Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The AP Poll is no Da Vinci Code


When the AP Poll came out on Sunday, most Auburn fans were scratching their heads. How did Auburn WIN a football game, but still manage to DROP in teh AP Poll. It's pretty simple and shows the inherit flaws in the voting system. Andy Bitter had the first little blip about the disparity:

Here's a quick look at how the AP voters placed Auburn:

  • The Tigers are now on 59 of 60 ballots. Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald is the lone holdout. He's got Clemson 25th for some reason. Guess he turned in his ballot before last night's game finished.
  • Auburn is 10th on three voters' ballots: Joe Giglio (Raleigh News & Observer), John Niyo (Detroit News) and Rob Long (Fox-1370 Radio, Baltimore).
  • Randy Rosetta of the Baton Rouge Advocate has Auburn 11th, the highest of any SEC writer.
  • Kirk Herbstreit, who called the game for ESPN, dropped Auburn two spots to 15th.
  • State voters: Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News has the Tigers 18th, same as last week; Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News has Auburn 16th, down one spot.
  • Most common ranking: 18th.


Read more: http://wareagleextra.blogspot.com/2010/09/auburn-up-to-14th-in-latest-coaches.html#ixzz10B8ypOsv

As Bitter points out, the voter who makes the least sense is Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald. Before Auburn fans star lambasting a Massachusetts sportswriter for not knowing anything about college football, Conroy does cover Boston College football (as well as Boston Bruins Hockey) so, in theory, he is qualified to vote in the poll. It's just a huge disparity and defies a bit of common sense. How do you rank one team below a team it just defeated. However, Conroy isn't the only person to drop the Tigers, according to the FANTASTIC website Pollspeak.com:



16 of the 60 writers dropped the Tigers. A loss of one point can be understandable (it could just mean a team jumped ahead of Auburn, pushing them down). However some writers dropped Auburn more than 1 spot, including Mike DeArmond (-2, Kansas City Star), Jon Werner (-3, Waco Tribune-Herald), and John Wilner (-4, San Jose Mercury News).



Some of the biggest positive jumps came from guys who had Auburn unranked (or No.26 in for our purposes) in Week 3 and solidly ranked in Week 4. Including Randy Rosetta (+15, The Baton Rouge Advocate), Chad Cripe (+8, Idaho Statesman), and Dave Foster (+8, WZTV-TV Nashville). Some other leaps were given from Ray Ratto (San Francisco Chronicle) and Rob Long (Fox-1370 Radio, Baltimore), who awarded Auburn's win with +7 and +8 jumps, respectively.



The AP Poll isn't the Da Vinci Code. It's beat writers (and some odd "others") that can't see every game but are required to vote like they have. However, thanks to websites like PollSpeak, the transparency is wonderful and voters and writers can be held completely accountable for their picks.



The issue that I have with the polls is with writers like John Wilner. Just take a look at his ballot. Who does Wilner have above Auburn? James Madison. A 1-AA team. Yes, JMU beat Virginia Tech, but that was two weeks ago. It's writers like this who abuse the system and makes fans like me lose any respect we might have for the Polls. Plus, this isn't the first time people have had issues with Wilner's voting.



Oh, and if someone could explain to me how Craig James (who I'm not entirely convinced graduated SMU) gets an AP Vote, that would help.

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