The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Michigan and the AP 25

Posted by disappointmentzone on 4 September 2007

Dave Birkett is a sportswriter for the Oakland (MI) Press. (1) He is also one of 65 media members with a vote in the Associated Press Top 25 College Football Poll.

In his preseason poll he listed Michigan #2, higher than any other media member.

Since Birkett covers UM football professionally he has a vested interest in voting Michigan high in his ballot. Not only does it keep him in the good graces of everyone in Ann Arbor, but the higher Michigan’s profile is the more clout he has professionally. It would be a boon to his career to cover a BCS champion — certainly more prestigious than covering the champion of D1-AA (although maybe not this week). Voting Michigan higher than anyone else in the country is a logical move if Mr. Birkett is considering only his interests, which makes it hard to have faith in the integrity of his vote.

Then Michigan loses to Appalachian State — didn’t you hear? — and the question on everyone’s mind is will Michigan will fall out of the top 25 or will voters be slaves to their own preseason guesses and have the audacity to keep Michigan in the top 25 when nothing the team has done this season warrants it.

That’s where Dave Birkett comes in. He provides a nice little case study for the integrity of the AP poll. If Mr. Birkett cannot be trusted to rank Michigan fairly then what trust should the public place in any of the AP voters? Consequently, what trust should be placed in the sum total of their votes, the AP Top 25?

So where did Mr. Birkett rank Michigan this week?

Unranked.

Kudos, Mr. Birkett.

So if the guy from Michigan didn’t even put Michigan on his ballot then where did Michigan rank overall in the AP Top 25?

Unranked.

Kudos, AP voters.

This is the first time in history a team has dropped from the top five to unranked in the span of a week.

Michigan fell into that catch-all “others receiving votes” category, with 39 points, tied with South Carolina and just ahead of Florida State. The AP has yet to release the ballots for the individual voters so there is nothing to report yet on which voters are the ones still ranking Michigan in the top 25. But it will be interesting to see which voters kept Michigan ranked.

Ohio State, meanwhile, fell from #11 to #12. OSU is #11 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll, which counts towards the BCS.

fn 1: He also blogs here and can be emailed here.
fn 2: Ohio media outlets have three voters: Matt McCoy, Doug Lesmerises, and Kirk Herbstreit. Herbstreit voted OSU 14, Lesmerises 15, and McCoy 16. All voted OSU much lower than most people. Nonpartisan objectivity is just one more area where Ohio is superior to Michigan, I guess.

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