Tag:poll reactions
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:34 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 12:39 pm
 

How the coaches voted in the final USA Today poll

Posted by Chip Patterson

Our very own Bryan Fischer has ruthlessly picked through the weekly ballots of Associated Press poll voters all season in the new college football edition of Poll Attacks. But the 59 coaches with votes in the USA Today Top 25 are able to escape the criticism of Mr. Fischer and college football fans everywhere as their ballots are not released to the public. The one exception is the annual release after the final regular season balloting.

USA Today published an infographic that breaks down their final Top 25 poll of the regular season - used as 1/3 of the BCS formula - showing where each coach ranked the 35 teams who received at least one vote on Sunday.

I encourage you to spend some time checking out where each coach ranked the top teams in the nation, but here are a few observations that jumped out - especially considering the way things played out in the BCS.

1. No shocker at the top: LSU is the top team in the nation. The Tigers not only wrapped up their perfect season with an impressive victory over Georgia in the title game, they were a unanimous decision from the coaches for the No. 1 spot. LSU was also a unanimous pick in the Associated Press and Harris Interactive polls in their final balloting.

2. T. Boone Pickens' new enemies: After dismantling Oklahoma for their first Big 12 title in program history, Oklahoma State had the best argument of any non-SEC team for a spot in the National Championship Game. But the coach who hurt the Cowboys the most in the USA Today poll was Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, ranking Oklahoma State behind Stanford (3) and Arkansas (4). Duke head coach David Cutcliffe and Syracuse's Doug Marrone both ranked Oklahoma State fourth, along with Nick Saban and Stanford head coach David Shaw - though those last two can easily be chalked up to self-interest.

3. About that Sugar Bowl...: When the BCS bowl pairings were released, arguably the biggest surprise came the Sugar Bowl selecting Virginia Tech and Michigan with their two at-large bids. The Hokies and Wolverines finished at No. 11 and No. 12, respectively, and were selected out of an available at-large pool that included Boise State, Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma.

The Hokies were blasted 38-10 by Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. It was their second loss to the Tigers this season by 20 points or more, yet most coaches still ranked the Hokies ahead of the Tigers. Even head coach Frank Beamer put Clemson at No. 10 and his Hokies at No. 13. But enough coaches kept the Hokies high enough to allow them to finish in the top 14 and be eligible for that Sugar Bowl berth.

Michigan did not make the inaugural Big Ten title game after losing the division to Michigan State. Sparty played Wisconsin to a thrilling 42-39 loss in the Championship Game, but many of the voting coaches did feel they belonged near the magic Top 14 status needed to be eligible for a BCS at-large spot. Nineteen of the 59 voters placed Michigan State below No. 14, including three coaches (Baylor's Art Briles, Marshall's Doc Holliday, and Houston's Kevin Sumlin) who ranked the Spartans at No. 21.

4. Agree to Disagree: The one team that votes placing them all over the ballot was no-longer-undefeated Houston. The Cougars fell from their position in the Top 10 after a 49-28 blowout loss to Southern Miss in the Conference USA Championship Game. Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes and Califonia's Jeff Tedford both kept Houston in their Top 10, while James Franklin and Mark Hudspeth were among those who dropped the Cougars to the very fringe of the rankings at No. 23.

You can check out the interactive graphic breaking down the coaches' ballots at USAToday.com

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 4:49 pm
 

The Poll Attacks: Week 13

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The latest college football polls are out and now it's time to rip them to shreds. Senior college basketball writer Gary Parrish has been calling out voters in the major hoops polls for thinking a little bit too far outside of the box when it comes to their AP ballots every week.

With the football season starting, I thought I'd steal take the baton on the idea from my colleague and keep all of the writers across the country who vote honest. I've come to know a good number of these people through time and twitter but relationships do not matter, bad votes do.

AP Poll           Coaches Poll           Harris Poll           BCS

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com)

Rodney Dangerfield "No respect" team(s) of the week: Everyone not in the SEC

Yeah, I said it again. Especially this week. Also note that the Pac-12 has three teams in the top 10, just as many as the SEC. Wisconsin at 15th in the AP poll also is a "no respect" team.

