenty of teams around MSU in the rankings might not have accomplished, so it would stand to reason that the slate of opponents would be the strongest part of MSU's resume and that the relatively uncompetitive nature of the Spartans' two losses would push their national standing down, right? The voters see the wide margins of defeat and the computers don't, so the voters would have a worse opinion of Sparty, right?

Well, no. As shown above, the AP and coaches have Michigan State at 10th and 11th, and the Harris Poll voters also have MSU at 11th. The BCS computers? Even with the top and low polls thrown out, the average BCS ranking of the Spartans is 18.75. That is not a typo. And that's without the computers even looking at the scores! I genuinely can't figure out why MSU is getting crushed by the computer polls, but I do know that it's probably going to be enough to keep the Spartans out of an at-large BCS bid if they lose the Big Ten championship, and that seems like a pretty rude fate for a 10-win Big Ten team with what looked like (and probably still is) the hardest overall schedule of any contender in the conference.

15/12. Wisconsin

The wall-to-wall favorite of the Big Ten continues to get crushed for its comically weak non-conference slate, and beating a Penn State team that everyone has not-so-secretly been thinking is overrated (but has continued to overrate all year anyway, because yay for wins) probably isn't going to push Wisconsin's stock that much higher. As a result, the Badgers are going to be borderline Top 10 even if they secure a Rose Bowl bid. That seems low, doesn't it? A team that was generally thought of as one of the five or six most talented in the nation coming into the year -- a legitimate BCS Championship contender, even -- gets derailed by two Hail Marys and it still can't get past 15th in the AP? In a year like this? Insanity. The Badgers are a Top 10 team and ought to be regarded as such by the polls.

17/16. Michigan

It's become obvious that this is a five-team conference, considering all five (let's call them the Big Five) fall in a 12-13 team span of the major polls, while no other school has even garnered a vote for the last two weeks (and unless Iowa pulls off a fairly sizable upset at Nebraska, no school will until maybe after the bowls). The Big Ten anticipated that to an extent, saddling the higher-profile teams with tougher inter-divisional games to create more favorable matchups for TV and general national attention. It's not an accident that Wisconsin drew Michigan State and Nebraska as its two non-fixed inter-divisional rivals this year, after all. So while that's fine and good for the conference, it means that in a league as consistently deep as the Big Ten, the opportunity for the big teams to just beat up on each other and take each other out of the Top 10 is basically to be expected.

With Michigan, though, none of that is really the case here; the Wolverines' non-rivalry inter-divisional games were Illinois and Purdue this year, and what really hampered them this year was that they weren't highly ranked coming into the season. If the pollsters had decided Michigan was very good coming into this year, they'd be closer to MSU than anyone else in the conference, but instead they're here -- even with the highest BCS computer ranking of anyone else in the Big Ten. Now, mind you, it's all right that the voters didn't have much confidence in Michigan. because I didn't either. But it's a yearly fact that as long as we're ranking 25 teams, the teams that start out in the Top 10 or Top 15 are going to reap the benefits of that high initial ranking throughout the year. 

20/19. Penn State

It takes a certain kind of, well, something to come away from the Penn State debacle and feel sympathy for poll voters. And obviously, voters aren't coming up in the coverage of the investigation, nor should they be. But that all said, the pollsters do have to figure out what to do with Penn State and how to rank them, and there really isn't much of a formula to follow for "ranked team loses head coach during the season" and how much (if at all) to downgrade the Nittany Lions for not having Joe Paterno on the sidelines (or in the booth, as it were) anymore. 20th is a fair ranking, if we're being honest about how Penn State has looked all season long, and if the Nebraska game had come in early October and given the Nittany Lions a conference loss early on, we never would have had the conundrum of what to do with an 8-1 team that isn't very good.

22/22. Nebraska

Having seen Nebraska dispatch both Michigan State and Penn State -- still the only conference losses either of those teams has suffered at this point -- it seems insane to think of the Huskers at No. 22. And yet, not only has the rest of the Big Five beaten up on Nebraska, but the Huskers took one utterly inexcusable home loss to Northwestern on top of it, and that's just a little bit too much for voters who never had much to do with the Big Ten other than Wisconsin this year. So, here are the Huskers, ranked 22nd, just like nobody thought they'd be 11 games in.

Also receiving votes: none 

Posted on: November 14, 2011 5:14 pm

Big Ten poll reactions, Week 11

Posted by Adam Jacobi

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Big Ten fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.


12/12. Michigan State

Another week, another different team highest ranked in the Big Ten; this is the fourth week in a row that last week's poll leader lost a game. This isn't Sparty's first go-round leading the conference in the polls, but last time the Spartans celebrated the occasion by getting smoked by Nebraska. It's unlikely that MSU drops this week's contest to Indiana, but Tre Roberson is feisty and this is a classic trap game. Will the Losing Curse Of The Top-Ranked Big Ten Team Of The Week (really rolls off the tongue, that) hold up again? Hmmm...

