Tag:Cincinnati
Posted on: December 20, 2010 7:42 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 11:29 am
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Pollspeak: Overrated and Underrated

By taking a look at the AP poll from 2005-now, we can look at the five most overrated and underrated teams when it comes to preseason polls. Some schools continue to be ranked high in the preseason AP poll, only to finish nowhere near where they started.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.


Five Most Overrated Teams

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners are the most overrated team over the last five years, and as you might expect, it comes from having a strong, long-term reputation and high expectations.  It was their 2009 season that cemented their place at the top.  They started 2009 at No. 3 and dropped completely out of the polls by season’s end.  They were overrated four of the last five years, but two of those (2008 and 2006) were very minor, one-spot changes.   On the other hand, 2005 was another year of unmet expectations with the Sooners dropping from No. 7 in the preseason to No. 22 in the final.  In the last five preseasons, Oklahoma has never been underestimated. 

2010 Prognosis:  The Sooners started the 2010 preseason ranked No. 7, which was the largest jump for an unranked team in the 2009 final poll.  In the 2010 pre-bowl poll, Oklahoma is ranked No. 9.  Not bad work by the voters, but the Sooners will need to win their bowl game to avoid staying on the list another year.

2. California: 
 Voters want to keep believing in Cal.  This is another team that hasn’t been under-ranked in the last five years.  In 2008 they started the season unranked and ended there.  Every other season was a disappointment.  The worst examples are 2009 and 2007, where the Golden Bears started the season at No. 12 and finished unranked.

2010 Prognosis:  The Golden Bears started 2010 the same way they ended:  unranked.  So they won’t be making too big of a jump in either direction on the list.  However, Oklahoma will likely drop at least one spot, and California could slide into the top spot on the overrated list.

3. Florida State: The Seminoles hold the AP record for the most consecutive top-five finishes (1987 – 2000).  While they haven’t touched the top five in the last five years, it seems the voters still give the Seminoles the benefit of the doubt.  They were only under-ranked once (2006) when they started unranked and finished No. 21.  The other four years, FSU was overrated.  The worst case was 2006, when they dropped from No. 11 in the preseason to unranked in the end. 

2010 Prognosis:  FSU was ranked No. 20 in the preseason and currently sit at No. 23.  Like Oklahoma, the Seminoles must win their bowl game to start working their way off this list.

4. Tennessee: The Volunteers have lost some respect over the last two years.  They finished unranked in 2008, and they started and finished unranked in 2009.  However, in 2005, they plummeted all the way from No. 3 in the preseason to unranked by season’s end.  This 23-place drop is tied with Oklahoma’s 2009 drop for the largest over the last five years.  In 2005 they effectively swapped places with Penn State, who went from unranked to No. 3 in the final poll.

2010 Prognosis:  Tennessee received absolutely no votes in the current poll or the preseason poll.  Even Middle Tennessee received some votes in the preseason poll.  However, with their 2005 results getting dropped from the calculation next year, the Volunteers are going to escape this list.

5. Michigan: The last five years haven’t been kind to the storied program of Michigan.  They started and finished 2008 and 2009 unranked.  In 2006 they actually improved from No. 14 to No. 8 by the end of the season, but they made this list mostly because of the 2007 and 2005 seasons.  The Wolverines dropped from No. 5 to No. 18, and No. 4 to unranked, respectively. 

2010 Prognosis:  Michigan was making a run up the polls earlier in the season, but it didn’t last.  The Wolverines started and ended the season unranked.  However, they should still get bumped off this list next year by a couple of new entries:  Southern Cal and Texas.  The Trojans dropped from No. 14 in the preseason to unranked, and the Longhorns dropped from No. 5 to unranked.  With no chance to improve their rankings (being bowl ineligible), they will enter next year’s list for sure.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.


