An anonymous commenter (I'd give your blog a shout out, but you didn't leave a link!) on our blog alerted me to a glaring error in one AP voter's ballot for this week. While I'm not really all that wrapped up with rankings in general, what pisses me off the most is the fact that there is ZERO excuse for the voters missing this last game. It was a 3:30 Eastern kickoff, televised regionally on abc, but readily available outside the western region, and it featured the only match up on Saturday that had ranked opponents playing each other...not to mention all the national coverage the game got via ESPN. Yet there are clearly some pollsters out there that aren't doing their freaking jobs by any stretch of the imagination. Yeah, the polls are mostly garbage, and they aren't the fairest way of determining a national champion. But Bear fans know all too well the effects of shady pollsters. Hopefully these people learn how to properly do their jobs and this type of post won't have to be a regular thing...but here's a list of voting irregularities that I've found...(As a caveat, I couldn't find the records of the previous week's votes, so I don't know for sure how long these idiots have been undervaluing Cal.)
Congratulations Bret Bloomquist of the El Paso (TX) Times. You're the clear winner of the "most incompetent voter" award. This genius cares so much about the quality of his reporting that he placed Cal @ #13 and Oregon @ #5. Either Mr. Bloomquist can't read a box score or a headline, doesn't know the difference between 13 & 3, or mixed up Cal & oregon's positions on his ballot. While the most likely answer is the last one, putting south florida @ #3 and ohio state above (Cal/Oregon) @ #5 is laughable as well.
Granted south florida pulled two big upsets so far this season, but the win at auburn didn't really shock that many and Friday's win over west virginia took place @ home (and WVU lost their starting QB during the second quarter). Again, I don't know where Mr. Bloomquist had south florida before this weekend, but I highly doubt that it was above where Cal was...even with all the losses in the top 10, I don't see south florida jumping above the #5 spot where it seemed he meant to place Cal.
As far as putting ohio state above Cal, there might be at least some justification for this vote...but that justification is based solely on the program prestige that ohio state enjoys. Based on what's transpired this season, there's absolutely no logical reason for voting ohio state over Cal. To illustrate, ohio state has victories over: Youngstown State(Div IAA...screw the new designation), 2 win Akron Zips, @ 2 win Washington Huskies, 2 win Northwestern, and @ 1 win Minnesota. Cal's victories over tennessee (then ranked # 15) at home, and #11 oregon @ oregon should alone be worth more than all of ohio state's wins combined. Even if you see the victory over Tennessee as a win over an unranked team (even though their only two losses came to Cal and florida), these facts remain unchanged...ohio state hasn't even played a ranked opponent...and the total wins of their BCS conference opponents is 5, whereas Cal's BCS conference opponents total 8 wins.
Incompetent #2 (3 tied):
Rodney McKissic of the Buffalo (NY) News (GO SEE ABOUT HIM MARSHAWN!) rates Cal as the #5 team in the nation behind wisconsin @ # 3 and ohio state @ #4. Not trying to be flippant, but what in the world is this guy smoking...seriously!? wisconsin has been even more unimpressive than ohio state. Not only have they played absolute nobodies (until this past game when they HOSTED michigan state (and barely won). But along with texas, wisconsin has been the most vastly overrated team in the nation. Their lone blowout (over 2 win washington state) was actually a 7 point game heading into the fourth quarter. Their average margin of victory over the likes of mighty unlv, citadel, iowa, and michigan state (ALL UNRANKED)...Seven lousy points! Cal might have had less than impressive wins over some bad teams, but they still were winning by more than a freakin touchdown, and oh yeah, they've beaten two ranked teams Mr. McKissic! Do your research please.
Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle and Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News. Ok, so these two only placed ohio state at #3 above Cal @ #4. But what really draws my ire is that these are west coast guys! Maybe they're just bitter because they work for terrible publications...maybe Ratto's surname comes from the rat and he's just trying uphold his family's reputation. Or maybe Ray "head up my ass" Ratto has a lover amongst the tree dwelers.
In the words of the great Johnny Drama "that's great, zero stars in my own hometown paper!?" What the hell Ratto, West Coast teams have a hard enough time with the rest of the idiots around the nation. Were you too busy wetting your pants in anticipation of the furd's next loss you jackass?!?!
I'm getting carried away here, but you all get the point...the logical arguments against ohio state being ranked above cal are in the section for incompetent #1...so no, I'm not just bashing them for not being homers.
Incompetent Honorable Mention (I've got my eye on you fools):
Chuck Banning of The Day of New London (CT)
Eric Hansen of the South Bend (IN) Tribune
Tom Keegan of the Lawrence (KN) Journal
Glenn Guilbeau of the Gannett Louisiana
Dave Birkett of the Oakland (MI) Press
Jon Giglio of the Raleigh News & Observer
Austin Ward of the Capser (WY) Star-Tribune
These voters were only guilty of putting ohio state at #3 and Cal at #4. I know that the list isn't extensive, and they might have always had ohio state above Cal...But I still can't see a logical reason for keeping ohio state above Cal after this weekend. And the fact that there are still 7 (11 total) writers that aren't giving Cal the proper respect is highly annoying (and it makes your betrayal all that more ignominious Ratto).
An Outlier shows Cal some love:
Joseph Hawk of the Las Vegas Review-Journal ranked Cal at #2 behind only lsu. As outrageous as this might seem to usc fans, based upon the results of the season thus far, Mr. Hawk's rankings are very legitimate.
All that being said, I again reiterate that the Polls are really more for fun than anything else at this point in the season...and the AP poll won't have an effect on the BCS standings or a Rose Bowl berth. But for a poll that deliberately split itself off from the BCS because it found the latter to be far too politically biased and untrustworthy, voters like these need to take a long hard look in the mirror. I think the only reason I'm coming down so hard on these AP guys is that my innermost hope is for a Cal Rose Bowl victory over an undefeated ohio state and an AP National Championship (knock on wood)...so don't screw it up!