When Pollsters Miss
Ole Miss has the same record as LSU and recently beat them. In fact, the Bayou Bengals are now down to 5th in, not the whole of the SEC, but the SEC West. So, of course that equates to #18 in the NCAA.
Wrong? Right, according to pollsters, who consistently fail to do their homework adequately and evaluate teams based on more than where they were ranked last week and how they performed in the previous game. The ranking should at any point reflect the whole body of work.
Ole Miss has another big win this year, and it was over a team with just two losses, Texas. Texas is ranked behind the Oklahoma team they blew out on a neutral site and both have the same overall record, Texas holding the advantage in the Big 12 and head-to-head.
Here’s how it works: LSU is a slightly overrated #10 and faces a superior BAMA (#1) team and loses but competes for a half. The pollsters say, well they should fall how many spots based on that loss? But, Ole Miss not LSU deserves to be ranked when you look at the totality of their seasons and their head-to-head play. They have the same record and Ole Miss has played a harder schedule and beat them.
Likewise, UGA has three total losses but was only allowed to move in because Notre Dame moved out. We are #25 and by all accounts deserve to be higher ranked than the 3-loss LSU team we defeated. We have faced Mizzou, Clemson, South Carolina, LSU, and we beat LSU. They beat Auburn but that isn’t enough to justify a #18 ranking. 5th in West.
If GEORGIA hadn’t scheduled Clemson, instead playing say Western Carolina, we would be #10 in the NCAA right now, a spot ahead of the S. Carolina team we beat by eleven, if the pollsters were on point.
Playing a tough schedule is not rewarded by the polls unless you are winning at a level above teams playing inferior schedules. Which is what the selection committee says they will rectify. A tough schedule will be rewarded, says former political mouthpiece Condoleezza Rice.
It works in basketball, for the most part, due to an evolved formula known as RPI. Quality losses and quality wins and strength of schedule overall and even actual wins go into a formula. That’s why 17 win teams can make the Big Dance while 21 win teams stay home.
Please, don’t have me talking DAWGS football RPI anytime soon.
The AP Poll is generally the most reliable, as the coaches rely on their assistants to fill polls out and loyalties do show. The Harris Poll differs slightly if at all from the AP Poll Each week.
The BCS rankings, which counts two polls (Harris and Coaches but not the AP) as thirds each and all the computer formulas as a third goes bye-bye next season, and that makes the polls more not less important. The committee will definitely be looking to the AP poll.
I hope the voters are ready. Hey media, step up your overall game.