Five Most Underrated Teams

1. TCU: TCU is exactly the type of team you would expect to be the most underrated.  They are a Mountain West school that has been getting the job done on the field for years, but rarely getting respect in the preseason poll.  Three really good years made them the under-appreciation champion.  In 2005, then went from unranked in the preseason to No. 11 in the final poll.   In 2008, they went from unranked to No 7, and in 2009 they climbed from No. 17 to No. 6.  

2010 Prognosis:  No. 6 is where the Horned Frogs started the 2010 season. So while their lack of respect may finally be coming to an end, they currently sit at No. 3 and will likely continue to remain on the Underrated list next year (though not at No. 1).  Hopefully TCU’s pending move to the Big East will help them to continue building their credibility.

2. Alabama:  The Crimson Tide are the type of team you wouldn’t expect to find high on the underrated list.  Alabama is a historical national power oozing with respect.  However, they were in a serious slump before Nick Saban took over in 2007 and nobody expected he could turn the Tide (so to speak) so quickly.  2008 and 2009 were great years for Alabama, but they also had an unexpectedly good year in 2005, going from unranked to No. 8.  In 2008, they went from No 24 to No. 6, and had a very modest climb in 2009 from No. 5 to No. 1.  Of course, they couldn’t go any higher that year. 

2010 Prognosis:  With a preseason ranking of No. 1 in 2010, the Crimson Tide can only drop on the list next year.  Under Saban, we predict Alabama won’t be climbing the underrated list any time soon.  In fact, Alabama most likely drops off the list completely next year.

3. Cincinnati:
 The Bearcats have at least one thing in common with the Crimson Tide; they haven’t been overrated once in the last five years.  Cincinnati has started each of the last three seasons unranked.  However, they ended 2007 and 2008 at No. 17, and 2009 at No. 8 and Big East Champion.

2010 Prognosis:  While Cincinnati wasn’t ranked in the preseason, they still didn’t live up to expectations.  They just missed the preseason poll at No. 26, but the Bearcats ended 2010 with zero votes and bowl ineligible at 4-8.  So, due to lowered expectations in 2010 (partly due to losing their coach to Notre Dame), Cincinnati will certainly be on the underrated list for another year.

4. Boise State:  Boise State may be who most fans think of when they think of underrated teams.  The Broncos are definitely in the mix.  However, they don’t get top honors because they have also been overrated two times – in 2005 and 2007 the voters ranked them in the preseason, but they fell out of the rankings by season’s end.  The other three years, Boise State climbed.  They climbed as high as No. 4 in 2009.  

2010 Prognosis:  The Broncos may have finally broken through to mainstream respectability.  The start of the 2010 season had them ranked No. 3, and as a bonus, they announced their move from the WAC to the Mountain West.  They currently sit at No. 10, and even though they were overrated this year, they will likely remain high on the 5-year underrated list.

5. Oregon: This is another well-respected team that seems like an odd-duck on this list.   Yet, these Ducks haven’t been getting the respect they deserve lately.  In 2005 and 2007, they started out unranked, but didn’t end that way.  In 2008, they rose from No. 21 to No. 10, and in 2009 they climbed five spots from No. 16 to No. 11. 

2010 Prognosis:  The Ducks are currently No. 2 in the AP Poll with a chance to become No. 1 with a victory in the BCS Championship Game against Auburn.  Even so, there are a few teams on the cusp of the list that could knock them off next year if the Ducks don’t win.

12/24/10 Edit:  Adding additional links to the entire list since some people didn't see it at the end and didn't understand how the rankings were calculated.  Click the link for the full list:   THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.


Methodology

Pollspeak.com used a simple method for determining overrating and underrating in the AP Poll.

An overrated team is one whose final poll ranking is worse than its preseason ranking.  An underrated team is one whose final poll ranking is better than its preseason ranking.  Different results could be obtained by tracking every week individually during the season.  "Final poll" means the poll released after the bowl games.

The last five years for this list are the 2005 – 2009 seasons, inclusive.

