College Football Polls 2013: Comparing Week 2 AP and Coaches Polls

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2013

College Football Polls 2013: Comparing Week 2 AP and Coaches Polls

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    The Week 2 college football polls were released on Tuesday, and unlike the preseason editions, there was much disagreement between the AP and Coaches'.

    Entering Week 1, the exact same 25 teams were ranked in both, but now that number has moved to 24. There also used to be just six teams ranked in different spots, but this week, 17 teams differed between the two polls.

    AP voters and coaches, as you'll see throughout the comparison, value wildly different things in their respective polls. One is much more amenable to change, while the other thinks a team should be beaten before it drops.

    But how long can that last?

Nos. 25-21

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    AP PollUSCTCUBaylorNebraskaWisconsin
    Coaches PollMiami*TCU*WashingtonUSCWisconsin


    In a common theme throughout the Top 25, media voters were far less hostile to change than the coaches. That is, writers put more stock into Week 1 performance than preconceived echelon.

    The biggest discrepancies in this section can be explained by that token. Washington, which might have been the weekend's most impressive team, moved from unranked to No. 23 in the Coaches Poll, but the AP moved it all the way up to No. 19.

    Same goes for USC and Nebraska, two of the week's more underwhelming winners, who each took a step back in the AP poll. But in the coaches poll, USC actually moved up after its 30-13 win against Hawaii, and Nebraska still finished in the top 20.

    Lastly, as each poll dropped just two teams (Boise State and Oregon State) from the rankings, each only added two new faces. Both included Washington, but the AP chose Baylor and ranked Miami No. 26, while the coaches chose Miami and ranked Baylor No. 26.

    *Miami and TCU were tied at No. 24 in the Coaches Poll

Nos. 20-16

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    AP PollWashingtonNorthwesternUCLAMichiganOklahoma
    Coaches PollNorthwesternNebraska UCLAMichiganTexas 


    The top half of this section bleeds over from the last. Washington was rewarded with a No. 20 ranking by the AP, who pushed Nebraska down to No. 22.

    The coaches poll, for some reason, still puts Nebraska at No. 19, while Washington remains in the back fifth. It also has the Huskers above fellow Big Ten team Northwestern, which traveled to a different timezone and spoiled Sonny Dykes' debut at Cal.

    UCLA and Michigan are even in both polls, but AP voters and coaches disagree on the Red River duo. Texas, which started the week No. 15 in both, was leapfrogged by Oklahoma in the coaches' but stood pat in the AP poll.


Nos. 15-11

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    AP PollTexasNotre Dame Oklahoma StateFlorida Georgia
    Coaches PollOklahomaOklahoma StateNotre Dame GeorgiaLSU 


    Much like Oklahoma and Texas, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State are inverted in each poll. AP voters prefer the Cowboys, fresh off a 21-3 win over Mississippi State, to the Irish, while coaches still prefer the latter. But Notre Dame is still down from No. 11 in the preseason coaches poll.

    Things get interesting around No. 12, though, where three SEC powerhouses occupy four possible spots. Georgia's loss to Clemson dropped it out of both top 10s, but the AP ranked it one spot higher than the coaches.

    More curious is the inclusion of Florida and LSU, both of whom impressed in Week 1 with respective wins over Toledo and TCU. Florida began the week at No. 10 in both polls, but the AP a) still values Georgia higher than it and b) was impressed enough with LSU and Florida State to put them above the Gators.

    The coaches were not so eager to change.

Nos. 10-6

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    AP PollFlorida StateLSULouisvilleTexas A&MSouth Carolina
    Coaches PollFlorida StateFloridaLouisvilleTexas A&MSouth Carolina


    Four of the five spots between 10 and six are identical, occupied by consensus No. 10 Florida State, No. 8 Louisville, No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 6 South Carolina.

    The only difference harks back to the previous section, where AP voters had Florida all the way down at No. 12 and coaches had LSU at No. 11. As usual with the Week 2 polls, media types value a quality Week 1 win more than coaches do.

Nos. 5-1

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    AP PollStanfordClemsonOhio StateOregonAlabama
    Coaches PollClemsonStanfordOregonOhio StateAlabama


    Alabama predictably graced the top spot in each poll, but beyond that, the top five was colored by two important differences.

    First things first. Clemson's huge 38-35 win over Georgia vaulted it up both rankings, from a consensus No. 8 spot to the top five of each. But the AP moved it ahead of idle Stanford, while the coaches still preferred the 0-0 Cardinal to the 1-0 Tigers.

    Past that, the coaches opted to stick with their original top three, leaving Ohio State at No. 2 after an up-and-down performance against Buffalo. The Buckeyes looked good in spots but were habitually shaky in others, enough so that AP voters moved Oregon ahead of them.

    Once again, in what might be a season-long trend, the media poll is typically meritocratic—a direct reflection of what happens on the field. The coaches are far less keen on admitting flawed projections.