Overrated: Florida State

  Beating a mediocre-at-best Florida team seems to have the same effect that beating a good Florida team did. The Seminoles started the season highly ranked but have struggled most of the season in, it should be noted, a weak ACC. Also keep in mind that they just lost at home to Virginia, a team that was throttled by Virginia Tech. Maybe if they win a bowl game they can be ranked in the top 25 (coaches have them 24th, AP 25th) but not now.

California Craziness

A trio of voters from California (CSN Bay Area/CBSSports.com's Ray Ratto, San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner, LA Daily News' Scott Wolf) are an interesting voting block. Some would call them progressive, others would call them extreme and just about everybody else will call them crazy given their fluctuations in their ballots each week. All three are consistently in Pollspeak's group of "extreme voters" so we'll highlight the most baffling decision(s) out of each.

  Going to miss putting Wolf in this spot once the final poll comes out. He has Arkansas 3rd and Georgia 7th on top of having Clemson ranked higher than anybody at 15 and Wisconsin lower than anybody at 21. The Badgers are just one spot ahead of Georgia Tech, which shouldn't be ranked on anybody's ballot. TCU is also three spots ahead of Baylor for an odd reason.

What were you thinking? Craig James, ESPN

  I understand why the hashtag #FireCraigJames is so popular on Twitter when looking at his AP ballot: Arkansas 3rd, Kansas State 8th (ahead of Oregon), Stanford 10th, Penn State 18th (higher than anybody), Missouri 21st, Texas 22nd, Notre Dame 23rd and BOISE STATE 24TH. 

Posted on: November 28, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Pac-12 poll reactions, Week 13

Posted by Bryan Fischer

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Pac-12 fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

4/4. Stanford

Not much movement for the Cardinal, up one spot in the Coaches thanks to Arkansas' loss. They're pretty much 4th across the board and, though they figure to be on the outside looking in at the national title game, are assured of heading to a BCS bowl game for the second straight year. They're close enough to Oklahoma State in terms of poll points that it is possible they could wind up third depending on how things go this week.

8/7. Oregon

The Ducks are moving on up despite a ho-hum, expected, win over Oregon State. Up one spot in the AP and two in the Coaches, the expected beating of UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship game won't push them up as much as others losing will pull them up.

9/ N/A. USC

There are ways to go out and there is what USC did to crosstown rival UCLA on Saturday. Serving the final year of their bowl ban, a 50-0 shutout win to end the season in style is pretty good for the Trojans, who could end up in the top five next year if Matt Barkley returns. They moved up a spot in the AP poll and could go as high as sixth depending on how the bowl games shake out. All in all, an impressive season for Lane Kiffin.

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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.


(AP/Coaches)

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 21, 2011 2:03 pm
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 12

Posted by Chip Patterson

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

(AP/Coaches)

6/4. Virginia Tech

Happy to see the Hokies getting some national attention in their current six-game tear, but their body of work makes the Top 5 seem a little high. Virginia Tech could be the next top five team to fall, as they have to travel to Charlottesville and beat Virginia to earn a bid to Charlotte to defend their ACC Championship. But while the ranking may seem a tad high, there is good reason for their newfound respect from the voters. Outside of the 14-10 win at Duke, Virginia Tech has been rolling through their conference schedule. Logan Thomas continues to improve at quarterback as the season winds down, and David Wilson has been raising eyebrows with his ACC-leading 131.1 yards per game on the ground.

18/17. Clemson

With an opening in the BCS top ten thanks to the upsets, Clemson really dropped the ball (literally) in their loss to NC State. The Tigers turned the ball over four times, and slept-walk through most of the first half against the Wolfpack. With superstar freshman Sammy Watkins (shoulder) on the sideline in sweats, Tajh Boyd looked elsewhere for big plays to mount a comeback. Unfortunately he looked to the other team, throwing two red zone interceptions during the second half before being replaced by Cole Stoudt. Clemson has trailed in the first half of their last three games, losing two. The Tigers face South Carolina this weekend before taking on either Virginia or Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game.