We only counted teams listed in the top 25 during those years (53 teams in total).  When a team isn’t listed in the top 25, it is considered unranked and given a value of 26.  We could have ranked teams further by counting all teams that received votes, and that certainly would have changed the results.  For example, a team could have dropped to a theoretical No. 27 (receiving 50 votes), which would be better than a theoretical No. 49 (receiving one vote).  However, for simplicity’s sake, anything beyond 25 is unranked.  This also entirely weeds out teams typically considered unranked that qualify for the list by jumping from No. 49 to No. 26 (or vice-versa) in a given year.

Each team’s final ranking is subtracted from its preseason ranking to determine its over/under-rating for each year.  Then all five years are added together to determine each team’s “Points” and place on the list.  Ties are broken by taking into account the number of years being overrated vs. underrated.

Again, a more complex formula could be used and could certainly change the results, but we’re keeping it simple and straight-forward. 
You can find the entire list of teams sorted from most overrated to most underrated here: 
THE OVERRATED – UNDERRATED LIST.

Posted on: December 20, 2010 7:23 am
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Posted on: August 22, 2010 12:47 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2010 4:52 pm
 

Inside The 2010 Preseason AP Poll

Note: All individual links will open up that person's specific ballot. Team links will show where every voter has ranked that school. 

Joe Giglio
, of the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina gave Boise State its lone No. 1 vote.  This helped the Broncos to their highest-ever poll ranking at No. 3.  Pollstalker also tagged Giglio as this week’s most-extreme voter.  For those new to Pollspeak, “extreme” doesn’t mean “bad.”  It means this person has the most rankings on the edge (highest or lowest).  Now that COULD be a sign of a bad voter (i.e. a monkey throwing darts would likely be extreme), but it could also be a sign of somebody doing their own research and thinking…especially in the preseason where there are fewer tangibles to base ranks upon.

The key is to determine if the person is being rational, unbiased and consistent.  Based on the reasoning in
his blog, it seems Giglio isn’t throwing darts.  Although, fans of teams he ranked lowest: Texas (his No. 12), Florida (his No. 15) and Virginia Tech (his No. 19) will still accuse him of missing a chromosome or two.

Wade Denniston was the second most-extreme voter.  Denniston, who writes for the Logan-Herald Journal in Utah, gave both BYU (his No. 11) and Utah (his No. 17) their highest rankings.   This is only one better than their final rankings in 2009, so his rankings are justifiable.  Plus BYU has been ranked in the final polls since 2006 and Utah since 2008 (where they were 13-0 with a No. 2 ranking.)  So giving these teams the benefit of the doubt isn’t crazy-talk, even though there could also be some homerism involved. 

Still, it is worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.  Denniston also seems to just like ranking teams highest, giving
Penn State (No. 8), Cincinnati (No. 10), Mississippi (No. 20), Oklahoma State (No. 23), and Central Michigan (No. 24) their highest votes.  The biggest exception is Oklahoma, whom he ranks lowest at No. 25.  It’s hard to blame him since the Sooners were unranked last season, but Sooner fans will blame him anyway, especially since he also ranked their in-state rivals highest.  Here is actual footage of Denniston’s last complimentary ride on the Sooner Schooner.

On the opposite end of the Sooner spectrum, Randy Rosetta gave Oklahoma their only No. 1 vote.  The Sooners are ranked everywhere from No. 1 to No. 25… that’s quite a difference of opinions.  Meanwhile Scott Wolf gave rival Texas, their only No. 1.

Temple, Middle Tennessee, Boston College, Oklahoma State, Central Michigan, UCF, Mississippi and SMU all received just one vote.  At least half those teams won’t see more votes than that this year.  Which ones?  You tell us.

While preseason is a bit early to talk seriously about head-to-head, on-the-field results, I’m going to do it anyway.  It’s a good primer for the rest of the season.  So, for example, Iowa beat Georgia Tech 24 to 14 in the Orange Bowl last season.  Arguably Georgia Tech (a VERY run-oriented offense) loses more of its team than Iowa, including their running back, Jonathan Dwyer, who went in the 6th round to the Steelers.  Still, 3 of the 60 voters ranked Georgia Tech over Iowa, as seen in this report.  Of those, Craig James was the most drastic, ranking the Yellow Jackets No. 7 and the Hawkeyes No. 13.

