Week four seemed to be a stepping stone for the epic slate in week five, which features three top ten ranked matchups. Nevertheless, this past weekend contained many entertaining and surprising games. The AP Poll stayed about the same at the top, with a lot of change going on in the middle and back end of their top 25. What did they get right and wrong? Here is my top 25 following week four:
- Ohio State
- Texas A&M
- Florida State
- San Diego State
- Michigan State
- West Virginia
- Arizona State
- Boise State
Utah (+6) is the only team that jumped up more than five spots in my poll, but six other teams rose 4 spots. Michigan State (-11) took a huge hit but stayed in the rankings, whereas Georgia, LSU, Florida and Iowa all fell out. Arizona State, Boise State, and Colorado climbed into my top 25 for the first time this season, and TCU re-entered.
I completely agree with the AP Poll on the top 9. After that, I have Tennessee (#10, #11 AP) rounding out the top 10 instead of Washington (#11, #10 AP); the Huskies struggled to put away Arizona while the Vols ended a long losing streak vs Florida with a big time win. Florida State (#12) and Baylor (#13) are the same in both polls. The AP does not seem to like Texas (#14, #22 AP) at all. I understand that their loss was bad, and their win vs Notre Dame is not looking as attractive anymore, but I am a believer in the Longhorns. Their defense has the talent to improve, and their offense will continue to hum this season.
Miami (#15, #14 AP), Nebraska (#16, #15 AP), Utah (#17, #18 AP), and San Diego State (#18, #19 AP) all took a leap forward. Michigan State (#19, #17 AP) and Arkansas (#23, #20 AP) garnered more sympathy from the AP than from me after taking a loss. West Virginia (#20, NR AP) continues to be neglected by the AP despite staying undefeated and picking up a key win. Arizona State (#21, NR AP), Boise State (#22, #24 AP), TCU (#24, #21 AP) and Colorado (#25, NR AP) are all deserving of a spot in the top 25. The AP, instead of the Mountaineers, Sun Devils, and Buffaloes, has Ole Miss (#16 AP), Florida (#23 AP), and Georgia (#25 AP)…what is wrong about that? Well, this is what’s wrong: the AP Poll has an SEC bias. This has been apparent in the past several years, and this week’s poll is an example of it.
In my opinion, once a team has played four games, if their record is no better than .500 then they do not deserve to be in the top 25. That takes Ole Miss out of the equation. Florida and Georgia are not as good as the AP makes them out to be, but they are kept in the top 25 to give other SEC teams a “top 25” win to boost their resume. For example, by the AP standard, Ole Miss destroyed a ranked team (Georgia) and thus jumps all the way up to #16…as a 2-2 team. Now an overrated team gets a further boost because they got a huge win over a ranked team that has underachieved the whole season thus far.
It is clear that the SEC is down this year, but the AP makes it appear that it is not the case by showcasing a higher number of teams in the top 25 from that conference (I am shocked that they actually did the right thing and dropped LSU from their rankings, although firing their HC and OC probably pushed them over the edge for the AP more than the actual loss). Unfortunately, that takes away from other teams who are playing at an overall high level.
I believe that is the biggest thing the AP got wrong in their poll. What do you think? Do you agree with my poll, or did both polls get it wrong? As you consider that, prepare yourself for the best games of week five:
Stanford @ Washington – 8:00 PM on ESPN (Friday)
Texas @ Oklahoma State – 11:00 AM on ABC
Tennessee @ Georgia – 2:30 PM on CBS
Wisconsin @ Michigan – 2:30 PM on ABC
Oklahoma @ TCU – 4:00 PM on FOX
Louisville @ Clemson – 7:00 PM on ABC