Breaking The Poll: Week 4



N.C. Brown

| The News Record)

As if the AP Poll itself wasn’t meaningless enough, there is actually a story behind the story. There’s a tiny number next to teams in the Top 25, but there are a ton of little things going on behind that number. Breaking the Poll is a series that will break down AP voters and dissect why the Bearcats are ranked where they are. (This series is made possible by College Poll Tracker.)

After a shaky win against Samford and a cruise past Lipscomb, the Bearcats easily escaped Week 3. They didn’t rejoin the AP Top 25, which isn’t a total surprise, but they still had a very good week with the voters.

The ‘Cats received 49 points in the Week 4 AP Poll, good for #28 overall, an improvement by 10 points and two spots over last week.

Weeks like this is what Breaking The Poll was made for. It seems like a very minor improvement after a very minor week. However, a closer look reveals how much they improved their AP Poll standing.

Last week, I wrote that UC got into the Top 25 with 39 voters on their side and fell out when their support dropped to just 13 voters a week ago. While it’s only worth 10 points, they picked up nine more voters after less-than-convincing wins over two bad teams. It’s certainly more than I expected, and their “AP Poll support base” now sits at 22 voters. By comparison, they had just 24 in the preseason poll.

Of course, none of this matters too much, because the Bearcats have just one game this week, and it’s a road tilt against the #19 Iowa State Cyclones in Hilton Coliseum. For those unfamiliar, the place is famously large and famously loud. This is going to be a tough game Thursday at 9 PM. If the Bearcats can pull it off, it will be a huge boon for their tournament resume, much less their poll standing.

Biggest UC fan: David Cloninger (The State) for moving the Bearcats from unranked to #22, their second-highest vote, in his Week 4 poll. Honorable mention to Mark Berman (The Roanoke Times) for giving UC its highest vote for the second straight week.

Biggest UC hater: Graham Couch (Lansing State Journal) moved the Bearcats from #21 to unranked after a 2–0 week, and Doug Doughty (The Roanoke Times) moved UC from #22 to unranked. I’ll cut Couch some slack, because he also (inexplicably) ranked Xavier #17, ten spots below their actual ranking. (Doughty, on the other hand, is out of his mind. He has the undefeated Buckeyes at #17, which is outrageous. OSU’s best win is a narrow home victory over 4–2 Providence. They have convincing wins over Marshall, Jackson State, and Western Carolina. They nearly lost to Navy and North Carolina Central. The Buckeyes have played nobody and have scarcely looked impressive while doing it. Ranking them 17th is preposterous. End rant.)