15/13. Wisconsin

Don't look now, but Wisconsin's one game away out in the Leaders Division standings, and PSU still has to come to Camp Randall. That said, for as wonderfully bloodthirsty as the Badgers' 62-17 throttling of Purdue was this week, they're still a team with one big win on the year, so I can't exactly get upset about such a talented team still slumming it around 15th. Illinois should roll over for Wisconsin dutifully this weekend, but everyone's looking forward to the season finale.

17/16. Nebraska

Perhaps it was lingering disbelief over the Week 10 home loss to Northwestern, but Nebraska sure didn't get a lot of respect from pollsters for going to Happy Valley and coming away with a win. Yeah, the Nittany Lions obviously had a lot going on off the field, to say the least, but if pollsters can't look at that game for what it was -- a giant win at a one-loss, 12th-ranked team -- then that's their fault and not Nebraska's. As it stands, Nebraska's the only Big Ten team to beat either division leader, and for that the Huskers deserve something better than 17th/16th.

20/18. Michigan

Give Michigan Wisconsin's preseason hype and ranking, and the Wolverines are probably ranked about 12th right now. That would be too high, but you get a good sense of what a negative effect low preseason expectations can have on the national profile of a team, even when we're 10 games into a 12-game season. Fortunately for Michigan, there are games against Nebraska and Ohio State coming up to finish off the year; two wins, and depending on what happens above the Wolverines in the polls, and we could see a borderline Top 10 team here just yet.

21/21. Penn State

Penn State got crushed in the polls this week, which leads one to believe that pollsters had been waiting for this loss for a while now. That doesn't really seem fair (nor does the pollsters' dead-weighting of Nebraska; if they really thought Penn State was a 3-point loss to Nebraska away from being out of the Top 20, why was PSU ranked 12th after nine weeks?) The schedule doesn't get much easier, with road games against OSU and Wisconsin still yet to come. Penn State may yet salvage a Top 25 ranking by splitting the two games, but that seems like a best-case scenario regardless of whether Joe Paterno were still coaching or not; this is a tough, tough finish to the regular season.

Also receiving votes: none, not even in that infernal coaches poll 

Posted on: September 19, 2011 6:01 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2011 6:35 pm

Big Ten poll reactions, Week 3

Posted by Adam Jacobi

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Big Ten fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.


6/7. Wisconsin

Wisconsin stays moving up, and for this I'm happy; the Badgers have looked like a Top 5 or 6 program every step of the way thus far, and now they're only 5 voter points away from overtaking Oklahoma State in the coaches poll. Of course, some voters might have a problem with the Wisconsin schedule thus far, and that's a valid thing to take into account (especially at this point in the season). So no howls of outrage here by any stretch -- especially when there's the rest of the poll to take umbrage with.

9/9. Nebraska

Needless to say, if I didn't agree with Nebraska's ranking last week, I'm not going to agree with it this week -- they're No. 16 in my Top 25, because I don't do the straight win-go-up, lose-go-down polling thing. The Huskers don't look like a Top 10 team at all so far -- not when it takes so long for the Huskers to put away the likes of Fresno State and Washington in Lincoln. They also don't look like a .500 team either, because this year's crop of teams drops off pretty precipitously after the first two tiers, and Nebraska looks to be on that third tier. Don't get me wrong -- they're still the team to beat in the Legends division. But 9th in the nation? No. Nooo no no no. Not yet. Not like this. 

22/21. Michigan

I personally still don't have Michigan in my Top 25 yet -- they're mighty close -- but I understand this ranking and I don't have much of a problem with it -- as of right now. Denard Robinson still terrifies me throwing the ball, though, and I still think this all crashes down in the last half of the season in a big way, but if Michigan takes care of SDSU this weekend and handles its first road test at Northwestern (who should have a healthy Dan Persa by then), it'll have earned a Top 20 spot.

UR/23. Michigan State

Yes, Michigan State is still ranked in the coaches poll and Illinois is not. The coaches poll is a joke. The real coaches don't even participate. I don't want to cover it like a serious thing anymore, but it just so happens to be a third of the BCS calculations so here we are every week, going through with this. Ugh.

24/UR. Illinois

With the Saturday win over then-No. 22 Arizona State, Illinois catapulted itself into the national conversation for the time being, and good for the Illini; they've got a legit quarterback in Nathan Scheelhaase, a productive defense with a mean streak, and a schedule that lends itself to maybe as many as 10 regular season wins. They could -- nay, should be 6-0 heading into a home date with Ohio State on October 15. Giddyup!

Also receiving votes: Illinois (90 coaches votes), Michigan State (42 AP votes), Ohio State (16 AP votes, 92 coaches votes), Penn State (19 coaches votes), Northwestern (1 coaches vote)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com