That's why I believe too many AP voters put far too much weight into their pre-season polls and don't make enough changes once the season finally starts. Teams become entrenched and move up or down based on where they started in a poll, movement that has nothing to do with games played, just past reputations and the expectations coming off the previous season. I say this even though the current "system" greatly benefits teams like Michigan.
Take the most recent AP poll: Michigan, which started at #14 in the pre-season AP poll, moved up 4 spots to #10 this week after a less-than-impressive 27-7 victory over SEC doormat Vanderbilt Saturday. That's the second biggest leap in the poll outside of Tennessee's stoning of previously #9 Cal.
Thus, my question is, even as a diehard and extremely biased Michigan fan, what on earth did AP voters see during the Wolverine home opener that led them to believe the Wolverines deserved such a climb into the top 10 teams in the land? Did I miss something? In our MZone poll, we actually dropped Michigan two spots based on that same performance instead of simply moving them up because of where they started and the fact others ranked above them in our initial poll lost.
I think this goes to the other major flaw I've come to realize as someone involved in ranking college football teams all of two ballots: voters don't see shit in terms of games. They can't. It's physically impossible.
Since I no longer live in the state of Michigan, when I don't travel back for the games, I sit on my ass each Saturday in the fall and watch nothing but college football all day long. This past weekend, I watched the M-Vandy game start to finish, 90% of Ohio State-NIU, some Tennessee-Cal, some USC-Arkansas, some ND-G.Tech, flipped between a couple other games before watching a good chunk of Miami-FSU on Monday. In addition, I watched ESPN's College GameDay Final Saturday night (aka the Greatest TV Show Ever Produced).
And still, I didn't see shit. At least not enough to make an informed decision on all the teams I voted on or for. No, I -- like all poll voters -- had to rely on TV highlights and what I read in newspapers and online.
For example, if you saw the Michigan-Vandy highlights, you probably saw Grady punching it in after the impressive first drive, you saw Ecker's leaping catch in the end zone and Manningham's long TD reception sprinkled in with some of the six sacks and recovered fumbles by the Michigan defense. All culminating in a respectable sounding 27-7 final score.
Seeing that, no wonder AP voters moved Michigan up to the top 10. But if you actually watched the entire game, you saw a much more uneven performance. A performance more suited to a ranking somewhere in the mid-teens at best. At least that's what I saw.
So, below is our poll. You'll notice that our previous #1 FSU, which won, actually dropped. Because I thought some teams looked more impressive. Most importantly, we actually tried to "throw out " the preseason ranking as much as possible, giving much more weight to what happened last weekend rather than to what folks thought "should" happen based on two-a-days or spring practice.
Please feel free to leave your feedback on the rankings in the comments section. Would love to hear your thoughts.