Processing The Process

The basis and thought process into voting for the AP Poll

College Football Preview: Week 5

> The Red Zone  |  Tape It Up  |  Strike The Pose  |  Breaking The Code
> B.J.: Say What?  |  Amsinger: Picks  |  Sorenson: 10 Questions  |  Braff: Inflated Irish
> Hart: Processing The Process  |  Trev: Hangover Saturdays  |  Can The Cards Be Saved?
> Blackburn: Dorsey Deserves More Pub  |  Crystal Ball: Weekend Predictions
> Caparell: Ducks Season Begins Saturday

Sept. 26, 2007

By Tom Hart

Special to



Tom Hart calls football play-by-play for CSTV and is a contributor to
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The blogosphere somehow finds a way to hold people accountable.  It's kind of like one big Mystery Machine.  Scooby and the kids start meddling, someone gets found out, and the good guys win in the end.  Maybe all it takes is a video clip of a post game rant, or a link to a column on fried chicken carry out in a parking lot, but it works.  It also works on pollsters.  Any number of AP voters has had their votes scrutinized by fans this season, and it effectively controls the crazies.  That's good.  Someone needs to stop that jerk developer from scaring away hotel guests to build condos.




Hopefully shedding a light on voter's polls allows the fans a chance to learn more about the process.  I've never been a big process guy myself.  It might have something to do with the large number of hot dogs I ate as a kid.  Sometimes ignorance is bliss.


FOO-BAW!  I'm not sure if Coach O ripped off his shirt Saturday, but his Rebels played inspired football in a 6-point loss to Florida.  If only they knew they would be required to stop a runaway cement truck.  Florida survived, but no one who lets the Rebels stay close deserves to be in my Top 5. 


In other news, LSU beat another ranked team and solidified their spot atop my rankings.  West Virginia's Pat White looked like a passer in their blowout.  The Mountaineers run their offense like Tinker Hatfield designs shoes.  As soon as one guy run by you, another freaks you out.

Cal has similar speed on offense (quarterback, not so much), and the Bears have a great opportunity this weekend.  A Cal win will solidify their Top 5 ranking and offer some late season poll protection.  An Oregon win will send the Ducks flying higher in the poll.


What is the deal with Rutgers?  They slid into the Top 10 when others lost, but they surely haven't earned it yet.  There are a host of teams right behind the Knights who will quickly leap frog them with a timely win this weekend.  The good news is Brian Leonard should get some carries this weekend for the Rams.


I don't know many who predicted Boston College, Kentucky, and USF among the Top 15 teams so early in the season.  I'm glad I don't worry about expectations as much as production.  If the Bulls defense can shut down WVU this week like they did last year, USF will likely charge into my Top 10.   Their win at Auburn is still their best, and beating Carolina at home is just something good teams are supposed to do.


Missouri looks better as No. 15 after Florida struggled in Oxford.  The Tigers hammered Coach O's boys at Vaught-Hemingway a few weeks ago.  Wisconsin has yet to live up to early season expectations, and while their three quarter nap against The Citadel still looks bad, the UNLV squeaker has been polished thanks to the Rebels home shutout of Utah.


It's hard - when other ranked teams have a loss - to leave undefeated teams on the outside looking in.  Cincinnati, Arizona State and Michigan State have worked their way into the poll, even though none of them have played a tough schedule.  The Sun Devils are the only of the three with noteworthy wins (Colorado, Oregon State), but the Sun Devils have yet to leave the desert. Kansas is on the cusp, but they have a weaker schedule than those three.  The Jayhawks have outscored their opponents 214-23 through four games.  Central Michigan, Southeastern Louisiana, Toledo, and FIU do not constitute murderers row.  Not even pick pocket alley.  Arguably, KU doesn't play a tough game until Texas A&M on October 27.  The way the Aggies are playing, it's more realistic that Nebraska on November 3 will present the better challenge. 


Georgia and Miami pulled the weeks most impressive wins.   After further review, they each might be a little low - but with mostly undefeated teams in front of them there is little room for adjustment. 

One team that might be in need of a scramble is Virginia Tech.  My heart tells me they're a good team, but their results and schedule haven't allowed them to prove it yet.  Consider the Hokies against the Hurricanes.  They each got blown out by a Top 3 team.  Both lost in the same week, but their quality win more impressive (A&M vs. ECU).  Apparently I don't posses the same clarity between the hours of midnight and two a.m. as I do once I return home.  I'll make this right this week.

I can't stress how much respect I have for Steve Kragthorpe.  But losing at home to Syracuse speaks volumes about how far they have to go defensively.  The Orange loss takes away any momentum the Cards had from early cupcake wins.


Nebraska, Hawai'i, Michigan, and UCF are all on the outside looking in this week.  Right now Hawai'i's schedule is more rainbow than Warrior, so as soon as they stop playing FCS teams I'll give them stronger consideration.


My AP ballot for this week:


1.       LSU

2.       USC

3.       Oklahoma

4.       West Virginia

5.       California

6.       Florida

7.       Ohio State

8.       Texas

9.       Rutgers

10.    Oregon

11.    Boston College

12.    Clemson

13.    Kentucky

14.    USF

15.    Missouri

16.    Wisconsin

17.    South Carolina

18.    Penn State

19.    Virginia Tech

20.    Cincinnati

21.    Michigan State

22.    Arizona State

23.    Georgia

24.    Alabama

25.    Miami