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. Week 8’s entry is here. (This series is made possible by College Poll Tracker.)
The Bearcats’ win in Dallas has them trending back in the right direction in this week’s AP Poll, moving from #35 to #30.
Truthfully, I expected the chaos in the Top 25 to benefit the ‘Cats more than it did, and I predicted high 20s. Regardless, I think #30 is pretty fair, considering the schedule UC has played. With a winnable game next week, I expect Cincinnati to be flirting with the Top 25 again if they can beat Navy.
USF plays a middling Tulane team at home before coming to Nippert on November 10. With any luck, that game will feature a pair of 8-1 teams on the fringes of the poll, with the winner keeping AAC title hopes alive. I miss big November games at Nippert. We may have another one coming for the first time since 2013.
UC’s 45 points put them just behind Michigan State at the tail end of a group of teams on the outside looking in. #26 Washington has 120 points, putting them head and shoulders above the pack of the unranked.
Also, because of the aforementioned terrible schedule, Cincinnati finds itself behind a handful of 3-loss teams, which is frustrating. You don’t get the benefit of the doubt playing in the AAC.
Biggest UC Fan
Aaron McMann of Ann Arbor’s MLive is UC’s biggest supporter, on average. He’s their second-highest vote this week, placing them at #18 on his Week 10 ballot. He was one of just three voters to rank UC after last week’s overtime loss to Temple. He’s had the ‘Cats in his Top 20 in three of the last four weeks.
Honorable Mention: Jim Alexander of The Press-Enterprise. He does have UC’s highest vote this week (#17), but he’s generally ranked UC lower than McMann this season.
Biggest UC Hater
This type of stuff always baffles me. Mike Barber tied with McMann for UC’s highest vote last week—#23. The Bearcats went on the road and beat SMU as just two teams ranked between #15 and #25 won. UC was in position to move way up on his ballot. Instead, the Bearcat victory knocked UC out of his Top 25 entirely, and he elected to rank Stanford (losers of three of their last four), San Diego State (two losses; just lost to Nevada), and Winsconsin (lost two of their last three; just got killed by Northwestern).
Michigan State has three losses and is ranked #29 in the poll this week, yet Barber has them at #17 on his ballot. And 7-1 Cincinnati dropped out after a win.
The AP Poll, man. Gotta love it.