Looking at the AP Poll’s structure this year, there were no major changes.  There are still 60 voters and the same number of voters per state as 2009.  However, there was a typical amount of voter turnover with 29 new voters this year.  You can check out the complete list of changes here:  AP VOTER CHANGES 2009 – 2010.

Long time voter Tom Hart (formerly of CBS) now works for the Big Ten Network.  While many journalists might work in specific college markets, this is the first time we know of where an AP Voter has a formal relationship with a specific conference. While there is no hint of Big Ten bias in his preseason ballot, it will be worth keeping an eye out for it as the season progresses.  In fact, he ranked incoming member Nebraska, lowest of any voter.  Maybe it is a form of rookie hazing similar to Tebow’s monk-cut.

Number of Teams in the AP Preseason Top 25:

  • SEC:  6
  • ACC:  5
  • Big Ten:  4
  • Big 12:  3
  • Pac-10:  3
  • Big East:  2
  • M-West:  1
  • WAC:  1
  • C-USA:  0
  • MAC:  0
  • Sun Belt:  0
  • Ind.:  0

Comparing the number of teams ranked per conference to the Coaches’ Poll, the only major change is the replacement of the Mountain West’s Utah, with the Pac-10’s USC.  Of course, the reason is that the coaches aren’t allowed to vote for USC due to NCAA probation.  The AP voters are under no such restriction.  If USC can win out, there is a very good chance for a split national championship this year.

Posted on: August 20, 2010 9:06 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2010 9:29 pm
 

Inside The Preseason Coaches' Poll

The 2010 USA Today Preseason Coaches’ Poll was released on Friday, August 6th.  Here are some quick facts to mull over:

·         The Big East earned some more respect this year.  In 2009 they had a surprising ZERO teams ranked in the preseason poll.  This year Pittsburgh checks in at No. 15 and West Virginia is tied with Utah for No. 24/25.  2009’s Big East champion, Cincinnati, sits just outside at No. 26.

·         While many predicted Boise State might be ranked as high as No. 3, they debut at No. 5, which is still their highest-ever preseason ranking.  On that note, week one’s Labor Day game features an incredible matchup between the Broncos and No. 6, Virginia Tech.  This will be the best season opener since Baba Booey “threw” the first pitch.

·         Boise State, who will be joining the Mountain West Conference, also joins TCU in the top ten.  The Horned Frogs are ranked No. 7, which is their highest preseason ranking as well.  The coaches are giving an unprecedented amount of respect to these historical red-headed step children.

·         At No. 8, Oklahoma is the highest ranked team that was unranked to end the 2009 season.  The coaches are obviously confident in Bob Stoops’ ability to right the ship after a disappointing 8-5 season.  No doubt they feel numerous key injuries, particularly at QB, played a large part in the Sooner’s record.

·         Florida State is the only six-loss team to make the poll at a generous No. 20.  This likely says a lot about what other coaches think of the numerous coaching changes at FSU.

·         On the other end of the “respectrum”, Cincinnati (12-1), BYU (11-2), and Central Michigan (12-2) win this year’s Rodney Dangerfield award.  None cracked the top 25 after great 2009 records and top 25 finishes in both the Coaches’ and AP polls.  Particularly surprising are Cincinnati, who was ranked No. 8/9 and BYU, who was ranked No. 12 in the final 2009 polls.  You would think the coaches would be used to voting for these teams by now.  BYU has been ranked in every final poll since 2006 and Cincinnati since 2007.

