| 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.)
The Bearcats stretched their perfect streak another seven days, and enter February as winners of 12-straight games, 21-straight in Clifton. The AP voters have taken notice, and placed the Red & Black at #14 in the latest AP poll — their highest ranking since March 2014. This week, every voter placed UC at #19 or higher, their best showing in the poll (in that regard) since the 2013–14 regular season.
Everything is clicking for the Bearcats, and it feels like America is finally taking notice. Cincinnati leapt five spots this week, matching their total progress from the previous five weeks combined.
For the first time this season, it feels like the Bearcats are where they should be. I want to see them continue to climb, but their current resume is that of a Top 15 team. Happy to see that’s where they’ve been placed.
Looking at the big picture, the Bearcats have now been ranked for 10 of 13 possible weeks. Again, the Cronin record is 14 of 19 weeks. If this team can stay above water for the remainder of the season, they’ll wind up at 16 of 19 weeks, the best for a UC team since the 2003–04 squad that was ranked for the entire season under Bob Huggins.
Around the AAC, the SMU Mustangs narrowly missed the poll, landing at #26 behind the trendy Northwestern Wildcats. It’s likely someone near the bottom of the poll will lose, so the Ponies likely just need to beat ECU and Tulsa this week to earn a spot in next week’s poll. That would be good for the Bearcats.
The Bearcats will continue to rise as others ahead of them inevitably fall to conference opponents. Just keep winning.
Biggest UC fan: This is going to turn into a Chris Dachille fan site. Chris ranked the Bearcats at #8 this week, the highest of any voter. He also acknowledged us on Twitter. You’re my hero, Chris.
Biggest UC hater: We meet again, Doug Doughty. Back in Week 5, Doug dropped the Bearcats from his ballot after four straight wins, including a road win over a ranked team. This week, the Bearcats went 2–0 with an impressive win over a ranked team and a 41-point blasting of South Florida. Naturally, Doug dropped the Bearcats from #17 to #18, punishing them for a big week while the rest of the voters worked to put UC in the Top 15. This is typically where I’d roast the remainder of Doug’s bracket, but it’s such a mess that I don’t know where to start. He seriously moved UC down to make room for four-loss Northwestern at #16.
Honorable mention goes to Dick Vitale for consistently targeting Cincinnati with his insane hatred. He has the Bearcats behind bane of my existence St. Mary’s (who has beaten nobody) and five-loss Florida. Dick is old and senile. Someone take his voting powers away.