24/25. Virginia

The biggest surprise of the season has to be Virginia's performance in their second under Mike London. The Cavaliers were projected to finish at 4th or worst in the ACC Coastal Division, and after the gritty 14-13 upset of Florida State they are just one win away from making their first appearance in the ACC Championship Game. It was the first time Virginia has ever won in Tallahassee, and it gives Virginia a shot at their first 9-win season since 2007.

25/21. Georgia Tech

Like so many teams in the ACC, Yellow Jackets narrowly avoided an upset at the hands of Duke on Saturday. The Blue Devils caused a stir by jumping out to an early lead, falling behind, and then rallying again; but a late Sean Renfree interception and big plays from Tevin Washington kept Georgia Tech alive in their march for 10 wins. With the ACC Coastal out of reach, double-digit wins has become to new goal for the 8-3 Yellow Jackets. Next up is the annual meeting with SEC East champion Georgia, played this year at home in Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Others receiving votes:Florida State falls from the rankings, but manages to collect a single vote from the coaches after the home loss to Virginia. No other teams from the conference made a ballot in either poll.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 1:55 pm
 

Pac-12 poll reactions, Week 12

Posted by Bryan Fischer

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Pac-12 fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

4/5. Stanford

Upset Saturday was the Cardinal's best friend as they rebounded from the defacto Pac-12 championship game - a loss to Oregon - to beat Cal in the annual Big Game. Thanks to losses ahead of them, Andrew Luck's squad moved up four spots in the AP to number four and up to fifth in the Coaches. Given that Virginia Tech doesn't have the strongest resume, Arkansas plays LSU and Stanford will have plenty of eyes on them with a primetime match up with Notre Dame, it's very possible this team can climb even higher after this week and into prime BCS talk.

9/9. Oregon

All things considered, falling back just five spots and likely hosting the first ever Pac-12 Championship game are two comforting thoughts for Ducks fans after the loss to USC. At this point, Oregon figures to go forward as the top two-loss team in the country and is still being given a good amount of respect after beating Stanford. The quacks out of the Pacific Northwest aren't as loud as they were last Friday but they're still audible.

10/ N/A. USC

Welcome back, welcome back. I know it's tough to think Lane Kiffin is a good coach but he is and the talented Trojans have returned to the top 10 after their big upset win over the Ducks. Eight spots seems like a big jump for a team that lost to Arizona State but really isn't when you consider the magnitude of the win in Autzen and what happened in terms of upsets.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 12:04 pm
 

Big 12 Poll Reactions, Week 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Big 12 fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

5/6. Oklahoma State

Well, we all knew Oklahoma State was going to drop in the polls this week following the loss to Iowa State, but the good news is that the Cowboys didn't fall as far as they could have. Of course, this is also where I point out that I'm not entirely convinced that this team is suddenly only the fifth or sixth best team in the country. Cases can be made for Stanford and Arkansas being ahead of the Cowboys, but do the Coaches actually think Virginia Tech is better than Oklahoma State? Here's a list of the Cowboys biggest wins: Texas A&M (ranked 8th at the time), Texas (currently 25th in the BCS), Baylor (just beat Oklahoma, also beat TCU, both ranked) and Kansas State (ranked 11th in the BCS). Here are Virginia Tech's big wins: Georgia Tech, and, and, hmm, yeah that's it. This is the same Virginia Tech that beat Duke 14-10 earlier this season, and Duke missed three field goals in that game. They're suddenly better than Oklahoma State?

12/11. Oklahoma

The Sooners fall 7 spots in the AP and 6 in the Coaches, and it's hard to argue against it. I'd probably put the Sooners ahead of Michigan State in both polls, as they both have two losses and I feel Oklahoma's the better team, but Michigan State also has one more win than the Sooners right now. Of course, when you get right down to it, rankings don't have much meaning for the Sooners anymore. There is no chance to get to the BCS title game and Oklahoma's only route to a BCS game is by winning the Big 12. In order to do that it'll have to beat Iowa State and Oklahoma State these next two weeks.

