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Evaluating the First AP Poll of 2019

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The first AP Poll is out, and there’s a few things we need to discuss.

Nebraska v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

A couple of weeks ago, we took a look at the first Coaches’ Poll of 2019, and had a few giggles at the votes and the likelihood that the coaches made their SIDs and grad assistants fill the ballots out in their stead.

Well, now the Associated Press poll is out, and these voters don’t get the benefit of the doubt. They get paid (much more than I do) to watch college football and be the arbiters of the sport. The AP poll carries more weight than the Coaches’ Poll, and is supposedly the end-all, be-all of the rankings, at least until the CFP starts.

Here’s the AP preseason poll:

And here are precisely six thoughts that I have about it.

IT’S THE SAME AS THE COACHES’ POLL

The Top 10 teams in the AP Poll are the exact same, in the same order, as the Coaches’ Poll. So the aspects that I like and the aspects that I disagree with are the same — the top three is perfect, Oklahoma is too high, and LSU is perfectly slotted at No. 6.

You’ve (hopefully) read my grievances by this point, and I’ve sang my praises for the coaches nailing most of the top 10. No sense dwelling on those topics here. But the consistency is worth noting, and it’s a sign that there’s a definitive Top 10 in college football heading into the season.

MICHIGAN STATE IS EVEN MORE OVERRATED

The Spartans checked in at No. 21 in the Coaches’ Poll, and that was ridiculous to me. So imagine my surprise when Michigan State was No. 18 in the AP Poll.

A 7-5 team does not deserve to be ahead of teams like Iowa, Iowa State and Syracuse. MSU seems to be getting by on the strength of reputation alone, and it’s a real disgrace. The Spartans are going to win games by some atrocious Big 10 scores like 10-7 and 17-10 in the early stages next year, and AP voters will rush to rank them in the Top 15.

I hope Tulsa beats the bejesus out of them Week 1.

UTAH STILL GETS NO RESPECT

I griped about this in the coaches’ poll recap too, but — why on earth is Oregon the Pac-12 favorite in the AP Poll? The Ducks were your average 9-4 team last season, lost to unranked Arizona 44-15 and weren’t ranked past Week 8. Now all of a sudden they’re the No. 11 team in the country?

Now, sure, you could make a similar argument for Utah. The Utes went 9-5 and lost to unranked Arizona State 38-20. But they finished the year ranked No. 20 and have oodles of returning production. I just don’t understand why the voters see them as third in their own conference.

IOWA STATE IS PROPERLY RANKED

The Cyclones were No. 24 in the Coaches’ Poll, behind teams like Syracuse and Washington State. The Orange and the Cougars are good, no doubt, but Iowa State has a chance to make the Big 12 Championship Game this year, and I don’t see either Syracuse or Wazzu making their conference championship games.

It’s time we all realize that Matt Campbell’s Cyclones are for real, much to the chagrin of the rest of the Big 12.

This also means that the Iowa-Iowa State game — lovingly christened “El Assico” by Spencer Hall — will feature two ranked teams! This is a sign that the universe is ending, and you should seek shelter immediately.

LOL, NEBRASKA

Oh, Cornhuskers. What on earth are you doing at No. 24?

Sure, Adrian Martinez might be Nebraska’s next great quarterback. And sure, Scott Frost has everyone dreaming of bigger things. But Nebraska went 4-8 last season! The Huskers lost to Troy, and beat Michigan State by the ungodly score of 9-6!

I just don’t see how the voters can justify ranking Nebraska in the preseason. If the Cornhuskers make a move early on and are 4-0 heading into the Ohio State game on Sept. 28, then fine, rank them. But putting them at No. 24 heading into the season is a head-scratcher of momentous proportions.

OKAY, WHO VOTED FOR USC?

Take a peek at the official AP site and note that in the “receiving votes” section, “Southern Cal” pops up at the tail end with one very sad vote.

That vote came from Chris Murray, listed as a member of the Reno Gazette-Journal but who now works for Nevada Sports Net, who put the Trojans at No. 25. Why did Murray rank USC? In his own words:

It wouldn’t be a preseason Top 25 if USC wasn’t overrated (only once in the last five seasons has USC finished higher in the final AP poll as it did in the preseason AP poll).

So basically, Murray voted for the Trojans as a bit.

I can’t help but respect it.