13 October 2008
In case you missed it this weekend, there was a quite a shake up in college football. Top five teams Oklahoma, Missouri, and LSU were all beaten, changing the face
of both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls considerably.
While Alabama did not move up in the standings from #2 in the AP (media) poll, the Tide did climb from #4 up to #2 in the ESPN/USA Today (coaches) poll. In the AP poll the Tide stands just 17 voter points away from new #1 Texas.
Here's a closer look at the AP poll:
I'm not going to rant and rave about the Tide being jumped by Texas. A lot of folks have a problem with the #5 team in America jumping the #2 team in America just because #2 was idle. I don't really have much of a problem with it, given that Texas was at #5 and they beat #1.
I'm also not one of those Alabama fans happy about not
being #1. I understand the rationale of wanting to be the underdog. I get that. I'm just of the opinion that the sooner you get to #1 the sooner you can stay at #1. Give me the top ranking in the preseason and let me go win my 14 games without ever giving a concern to the polls.
In reality it doesn't much matter because Alabama has half of its season left. So does Texas. Penn State has five games left. There is plenty of football left to be played.
As for this week's AP poll, the actual numbers are these - Texas has 1,599 voter points while Alabama has 1,582.
Where do those numbers come from? Each of the 65 members of the media who vote rank each team 1-25 on their ballot. A first place vote counts as 25 points, a second place vote 24 points, and so on. There are a total of 1,625 points available for a team, so Bama's doing pretty well there.
As for the first place votes - Texas got 39 of them, while Bama picked up the remaining 26. In the coaches' poll Texas got 44, Bama 14, and Penn State three.
There were a total of 17 new voters who ranked Alabama at #1 after having the Tide elswhere last week. Unfortunately four people - Bret Bloomquist
of the El Paso (TX) Times, Brett McMurphy
of the Tampa (FL) Tribune, Glenn Gilbeau
of the Gannett (LA) News Service, and Jim Mashek of the Biloxi (MS) Sun Herald. All four of these guys have Bama at #2. It is worth noting that three of these four are from SEC states, while the fourth is from Texas.
The voters who did move Bama up to #1 are:
Bill Cole -
Winston-Salem (NC) Journal, Bob Hammond
- Laramie (WY) Boomerang, Fred Lewis
- Honolulu (HI) Advertiser, Jake Schaller
- Colorado Springs (CO) Gazette, Jeff McLane
- Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, Jeff White
- Richmond (VA) Times, Jim Lamar
- Tallahassee (FL) Democrat, John Heuser
- The Ann Arbor (MI) News, Jon Johnson
- Dothan (AL
) Eagle, Kent Taylor
- WAVE-3 (KY), Mark Tupper
- Decatur (IL) Herald, Mike Strain
- Tulsa (OK) World, Myron Patton
- KOKH-TV Oklahoma City, Pete DiPrimio
- Ft. Wayne (IN) News, Taylor Zarzour
- WPTF-AM Raleigh (NC), Tom Hart
- CBS College Sports Net, Tom Murphy
- Arkansas Democrat Gazette
It is worth noting here that three of these guys are from Big 12 states, including two guys from Oklahoma that almost certainly cover the Texas-Oklahoma game. Also worth noting are four guys from SEC states including Alabama's Jon Johnson. The state's other voter, Doug Segrest, still has the Tide at #2.