16/15. Kansas State

I think at this point, no matter what Kansas State does, when it comes to the polls it's just considered the 15th best team in the country. Even in a week where so many teams ahead of it faltered and the Wildcats won -- although it was a game that epitomized an ugly win -- they don't really budge in the polls. Though all Kansas State likely cares about right now is that it's 11th in the BCS which means it has an outside chance at getting an at-large berth in a BCS game.

21/20. Baylor

Last week I had some reservations about Baylor being ranked in the AP Poll. I just had some qualms with the Bears being ranked ahead of some other teams considering they had three losses and had lost every "big" game they'd played up until that point. Yeah, well, nevermind. Point proven, Baylor. Now the only gripe that could be made about Baylor's ranking is that it's behind TCU in both polls. But we all know that the memories of voters only go back so far.

Others receiving votes

Iowa State (3 AP/1 Coaches), Missouri (0 AP/8 Coaches), Texas A&M (0 AP/4 Coaches), Texas (0 AP/1 Coaches) 
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:52 am
 

SEC Poll Reactions, Week 12

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

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

(AP/Coaches)

1/1. LSU

You start the week as a unanimous No. 1, you beat a conference opponent (such as Ole Miss is these days) 52-3, you finish the week a unanimous No. 1.

2/2. ALABAMA

We noted last week that even if Oklahoma State lost to Oklahoma in Week 13, the Tide had enough of a cushion over the Sooners and Oregon that they'd likely ascend to the No. 2 slot in both polls no matter how impressive OU or UO might be. So what hapens when the Cowboys, Sooners, and Ducks all lose? Not only do the Tide move up to No. 2, they have a 24-point head-to-head win over the No. 3 team and the teams ranked No. 4 in either poll (Stanford in the AP, Virginia Tech in the Coaches) both have 20-point losses at home.

In other words: barring a loss to Auburn this week, the Crimson Tde are as safe at No. 2 as LSU is at No. 1.

3/3. ARKANSAS

Let's be honest: with all due respect to the Hogs, the 2011 season isn't always as much about how you play as who you play. Arkansas's faced only two opponents all season ranked in the current polls, and one of those opponents (the aforementioned Tide) smashed the Razorbacks 38-14. Is one home victory over a top-25 caliber team all season really enough to justify the team's highest ranking since 1978? This year, it is; Stanford and Virginia Tech's schedules aren't any better (both are also sporting 1-1 records vs. currently ranked teams), and Oklahoma State's lone loss is so inexplicable there's no benefit of the doubt there, either.

It's weird to say a team with Arkansas's resume deserves to be the No. 3 team in the nation, but ... Arkansas deserves to be the No. 3 team in the nation. 

4/4. GEORGIA

The Bulldogs move up after ... wait, sorry, our mistake:

13/14. GEORGIA

Just got a little carried away there. Anyways: the Bulldogs move up one spot in the Coaches after Clemson's tumble, but hold steady in the AP after beging leapfrogged by USC. Despite Georgia's freshly-minted SEC East title, the Trojans deserve the love; despite the gaudy 9-2 overall record, the Bulldogs still have yet to beat a team ranked in the current top 25 (they're 0-2 in such games). As we've said for the past couple of weeks, East crown or not, we're still not sure why the AP continues to rank Georgia over a South Carolina team that has the same record and beat the Dawgs head-to-head on Georgia's own field.

14/13. SOUTH CAROLINA

As with Georgia, the Gamecocks get a Clemson-based one-spot bump in the Coaches (where USC is ineligible) but stay put in the AP. We think Kansas State deserves to move up a few notches for their outstanding road record, but otherwise, 14th/13th is about right for the Gamecocks.

And once again, those are the only five SEC teams in the poll, with Auburn in the first three of the "also receiving votes." All four of the Tigers' losses have come on the road to top 20 teams -- the Tigers have played a full quarter of the top 20 on the road, collecting a win at Carolina to go with the four defeats -- but no four-loss team makes the polls.  
 
 
 
 
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