| 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 breaks down the AP voters and dissects why the Bearcats are ranked where they are. (This series is made possible by College Poll Tracker.)
Oh boy. This is frustrating. Week 10 of the AP Poll has been released and the Bearcats hold court at #22. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t complain about being ranked. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I was genuinely ticked off at where UC was placed. It doesn’t truly matter and any number next to “Cincinnati” is appreciated. This week, however…
Here’s the thing: The Bearcats played just one game this week. I get that. Nobody directly ahead of them lost, aside from Virginia Tech. I get that. Notre Dame came from directly behind UC with two solid wins. I get that. Nobody is going to shoot up the rankings in January with a win in Houston. I get that. We’re still ranked #22. I get that.
Those things are all annoying, but they’re facts that I can handle. I expected the Bearcats to be ranked #21 this week. I wasn’t going to be thrilled, but I would’ve happily accepted the small step forward.
Instead, what sets me off about UC’s current place is their number of votes compared to last week. The Bearcats actually lost ground. Obviously they’re still at #22, but their total votes slipped from 258 to 256. It’s a virtually meaningless drop, but the principle of it is maddening.
To make matters worse, all of this comes on top of the fact that every computer poll that has analyzed UC’s resume has them ranked Top 20 at the very least, if not Top 15. Yet the AP Poll has the ‘Cats way down at #22 and moving in the opposite direction. Incredibly frustrating.
Not all is lost. As I mentioned last week, it’s better to be ranked #22 as a result of everyone in America thinking you should be ranked #22 rather than being ranked #22 because a few people are really high on you and the rest are ignoring you. More than a third of the AP voting body placed the Bearcats 22nd, which at least means the ‘Cats have everyone’s attention, even if they don’t yet have their respect.
Biggest UC fan: Chris Dachille (WBAL Baltimore) for ranking the Bearcats at #18 last week and holding them there this week. He’s high on the Bearcats and hasn’t wavered. That’s all I can ask. Shout out to Chris.
Biggest UC hater: Marcus Fuller (St. Paul Pioneer Press) for moving the Bearcats from #20 in his Week 9 ballot to unranked this week. I wasn’t sure it was possible to plummet in the rankings after cruising to a road win against a KenPom Top 40 team, but Marcus felt the Bearcats did exactly that. St. Mary’s (no marquee wins) is #21, his hometown Gophers (KenPom 31) are #23, USC (KenPom 51) is #24, and South Carolina (three losses) is #25. I guess there’s no room for the Bearcats (KenPom 16) with these kinds of powerhouses in the polls. I guess UC needs to head into this week with the mission of losing to teams like Memphis, Clemson, Cal, or UT-Arlington. Programs with losses to those teams passed UC on Marcus’ ballot this week, so we should try doing that.
Fortunately his Twitter game is strong. Wait…