Sometimes I see things in the College Football and think to myself, “Ya know, Orson Swindle would never…”
Let it be known now that I am NOT a Kentucky Football fan. Nor am I a fan of the color Blue on athletic gear of any kind, however, I am an enormous fan of college athletics, tradition, and the idea of a group of kids fighting all year for their respective institutions of education and fair states and cities, and purity in competition. That said, I just don’t get this fece™ sometimes.
I read a great article at FanIQ after week 2 that dissected the AP writers College Football Poll Ballots. The major point being, hey, if you have a starting point, and you can read a box score, or hell even the line scores of the day, your ranking pretty much will fill itself out. That point, of course, assumes that basic logic and an understanding of competitive contests and comparative math exists.
Then this week happened. A scrappy offensive team in the Kentucky Wildcats displayed some strong line-play on boths sides and made just enough defensive stops to squeak out a win over previously #9 ranked Louisville.
The new polls come out and let us all behold the genius of sportswriters (well and Coaches/SID’s) when UK is ranked 3 spots below the Cards. Yes yes, I see the extenuating factors…. UL was WAY up there, and UK wasn’t ranked. Folks, this is week 3. Nobody knows how good other teams are based on so few outings and the large talent discrepancy often seen in early weeks. All we truly have to go on is overall record (you know, like Wins compared to Losses) and head-to-head matchups (you know, like who actually recently won if two of the teams, you know, like actually played each other in an offical football game).
Let’s take a look at the analysis after the jump.
Record: UK 3-0, UofL 2-1.
Head to head (NOTE: this category is actual on-field competition, you know like, basic score-keeping until the end of the game where someone wins and someone loses): UK 40 UofL 34.
Well no. Somebody somewhere can look at these 2 factual pieces of information and still infer that Louisville is a better team. Huh? Yeah.
So I did some digging expounding on what FanIQ started last week. I was able to find all but 4 of the AP voters’ ballots. Turns out, the majority of the voters do, in fact, have some common sense. For the most part, the writers had UK one, two, or three spots just ahead of Louisville. So why doesn’t the poll reflect this?
Simple. UK was left off of several ballots altogether, while the Cards were on nearly all of them. What’s perhaps more unsettling is that some of these sportswriters (Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler and Stewart Mandel included) chose to recognize that the two teams are fairly evenly matched, but still chose to rank UL ahead. What??
The most puzzling of all is from Jason Franchuk of Provo Daily Herald in Utah, who chose to vote for 26 teams in the 25 team poll. Yep, ol’ Jason wanted us all to know that he likes my University of Tennessee Volunteers as the 26th best team, even though, you know, 26th gets 0 points in the poll. Eh?
In case you are wondering which of the writers fall into which category, never fear!! I have compiled them all for you below.
(Click to view Franchuk’s ballot full size).
Writers who voted UK ahead of UofL:
Chip Cosby Lexington (KY)
Brian Landman St. Petersburg (FL)
Neal McCready Mobile (AL)
Jay G. Tate Montgomery (AL)
Alex Abrams Morning News NW Arkansas
Kevin Pearson Riverside (CA)
Ray Ratto San Francisco Chronicle
Chuck Banning The Day of New London CT
Israel Gutierrez Miami Herald
Brian Landman St. Petersburg (FL) Time
Mike Prater Idaho Statesman
Herb Gould Chicago Sun-Times
Steve Batterson Quad City (IA) Times
Tom Keegan Lawrence (KN) Journal
Glenn Guilbeau Gannett Louisiana
Scott Rabalais The Advocate Baton Rouge
Barker Davis Washington Times
Steve Conroy Boston Herald
Joseph Hawk Las Vegas Review-Journal
Aditi Kinkhabwala Bergen Record NJ
Joe Giglio Raleigh News & Observer
Jim Young News & Record Greensboro
John Hunt The Oregonian
Eric Yutzy WTVF-TV Nashiville, Tenn
Joseph Duarte Houston Chronicle
Jimmy Burch Fort Worth Star
Kirk Bohls Austin American Statesman (Voted UK #12)
Molly Yanity Seattle Post-Intelligenc
Dave Morrison The Register-Herald
Craig James CBS
Tom Hart CSTV
Writers who voted UofL ahead of UK:
David Jones Florida Today
Parrish Alford NE Mississippi Daily Jnl (Ranked UofL 13 and UK 24)
Rich Kaipust Omaha (NE) World-Herald
Matt McCoy WTVN-AM Columbus Ohio
Mike Strain Tulsa (OK) World
Chris Fowler ESPN
Stewart Mandel si.com
Writers who voted for UK but not UofL:
Mark Tupper Decatur (Ill) Herald
Eric Hansen South Bend (IN) Tribune
Rodney McKissic The Buffalo (NY) News
Dave Goren WXII-TV Greensboro, NC
Bret Bloomquist El Paso (TX) Times
Doug Doughty The Roanoke (VA) Times (Ranked UK 23 and App State 24)
Austin Ward Casper (WY) Star-Tribune
Writers who voted for UofL but not UK:
Wayne Phillips The Greeneville (TN)
John Moredich Tucson (AZ)
Scott Wolf Los Angeles Daily News
B.G. Brooks Rocky Mountain News
Paul Arnett Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Pete DiPrimio Ft. Wayne (IN) News 16
Chip Scoggins Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Mike DeArmond Kansas City Star
Tommy Trujillo The New Mexican
Kirk Herbstreit WBNS-AM Columbus (Ranked UofL 17, Arizona St 19, and UCLA 22)
Doug Lesmerises Cleveland Plain Dealer
Myron Patton KOKH-TV Oklahoma City
Jason Franchuk Provo (UT) Daily Herald
Tom Mulhern Wisconsin State Journal
Jon Wilner in San Jose did not rank either UL or UK, but did find it in his heart to rank the Appy State Mountaineers at 23 ahead of Rutgers and Ga Tech.
There you have it folks. Your professional sports personalities and their ridiculous control over very important matters*.
(Thanks to Holly for finding the FanIQ archive. Oh, and for fulfilling your end of the bet. You are a truly a sportsman… err sportswoman… erm.. sportsLady?…)
*possibly TGC opinion and/or overstatement