College Football - How to Ferret Out Which Teams Are Rising and Falling in the Polls

Many sports fans who anxiously await the release of the weekly football polls really miss one of the best parts of the poll when searching only to see where their favorite is ranked.

Many newspapers and online services do not give the total results of the polling, they only list the Top 25 picks for the week. You have to dig a little deeper to discover which teams received votes but not enough votes to make it into the Top 25. Look at the bottom of the poll results for this entry in small print Others Receiving Votes.

In Tuesday's AP Poll (9-11-07) it showed these entries South Florida 220, Missouri 144, Alabama 116, Washington 95, Arizona State 28, Appalachian State 19, Cincinnati 12, and Kansas 1. All of these teams started their season by winning their first two games, many times impressively.

I am ignoring five other teams which garnered votes in the AP Poll to make a point. These five were TCU 66, Auburn 23, Florida State 2, Iowa 1 and Purdue 1. Iowa and Purdue are 2-0 but have not won as impressively and the others are 1-1.

USC (Southern California) is No. 1 in the AP Poll with a 1-0 record and 1594 total points. Texas A&M is No. 25 with 243 points. Sportswriters cast ballots giving their 1st place pick 25 points and their 25th pick 1 point.

Notice that Texas A&M had 243 points, and South Florida which did not make it into the Top 25, had 220 points, only 23 points behind. Had South Florida gotten 24 more points, the Bulls (their nickname) would have been No. 25.

If the Top 25 this week had instead been the Top 36, then South Florida would have been No. 26, Missouri No. 27, Alabama No. 28, Washington No. 29, Arizona State No. 31, Appalachian State No. 33, Cincinnati No. 34, and Kansas No. 36. This information is significant to fans like me because of my interest level. One game I play every week is to discern which teams are rising and which teams are falling in the polls.

While many of our wives, sweethearts and significant others may find this activity to be terribly boring, it is a habit that is far superior to other habits such as drinking, drugging, sleeping around, lying, cheating and stealing. This is why I feel no need to justify, apologize or defend myself in this practice.

Those following my College Football 2007 weekly reports during the first two weeks of the season know that I have already been spot on in identifying teams rising and falling. Before the polls were even out, I correctly identified South Florida, Alabama, Washington, Arizona State, Cincinnati and Kansas as teams on the rise.

I correctly identified these teams as falling in the polls Michigan (No. 5 to out of the Top 25), Florida State (No. 19 to out of the Top 25), Boise State (No. 22 to out of the Top 25), Auburn (No. 17 to out of the Top 25), Georgia (No. 11 to No. 23), Wisconsin (No. 5 to No. 7), Hawaii (No. 20 to No. 24) and Texas A&M (No. 23 to No. 25).

The two most overrated teams among those slipping are Wisconsin and Hawaii. Why Hawaii and Texas A&M are still in the polls is beyond me.

One or more of the Top 25 teams will lose this weekend, just as Michigan, Florida State, Boise State, Georgia and Auburn have already been ranked in the Top 25 and lost during the first two weeks of the season. Let me predict that Alabama, Washington, Michigan State, South Florida and Arizona State will all be ranked among the Top 25 in the AP Poll before the season is over.

I would also note that in the Coaches Poll, South Florida, Washington, Alabama, Arizona State and Cincinnati did not make the Top 25 but did receive points. Heck, in the Coaches Poll, even the Wyoming Cowboys-who I love because they are tough to beat at home-received points.

Receiving points in the Coaches Poll with 2-0 records were Missouri, Texas Tech, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland and Purdue. I have not identified any of these teams as on the rise because they have not played good teams or won impressively. Keep your eye on Alabama, Michigan State and Arizona State because they all have first-year coaches in Nick Saban (the Crimson Tide), Mark Dantonio (the Spartans) and Dennis Erickson (the Sun Devils). These three coaches are excellent and all come from great teams with winning traditions.

Erickson's offensive savvy is so good he could probably make a winning player out of a blind mole in the Arizona desert.

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

Ed Bagley's Blog Publishes Original Articles with Analysis and Commentary on 5 Subjects Sports, Movie Reviews, Lessons in Life, Jobs and Careers, and Internet Marketing. My intention is to inform, educate, delight and motivate you the reader.

Read my articles on How to Predict When Teams Are Overrated and Due for an Unexpected Loss, The Sagarin Ratings What They Are, How to Read Them and What to Do With Them and my 14 consecutive weekly wrap-up articles on the 2007 College Football Season.