College Football Polls 2013: Analyzing Week 7 AP and Coaches Polls

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2013

College Football Polls 2013: Analyzing Week 7 AP and Coaches Polls

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    Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

    After a wild week of college football, which almost saw (but didn't see) a number of upsets in the top six, the Week 7 versions of the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls were released on Sunday afternoon.

    Ohio State, Stanford and Georgia were all tested, and even though each was able to eke out a win, their performances still warranted close review from voters.

    That's especially true since, behind them, teams like Florida State made loud-and-clear statements with blowout wins against conference opponents.

    Let's take a look at the rankings.

Nos. 25-21

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    Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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    AP PollMissouri Va. TechN. IllinoisOklahoma St.Fresno St. 
    Coaches PollVa. TechNebraskaN. IllinoisFresno St.Texas Tech

     

    Good on the voters for putting Virginia Tech in both polls. The Hokies have beaten decent opponents, Georgia Tech and North Carolina, in consecutive weeks and might well have a top-three defense in America.

    The Logan Thomas era will never be pretty in Blacksburg, but unlike last year's version, this team pulls out wins. Going 5-1 with a misleadingly lopsided loss to No. 1 Alabama isn't far different from being undefeated.

    Also, good job by the AP for (finally) recognizing how well Gary Pinkel's Missouri team has been playing.

    The Tigers weren't as bad as last year's record indicated, and with them now sitting 5-0 with an SEC road win (over Vandy) under their belt, it's hard to justify thinking poorly of them.

    That being said, a lot more will be learned about Mizzou in Georgia next Saturday.

    One last interesting note: AP voters are much more sour on Oklahoma State, which took care of business—but barely—at home against Kansas State. How much of that had to do with Baylor's dismantling of West Virginia?

    That made the Cowboys' loss look awfully bad by comparison.

Nos. 20-16

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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    AP PollTexas TechNorthwesternMichiganFloridaWashington
    Coaches PollOklahoma St.WashingtonNorthwesternFloridaMichigan

     

    The coaches think better of the Big Ten than the AP does, voting both Michigan and Northwestern higher than their media counterpart.

    Why is that important? The coaches poll—not the AP—is the one that factors into the BCS rankings. And the higher ranked Ohio State's opponents are in the coaches poll, the better chance it stands of making the national championship game.

    The AP, meanwhile, still prefers Washington to Michigan and Northwestern, which is honestly hard to argue with after Saturday.

    Assuming Ohio State and Stanford are (roughly) even, the Huskies were surely more impressive than the Wildcats. Both lost in similarly close fashions, but UW did it on the road while Northwestern did it at home.

    Washington would be favored over the Wildcats on a neutral field, right? Then it should probably be ranked higher.

Nos. 15-11

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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    AP PollBaylorS. CarolinaMiamiOklahomaUCLA
    Coaches PollBaylorMiamiUCLAS. CarolinaLSU

     

    Baylor is a consensus at No. 15, but beyond that, the next five teams spark nothing but debate.

    If you combine their points between the two polls, here is how Miami, South Carolina, UCLA, Oklahoma and LSU stack up with each other:

    TeamPointsAvg. Rank
    Miami1,52713.5
    S. Carolina1,59713.0
    UCLA1,65112.0
    Oklahoma1,78311.0
    LSU1,94610.5

    That's much easier to look at and provides a much more comprehensive view of how those teams stack up. But it also brings up some questions.

    Why are coaches still so high on South Carolina? What, exactly, have they shown the past couple of weeks? And why are they still low on UCLA?

    Was LSU punished for losing to Georgia one week before Georgia almost lost to Tennessee? Because the Dawgs who hosted LSU in Week 5 were not the same Dawgs we saw on Saturday.

    This section is kind of a mess.

Nos. 10-6

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    Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
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    AP PollLSUTexas A&MLouisvilleGeorgiaFlorida St.
    Coaches PollOklahomaTexas A&MLouisvilleGeorgiaFlorida St.

     

    That's more like it. Other than the LSU-Oklahoma disagreement explained on the previous slide, this section is all consensus.

    But that doesn't mean it's uninteresting.

    Florida State jumped two spots after "pantsing" Maryland on national TV, riding a 63-0 win all the way up to No. 6 in the rankings.

    For the first time this season, only one SEC team places in America's top six. That's scary for Southeastern Conference loyalists since both the Pac-12 and ACC have double that number at two.

    It doesn't feel undeserved, though. Georgia was lucky to get out of Knoxville with a win against Tennessee, which almost lost to South Alabama on that very same field.

    Injuries played a big part in that and Aaron Murray was awesome, but ask yourself: Who would win on a neutral field right now: UGA or FSU?

    My money would be on the latter.

Nos. 5-1

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    Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
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    AP PollStanfordOhio StateClemsonOregon (5)Alabama (55)
    Coaches PollStanfordClemson (1)Ohio StateOregon (4)Alabama (57)

     

    At this rate, by Week 27, Oregon and Alabama will be tied in first-place votes!

    The Ducks stole another one from the Tide this week after both teams rolled over inferior opponents. Oregon's doormat, though, was a decent Pac-12 team in Colorado.

    'Bama's was Georgia State.

    Meanwhile, there was a little bit of controversy between OSU and Clemson. The coaches poll originally published a tie, but that was quickly corrected to reflect Ohio State remaining at No. 3.

    Which is fair, I think. Ohio State shouldn't be punished for winning (and covering!) a nail-biter in Evanston. It didn't look like a powerhouse, sure, but Northwestern is a legitimate Top 20 team and the Wildcats played their tails off.

    Were people really that much more impressed with a road win at Syracuse—a team that lost at home to woeful Penn State in Week 1?

    My (theoretical) ballot has Clemson down at No. 5.