Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A look inside the AP Poll: Week 6

Getting closer, but not really.

After an ugly, but important 10-7 win at Ohio State this past weekend, many MSU fans figured the Spartans would be back into the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Nope.

The Spartans are the first team outside the top 25 for the third straight week, although the individual ballots have increased for MSU. (MSU moved up to No. 20 in the Coaches Poll)

Exactly half of the AP poll voters have MSU ranked. Ira Schoffel of The Tallahassee Democrat continues the carry the torch for the Spartans, putting them at No. 13 on his ballot, up from No. 17 last week. As was the case last week, Schoffel's ballot is all over the place, with six teams either in "extreme" positions — too high or too low.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American Statesman also has MSU at No. 13, shooting up from No. 22 last week.

As for why MSU didn't jump into the poll, only two teams fell out: South Florida after its loss to Pitt, and TCU, which lost to SMU. The two schools that jumped over MSU were Auburn after its win at then-No. 10 South Carolina and Kansas State after its win over then-No. 15 Baylor, so there should be no qualms there. If you want to argue 2-2 Texas A&M shouldn't be ranked with two losses, that's another issue.

The wide-ranging votes on MSU — from No. 13 to unranked — show just how uncertain people are on the Spartans. MSU looked very good on Saturday, but how much of that was because of a bad Ohio State team?

MSU will have its chance to prove itself coming up. There is a very real chance the Spartans could host top-10 teams in back-to-back weeks with Michigan and Wisconsin. And that's before a trip to Nebraska. I said it last week and it remains true, the next few weeks could really shift MSU's poll position.

As always, thanks to Pollspeak for the great website.

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