Can someone please explain to me the thought process that goes on when picking the top 25 teams for the AP poll each week?
Year after year, week after week, I am dumbfounded with certain decisions that are made and I am sure I’m not the only one…
Let’s back up a little bit.
The 2017 season started off with what was supposed to be one of the biggest games in all of college football – #1 Alabama vs. #2 Florida State. This game was to set the whole season in motion and a loss for either team did not put them out of playoff contention. As we all know, Alabama came out victorious and FSU lost their starting quarterback to a devastating knee injury. The Seminoles held The Tide to only 24 total points, which is pretty impressive considering this is the lowest score for Bama we’ve seen through the first 7 weeks. With heavy hearts, Seminole fans all over the country carried on with their lives that following Sunday, waiting for good news and optimistic about the remainder of the season. That is, until the AP poll was released. FSU dropped 8 spots to #10, despite multiple reports stating that it wasn’t over and they are still a very powerful team. Granted, FSU has definitely not proven to be a top 25, let alone a top 10 team, but during week 1, a loss to the #1 team in the nation shouldn’t be the end-all be-all for ANY team.
Fast forward to week 7…with no top 25 matchups, honestly on paper this weekend didn’t look to be very impressive or entertaining. As a diehard football fan, I knew this could only mean one thing; UPSETS GALORE! What I didn’t know was that it would start on Friday night with #2 Clemson falling to unranked Syracuse. This was probably the most unexpected loss for me, personally, but since I graduated from FSU in May, I was not sad to see one of our rivals lose. I woke up Saturday morning to the news that Cal not only upset #8 Washington State, but ran all over them. Now, this is where things got interesting. Michigan pulled off an important win in OT, Miami barely skated by to an unranked team for the 2nd week in a row, #10 Auburn gave up a 20-0 lead and ultimately lost to LSU, Florida wore the ugliest jerseys of all time and still walked away with a loss at home, USC BARELY outlasted Utah on a failed 2-pt conversion to avoid OT, and Boise State and Arizona State handed San Diego State and Washington their first losses of the season, respectively.
All in all, this ultimately became one of the most exciting football Saturdays I’ve seen in recent years, so imagine my disappointment when the AP polls were released this afternoon.
Michigan WON and dropped 2 spots, the Miami Hurricanes moved up 3 spots after a 2nd last minute win against an unranked team, Clemson dropped 5 spots to #7 (WHAT? Need I remind you that FSU dropped much farther after a much more impressive loss??), USC moved up 2 spots, Washington State is still in the top 15 after an atrocious loss to an UNRANKED TEAM, and Georgia stomped all over Mizzou and only went up one spot. Penn State had a bye week this week so they were unable to prove their worth and with one of the toughest remaining schedules in all of the NCAA I don’t see them staying up there for much longer, so why didn’t UGA get the coveted #2 spot in the poll? Recent experience (when FSU didn’t play due to a hurricane and still descended down the polls) shows that bye weeks don’t stop the committee from dropping teams when others do well. With a true freshman starter and arguably the best running back duo in the country, I think the Bulldogs should be right up there with Alabama, who also show no signs of wavering any time soon.
Hopefully these upcoming weeks will be less controversial, and I will be the first to admit that I love upsets, but for the love of god, BE CONSISTENT. If a team loses to a someone ranked higher than them, there isn’t much surprise and they shouldn’t be punished too greatly for it, but when you have SEVEN top 25 teams lose to unranked opponents in the same weekend, maybe you should reassess your poll standings.