|If polls, indeed, are all about creating controversy and getting people to talk about who’s ranked how high, then the Associated Press high school football poll has achieved its goals.
The new organization’s first ranking of the 2012 gridiron season in Tennessee was released last week.
To put it mildly, the AP poll left me wondering if some voting members even bothered to look at results of the first two weeks of action.
First, let me preface the poll’s shortcomings by saying that I fully understand that all polls are simply the opinion of the voters.
Coaches will be the first to tell you they don’t put a lot of confidence in such things – whether it’s the AP poll, my weekly Top 5 or other rankings that can be found in various papers and websites. Determining the best teams is decided on the field, not in the polls.
I understand, too, that voters in certain areas of the state tend to vote for teams in their own back yards. But therein lies the problem with statewide polls. How can a voter in Kingsport know about Riverdale or Whitehaven when he never sees a team outside the eastern part of the state until the playoffs?
But even with that said, last week’s initial AP poll brought a smile to my face more than once as I poured over the rankings. Not only were the records of four teams reported incorrectly, I had other questions.
6A – How could Dobyns Bennett be ranked third? The Indians have posted five perfect 10-0 regular season records in the last 10 years. But it’s been eight years since D-B has gotten past the second round of the playoffs.
5A – After losing to Beech, 55-41, how could Henry County still garner two first place votes? Henry County’s only win in its first two games was over Liberty, a 4A team that lost its first two games. How could Ridgeway be ranked fifth? In their first two games, the Roadrunners had just one win and it came as a forfeit against White Station. How could Knoxville West be the best team in 5A with a one-point win over 4A Fulton and another win over 3A Austin East?
3A – Fairview was ranked sixth while Cheatham County was ranked tenth. Unless the score was reported incorrectly, Cheatham County beat Fairview in Week Zero. How could the 2-0 Cubs be ranked four slots lower than a team they beat in the season opener?
Division II – Louisville Trinity, Kentucky’s top ranked team that was ranked second nationally in one poll last week, beat Brentwood Academy, 52-23, in its opener, then topped MBA, 27-23 the following week. Using Trinity as a measuring stick, how can Brentwood Academy be ranked third in Tennessee’s Division II poll and M.B.A. ranked eighth? MP
Murphy Fair has published “Tennessee High School Football” for 25 years. His syndicated radio show, Murphy’s Matchups, can be heard Monday evenings at 8 o’clock on WGNS, AM-1450 & FM 100.5.