The other guys who had Bama at #1 are: Ranked #1 (13) - Adam Van Brimmer
- Savannah Morning News (GA), Anthony Gimino
- Tucson Citizen (AZ), Doug Lesmerises
- Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH), Jason Frankchuk
- Provo Daily Herald (UT), Joe Giglio
- Raleigh News & Observer (NC), John Silver
- Journal Inquirer (CT), Jon WIlner
- San Jose Mercury News (CA), Scott Wolf
- Los Angeles Daily News (CA), Steve Conroy
- Boston Herald (MA)
Lots of new faces at #2 for the Tide, with 22 people moving the Tide into the #2 spot on their ballot. In total Bama got 35 votes for #2. They are:
- ESPN, Doug Segrest
- Birmingham News (AL), Eric Hanson
- South Bend Tribune (IN), Jimmy Burch
- Fort Worth Star (TX), Kevin Pearson
- Riverside Press-Enterprise (CA), Kirk Herbstreit
- WBNS-AM (OH), Marcus Fuller
- St. Paul Pioneer (MN), Matt McCoy
- WTVN-AM (OH), Maurice Patton
- The Tennesseean, Stewart Mandel
- SI.com, Tom Mulhern
- Wisconsin State Journal, Jeff White
- Richmond Times (VA), Joe Person
- The State (SC), Joe Rexrode
- Lansing State Journal (MI), Robbie Andreu
- Gainesville Sun (FL), Aditi Kinkhabwala
- Bergen (NJ) Record, Barker Davis
- Washington (DC) Times, Bret Bloomquist
- El Paso (TX) Times, Brett McMurphy
- Tampa (FL) Tribune, Glenn Guilbeau
- Gannett (LA) News Service, Jim Mashek
- Biloxi (MS) Sun Herald, John Hunt
- The Oregonian, Joseph Duarte
- Houston (TX) Chronicle, Kirk Bohls
- Austin (TX) American Statesman, Mike Cedie
- WREG TV Memphis (TN), Mike DeArmond
- Kansas City (MO) Star, Mike Prater
- Idaho Statesman, Mitch Vingle
- Charlestown (WV) Gazette, Molly Yanity
- Searrle (WA) Post-Intelligence, Randy Harrison
- Albuquerque (NM) Journal, Ray Fittipaldo
- Pittsburgh (PA) Post, Ray Ratto
- San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, Sal Interdonato
- Middletown (NJ) Record, Steve Sipple
- Lincoln (NE) Star Journal, Tom Keegan
- Lawrence (KS) Journal
The lowest any voter had the Tide last week was Ray Ratto at #5. He's now got the Tide in at #2. The lowest any voter has the Tide this week is #3. There are four people who have Alabam listed there, and they are:
- ABC, Eric Page
- Quad City (IA) Times, Mark Anderson
- Las Vegas (NV) Review-Journal, Randy Rosetta -
Baton Rouge Advocate
Interestingly enough, only Anderson had the Tide at #3 last week and left Bama there. Craig James, despite claiming on television that Alabama was the only team that had a legitimate claim at #1 dropped the Tide from #2 to #3. Page and Rosetta each moved Bama up from the #4 spot a week ago. Anyone else find it a coincidence that one of the four folks who ranks Bama lowest lives in Baton Rouge?
The remaining schedule for Texas is:
Oct 18 - #11 Missouri
Oct 25 - #8 Oklahoma State
Nov 1 - at #7 Texas Tech
Nov 8 - Baylor
Nov 15 - at #16 Kansas
Nov 27 - Texas A&M
Dec 6 - Big 12 Championship Game (if qualified)
The remaining schedule for Penn State is:
Oct 18 - Michigan
Oct 25 - at #12 Ohio State
Nov 8 - at Iowa
Nov 15 - Indiana
Nov 22 - #20 Michigan State
So neither of these guys has an east route to an undefeated season. In fact I would say that Texas actually has a tougher road than Bama. While both teams would have to win a conference championship game (and the SEC's is much tougher), having four games remaining with ranked opponents, including three in the top 11, gives Texas the nod. Bama is likely to play just one more ranked team in the regular season - #13 LSU.
The roughest game for Texas could be this weekend's matchup with Missouri. While the Tigers did fall to now #8 Oklahoma State at home, they will be heading to Autsin angry. Texas will have to avoid the post Oklahoma let down, and stop a high powered offense - something they were mostly unable to do this past Saturday. This game will likely be another very high scoring affair for the Longhorns, as will the Texas Tech game.
As for the poll, I've got no real beef with anyone except for maybe Craig James, and even his I'll forgive considering how thoroughly Penn State stomped Wisconsin. It would be nice if the voters from SEC states would give Alabama a little more credit - especially Doug Segrest. But the ballots belong to them, and I don't really have a problem with either Texas or Penn State being ranked above the Tide.
And, in reality, this poll does little but serve as fodder for us... the BCS is what really matters. The coaches poll, along with the Harris Poll (where Bama sits at #2), and the computers make up that particular beast. The first official BCS standings won't be released until October 19, but you'll see a lot of projected polls this week.
ESPN's Brad Edwards is considered to be the nation's foremost expert on the BCS, so pay attention to his projected standings when they come out. Not only does he know his stuff, but he's also a graduate of the University of Alabama and a former employee of Alabama's media relations department. Don't expect any bias, though... he simply inputs the data based on his knowledge of the formula and reports what comes out.
It is thankfully back to game week after a long, long, long off week. Check back for normal game week coverage for the Tide's 2:30 match up this Saturday with Ole Miss.