Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: December 26, 2011 3:22 pm
By Gary Parrish

Only one voter isn't ranking UNLV. And only one voter isn't ranking Michigan State. Turns out, it's the same silly voter. He's about to get Poll Attacked.

Associated Press poll: I explained last week why it was wrong to leave UNLV off a ballot.

And this week it's even more wrong.

But one voter still did it.

His name is Roger Clarkson.

And I'll bet you the $100 gift card to Macy's I got for Christmas that he couldn't intelligently defend his ballot. He's the only one of the 65 AP voters who isn't ranking UNLV or Michigan State. But guess who Roger is ranking? Illinois and Gonzaga. And I'm about to explain why that's sillier than fighting stupid crowds to return unwanted gifts on Dec. 26.

UNLV, Michigan State, Illinois and Gonzaga are all two-loss teams, so I can see why somebody in a rush might look at the records and think they're the same. But they're not the same. The bodies of work that belong to UNLV and Michigan State are undeniably superior to those belonging to Illinois and Gonzaga ... at least in part because UNLV has a win over Illinois in Illinois and Michigan State has a win over Gonzaga at Gonzaga. Of the four teams, nobody has better wins than UNLV and nobody has better losses than Michigan State. The Rebels own wins over North Carolina, California and Illinois, and the Spartans' only two losses are to North Carolina and Duke on neutral courts.

And did I mention UNLV beat Illinois in Illinois?

And that Michigan State beat Gonzaga at Gonzaga?

And that UNLV and MSU are both inside the Top 20 at

And that Gonzaga and Illinois are both outside the Top 25 and

Bottom line, rank UNLV, Michigan State, Illinois and Gonzaga if you like. We actually have UNLV, Michigan State and Illinois all ranked in the Top 25 (and one), and I am, in theory, OK with Gonzaga, too. But what I'm not OK with is ranking Illinois and Gonzaga without ranking UNLV and Michigan State. Why? Because it's makes no sense. I've looked at it every way imaginable, and it makes no sense. But if you can explain it, feel free to email me at and give it a shot. In the meantime, I'll be not returning presents, mostly just laying around.

Coaches poll: I've highlighted this nonsensical voting habit before. But it keeps happening, so I'm going to keep writing about it in hopes that one day the nation -- or, at the very least, the coaches who vote in the coaches poll -- will realize that a team losing to a higher-ranked team does not not necessarily mean the lower-ranked team doesn't deserve its ranking.

Yes, I'm talking about Illinois.

The Illini were ranked 24th last week.

They lost by four points on a neutral court to Missouri, which was ranked eighth.

And somehow that convinced voters that Illinois didn't need to be ranked 24th anymore. Or even 25th. Again, it's crazy because a school ranked 24th is supposed to lose on a neutral court to a team ranked eighth. And when it happens, the team ranked 24th shouldn't be penalized for it, especially when the loss only comes by four points.

Just so we're clear, let me say this: If you don't think Illinois is a top 25 team, that's fine. It's debatable. But if you thought the Illini were a Top 25 team last week, why would you think they're not a Top 25 team this week? Because of a four-point loss to a team ranked eighth? Surely you see how stupid that is.

Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: December 28, 2011 5:46 pm

The Poll Attacks

All of the teams you mentioned Syracuse beat by large margins except Stanford, Florida, and Marshall. Stanford by the way is doing real good this year. Also Syracuse started the year at #5, where exactly should they be after all the teams in front of them have lost a game and NC has lost 2.

Since: Nov 21, 2009
Posted on: December 27, 2011 7:24 pm

The Poll Attacks

They've played one of the strongest schedules in the country? Who have they played, other than Florida? Not ONE other ranked team. Want me to list them? OK, Fordham, Manhattan, Albany, Colgate, VA Tech, Stanford, Eastern Michigan, Florida, Marshall, GW, NC State, Bucknell, and Tulane. Again, show me which of those teams are in the top 25 other than Florida, whom they beat by 4. Do some research before you go on a worthless rant.

Since: Apr 21, 2011
Posted on: December 27, 2011 4:45 pm

The Poll Attacks

Parrish - good article, and congrats on the $100 gift card. That should keep you in hair gel for a few days.

Since: Jan 19, 2009
Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:32 pm

The Poll Attacks

I was going to have a comment against parrish for UNLV, but since the want to be clown left MSU off, then Gary gets a pass this week.

Since: Aug 8, 2011
Posted on: December 27, 2011 12:58 pm

The Poll Attacks

Pre season, early season polls are just beauty pagents.  The only way some teams get on the list is because they have a great rack.  As the season matures and teams settle into their own skins we will see undeniable quality rise to the top.  Wasting energy on one pollster is like worrying about a zit, it will bug you for a little while but it will go away.

Since: Mar 14, 2007
Posted on: December 27, 2011 12:55 pm

The Poll Attacks

How about leaving Kansas off your ballott?  Several voters did that, including John Feinstein of NPR.  KU has BEATEN #2 and #12 and lost to #3 and #7, plus Davidson, which may not be Davidson of a few years back, but is a heckuva mid-major under a great coach in Bob McKillop.  I'm not saying they're world beaters, but the Jayhawks belong in the top 25 for sure...

Since: May 18, 2010
Posted on: December 27, 2011 11:18 am

The Poll Attacks

Loved the article

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: December 27, 2011 11:09 am

Two things

1.  No polls until the end of week 3 of competition.

2.  Make every voter certify that they have checked records, scores, and SOS of teams each week when they vote.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: December 27, 2011 10:12 am

The Poll Attacks

I'm good with the AP attack, not so much with the coaches attack.  You're talking about the coaches pool as if it is an individual entity as opposed to a combined opinion.

Now let's say that I've taken a look at them and thought the Illini were the 20th best on my ballot and based on the loss I decide that they fall from 20 to 24.  That's not much of a change on my individual ballot, however they no longer have the advantage of having a vote that left them higher than the average.  Along with my vote change two guys that had them at 24 dropped them to 25.  Still in their top 25, only a marginal change.  Yet all these marginal changes add up and allow someone else to move past them.

If they were 15th to 20th and fell out of the poll, that's a problem.  Falling from 24 to out is no big deal.  Those spots will slide around.

Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: December 27, 2011 9:45 am
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