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. Last week’s entry is here. (This series is made possible by College Poll Tracker.)
The climb continues for Cincinnati.
After receiving 10 points from two voters last week, they snuck in at #38 in the Week 5 AP Poll. On Saturday, the ‘Cats bowled over what’s probably the worst team in the country by a final score of 49-7. I didn’t expect to see much of a move up the rankings, but I guess voters like to see quantity even when the quality isn’t there yet.
This week, the Bearcats are sitting at #29 with 35 points from 11 total votes. For those keeping track at home, this is the highest UC has climbed in the rankings since they hit #21 after starting the 2012 season 5-0.
As I mentioned last week, Cincinnati (understandably) started sub-100 in SB Nation’s preseason ranking. After all, this is an AAC team coming off back-to-back four-win seasons and looking at competing as one of the youngest teams in the country. Today is October 1st and this is officially a top-30 team with two voters even putting Cincinnati in their Top 20. It’s amazing.
For the second week in a row, Cincinnati’s biggest fan is The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley, who again has UC at #19. He’s joined in the Top 20 by Conor O’Neill of the Winston-Salem Journal, who has the ‘Cats at #20, up three spots from his Week 5 vote.
All in, the Bearcats are in good shape. If you know anything about the AP Poll and how it works, you know it’s better to get the widest pool of voters on your side possible, regardless of where they place UC. The ‘Cats are officially on the radar of 11 voters, which is something they haven’t been able to say since 2012.
I was going to put this in my ‘Two Cents & Sense’ piece, but …
Isn’t it funny how many times this season we’ve been able to say “Best since 2012” or “First time since 2012” or “Most since 2012”? I’m aware many of these benchmarks are the product of a lucky break in the schedule, but it’s funny how quickly this team has blown past many Tuberville Era marks.
Cincinnati’s opponent this weekend is a Tulane Green Wave team that I feel is better than their record indicates. Tulane has been like this for a few years since hiring Willie Fritz and his hell-raising brand of triple-option offense. While Tulane hasn’t quite turned it into consistent success on the field, this offense is extremely frustrating to play against and occasionally results in teams getting snake-bit. The Wave got to Memphis for nearly 500 yards on Friday.
What I’m saying is, this weekend may be UC’s toughest challenge yet, and a win to go 6-0 could very well land them back in the Top 25. However, it will probably take some help, because there’s a fairly significant gap in points between Cincinnati and the teams at #26-28.
Beat Tulane, because punching a bowl ticket is fun even if the Top 25 parade is delayed.