The Monday After: Kansas serves as perfect test case to expose flaws in AP Top 25 voting process

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The Kansas Jayhawks are a good football team. They shouldn’t be, but they are. I’ve been yelling this from the top of a mountain for weeks now, but few people are listening to me, including the top 25 AP voters.

Kansas defeated the previously undefeated Duke 35-27 on Saturday and improved to 4-0 to give the Jayhawks two wins over the Power Five (the other being West Virginia). They also beat Houston on the road, so few of them can claim the same resume. In fact, of the remaining 21 undefeated teams, only 12 (including Kansas) have won two victories against their Power Five rivals. Of those 12 teams, only three also won two road games: Kansas, USC, and Penn State.

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USC is #6 on the AP Top 25 this week. Penn State #11. Kansas? Kansas gets votes. Once again, the Kansas are a good football team, but they shouldn’t be, and that’s the point. should be the part that brings them here. Jayhawks is a great test case to show some of the shortcomings of the poll voting process.

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I won’t argue about how voters should write their ballots. Some emphasize how they think the team will move forward and where it will finish (predictive polling), while other voters are more reactive to what they saw (reactive). Some use a mixture of the two methods. There is no wrong approach, because polls are opinion polls, not facts. The problem is that too many voters don’t reevaluate weekly. It’s not really their fault because voters have deadlines to turn in their ballot and it’s hard to do their job on Saturday only to turn around and evaluate the whole country before mailing their ballot on Sunday morning.

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This results in a kind of sliding scale. Team win? Move them! Is the team losing? Move them down or maybe remove them completely. Then, after evaluating the teams that were on your ballot last week, count the holes, see who else had a big win this weekend, and fill in the gaps with their names. Bang, you have a ballot.

That’s why USC and Penn State are in the rankings, but Kansas is not. However, Penn State is another great example of how expectations and biases affect the process. USC started the season ranked 14th in the AP preseason poll and has risen with every win. The state of Pennsylvania did not make it into the rankings, but received votes – like Kansas currently does.

But Penn State has been good before and will probably be good again. So when he wins games, voters think he’s good and put him on their ballot. Thus, the Nittany Lions go from 29th in the preseason to 11th after a 4-0 start. Kansas isn’t supposed to be good. The Jayhawks haven’t finished a season with a winning record since 2008 and haven’t appeared in the AP polls since 2009. So when the Jayhawks start their season like the Pennsylvania, it’s not enough. They have to prove even more.

This drives me crazy, because if you take a Kansas resume and stick the Penn State logo on it, or an SEC team like Ole Miss (who currently has a weaker overall resume than Kansas and is ranked 14th), This is a top 15 team. at worst. But Kansas doesn’t have those logos. It has the Kansas logo, and that’s not enough for voters who don’t have time to do the necessary research.

Don’t worry because I did the research for you. Believe me, I understand the skepticism around the Jayhawks, but it’s no coincidence that they are 4-0. In fact, the four wins they’ve already won give them more wins in a single season than they’ve had since 2009. If they win any of the eight remaining Big 12 games, they will win two conferences. season for the first time since 2008. I am very confident that they will do it because they have an explosive offense that brings a lot of points. Just look at how he ranks in the Big 12 and nationally in some key areas.

StatBig 12 rankNational ranking

Yards per game



Success rate



Points for possession



Explosive playback speed



TD speed in red zone



Expected number of points added per game



Although I am #BelieveInKansas and you should be too, there are limits to this belief. Just because Kansas is 4-0 now and has earned every win doesn’t mean I expect it to be 12-0 or challenge for the Big 12 title. The #BelieveInKansas team has too many defensive flaws to think it’s not will lose several games in the future. But that’s not the case yet, and he deserves far more respect than he gets.

The Kansas Jayhawks are a good football team. They shouldn’t be, but they are. You will have to learn to accept it.

Return of the week

While this is an incredible game on its own, there are little aspects to it that make it even better. First, rewatch the play, but keep an eye on Demany Richardson all the time. Tyreke Chappell took about three or four steps with the ball when Richardson thought he was going to take the ball away from him. The moment of realization is here.


So not only is it a great game to watch, but it’s an incredible heads-up by Richardson who figured out what was going on so quickly and executed his plan to absolute perfection. Another incredible part of this fumble comeback? There were eight fumbles in the game, but this was the only time that possession was transferred. I guess it was fireworks only with turnovers at JerryWorld.

Superstar of the Week

Hendon Hooker wasn’t a legitimate Heisman candidate until Week 4 for 8th in Tennessee, now. Hooker threw for 349 yards, rushed for 112 and scored three full touchdowns in Tennessee’s 38-33 win over Florida. The win ended Tennessee’s five-game losing streak against divisional rivals and established the Vols as the primary contender in the East after Georgia. Now I don’t think the Vols have a realistic chance of winning the division (sorry, but the defense and games left against Georgia and Alabama are major hurdles to overcome), but that doesn’t change the fact that Hooker is playing spectacular football.

Since the start of last season, Hooker has thrown for 4,138 yards, completing 69% of his passes, averaging 9.95 yards per attempt. More importantly, he threw for 39 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He rushed for an additional 788 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s a lot of touchdowns and very few turnovers! Hooker’s 13:1 TD/INT ratio is the best in the country per mile in this range. Grayson McCall of Coastal Carolina is in second place with a score of 9.5/1.

Facial hair of the week

Look, I’m sure he’s proud of it, but the time and effort that must be put into it can’t be worth it. It’s just not possible.

Trainers of the Week

This week I want to highlight two trainers. One won and the other lost, but both made decisions that improved their teams’ chances of winning as underdogs.

Joey McGuire: Congratulations to McGuire and Texas Tech on their 37–34 victory over Texas. It’s a big win for the manager in his first season at his new school, and it’s a direct result of the aggressiveness of McGuire and his team. Texas Institute of Technology was in fourth place eight times in the game with six attempts. Many coaches understand that going four more times than usual increases their team’s chances of winning, but too many of them fear the consequences of failure. It’s hard to blame them, given the emotional instability of boosters across the country. McGuire took the risk, his team rewarded him, and together they won the big game.

Billy Napier: A coach from Florida took a similar approach, but did not achieve the result. Napier’s plan at Knoxville became immediately apparent. Florida took the initial kickoff and went for 4th and 1st at their 39 on the first drive. He converted to keep the drive alive, but was unable to convert another fourth down – this time at Tennessee 20 – later in the drive. Napier realized that his team would not beat Tennessee on the road playing a fielding game and planned the game accordingly.

Florida was in fourth place six times in the game and scored five tries. Simply put, the Gators couldn’t win this game if they weren’t so aggressive. They would have lost by two or three touchdowns.

Napier also showed great judgment late in the game when he decided to go for two with his team trailing 38-21. Montrell Johnson scored to cut Tennessee’s lead to 38-27, but instead of scoring an extra point, Napier went on two to try and make the game 38-29. It didn’t work, but it didn’t matter because his team was still only two points behind. If it worked, Florida would have a chance to win the regulation game…


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