| 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.)
The Bearcats missed an opportunity for a second signature win in as many weeks, but the voters can’t really punish them for coming up short in a tough road environment against America’s #16 team.
In Week 6 of the AP Poll, the Bearcats come in at #25 with 155 points.
The ‘Cats trail 9–0 USC, who garnered 158 points, but there’s a wide gulf between Cincinnati at #25 and Florida at #26. This basically tells us that the majority of pollsters agreed on the 25 best teams in the country, with the only variance being what order they’re placed in. I personally think UC has done more than USC, but I’m mostly just happy to remain ranked after a winless week. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Cincinnati is in a good position with a cupcake week coming up. Texas Southern and Fairleigh Dickinson loom next, followed by a game against an alright Marshall squad. If UC can go 3–0 over that stretch, they’ll probably sniff the Top 20 by the time conference play rolls around on December 28 with a road game at Temple.
Overall, the conference looks a bit better than I anticipated. The top is very thin — with UC being the clear-cut best AAC team — but there’s some nice depth. This is perfect, because it means the Bearcats will have a solid strength of schedule despite no apparent challenger in the conference title race. The 2016–17 conference slate is quickly shaping up to be a “take care of business” mission. The Breaking The Poll series might get really exciting.
Biggest UC fans:
Seth Davis, for moving the Bearcats from #16 to #18 in his poll, despite the 0–1 week. Graham Couch, for his unwavering confidence in the red and black, holding them steady at #16 in his latest poll. Tony Parks, for finally jumping on the Bearcats bandwagon. Last week, I mentioned that he was the only voter who hasn’t ranked the Bearcats. This week, despite the loss, he moved them to #22 on his ballot. I don’t understand it, but I’m happy. Doug Doughty, for punishing Xavier for being bad at basketball. He still hasn’t ranked the Bearcats since Week 3, but this week he became the first AP voter of the season to leave Xavier off of an AP Poll ballot. We applaud you, Doug.
Biggest UC hater:
Cormac Gordon, for inexplicably ignoring UC since Week 3, and inexplicably thinking Xavier is a Top 15 team. Out of every Cormac I know (the AP voter and author Cormac McCarthy) you are easily my least favorite.