Let’s take a look at the coaches themselves:

The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) has continued the trend of making large scale voter changes.  Of course, this might also have to do with a larger number of coaches leaving their schools.  From 2007 to 2008, there were only 14 voter changes made.  From 2008 to 2009, the number doubled to 28 (and two less voters).  2009 to 2010 has 27 changes.  Click the links to see the full lists of changes.

Here is the breakdown of how many voters each conference gets:

Number of Coaches with Votes:

  • ACC: 6
  • Big 12:  6
  • Big Ten:  6
  • C-USA:  6
  • SEC:  6
  • MAC:  5
  • M-West:  5
  • Pac-10:  5
  • Big East:  4
  • Sun Belt:  4
  • WAC:  4
  • Ind.:  2

The only change from 2009 is that the MAC lost one vote and the Mountain West gained a vote.  Even the independents stayed the same with Navy and Notre Dame.  Like 2009, the distribution is far more even than 2008 and 2007, where the Big Ten was given a marked advantage.  They still have a very small advantage since they are the only league with 11 teams, but still get the same number of votes as leagues with 12 teams.  Like 2009, this can be rationalized and simply a matter of rounding up.  However, removing a vote from the MAC, the largest conference with 13 teams, sounds as unbalanced as Mike Leach at a unicycle convention.

For fun, let’s take into account the conference changes that have been officially announced.  Teams that are switching conferences as early as 2011 might have a new-found allegiance to their new conference.  If so, this is how the numbers shake out in this transition year:

Number of Coaches with Votes Considering Conference Realignment:

  • Big Ten:  7
  • ACC:  6
  • C-USA:  6
  • Pac-10:  6
  • SEC:  6
  • Big 12:  5
  • MAC:  5
  • M-West:  5
  • Big East:  4
  • Sun Belt:  4
  • WAC:  3
  • Ind.:  2

The losers in this scenario are the Big 12 and the WAC.  Boise State will be moving to the Mountain West, which is a loss of a vote for the WAC and a gain for the Mountain West.  However, Utah will be taking its vote to the Pac-10, so it is a wash for the Mountain West.

One winner is the Pac-10 who picks up a vote with Utah, which rightfully puts them on par with other 12-team leagues.  (Colorado’s Dan Hawkins doesn’t get a vote this year.)  The other winner is the Big Ten.  With Nebraska bolting the Big 12 for the Big 10 (and with no love lost for its former conference), it is certainly possible that Bo Pelini might side with the Big 10 when push comes to shove.  So the biggest winner is the Big Ten who once again has a potential advantage over every other league.  A soon-to-be 12 team league potentially gets seven coaches voting in its favor.

That leaves the Big 12 as the biggest theoretical loser as the only current 12 team league with potentially only five coaches voting. 

This is one aspect of conference realignment that most people haven’t thought about.  Realignment also affects votes in the Coaches’ Poll, which is a major part of the BCS formula.  I’m sure the AFCA will do its best to balance out the numbers once the realignment dust settles.  However, if the Big 12 manages to carry on with only 10 teams, it will not only suffer potential losses in total revenue and TV market share, they will also be relegated to only 5 votes in the Coaches’ Poll, just like the other leagues with 10 teams (i.e. the current Pac-10.)

Finally, for all you conference loyalists out there, here is the breakdown of how each conference (in its current incarnation) fared in the voting:

Number of Teams in the Preseason Top 25:

  • SEC:  6
  • ACC:  5
  • Big Ten:  4
  • Big 12:  3
  • Big East:  2
  • M-West:  2
  • Pac-10:  2
  • WAC:  1
  • C-USA:  0
  • MAC:  0
  • Sun Belt:  0
  • Ind.:  0

There is so much more we could discuss if only we had access to the coaches’ ballots every week like the AP Poll.  Unfortunately, the AFCA hasn’t changed that policy.  If you want to see public ballots every week, be sure to sign the Free the Ballots Petition.  In the meantime, we’ll have to wait until August 21st for the AP Ballots to see what goes on in the minds of professional voters.

Posted on: August 20, 2010 8:47 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2010 9:04 pm
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