Monday, November 21, 2011

A look inside the AP Poll: Week 13

It's looking like Rose Bowl or bust for the Spartans.

Following a 55-3 win over Indiana, the Spartans moved up one spot to No. 11 in the AP Poll. They're ranked No. 10 in the Coaches Poll, but USC is not eligible for the Coaches Poll, which is why MSU is one spot back in the AP.

As for individual voters, the Spartans have a wide range of positions, ranked as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 17.

Rob Long of Fox-1370 Radio in Baltimore is the voter with MSU at No. 5. The next highest Big Ten team on his ballot is Wisconsin at No. 13, so Long clearly thinks the Spartans are the class of the Big Ten. He has MSU ahead of undefeated Houston and one-loss Stanford. Long has four teams in extreme rankings (including MSU) and one near extreme rankings.

Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen and Ira Schoffel of the Tallahassee Democrat both have the Spartans at No. 7.

As for the doubters, four voters have MSU ranked at No. 17. However, it is good to see that none of them have Michigan ahead of MSU and that the highest ranked Big Ten team on their ballots are at No. 16 or MSU. So while the voters aren't high on the Spartans, they aren't high on the Big Ten in general. I can understand that.

Since the SEC West has the top three ranked teams, it's easy for people to say that the SEC is the best conference in the country. But the conference is very top-heavy. While they have four of the top five defenses, they have eight offenses ranked in the bottom 40 in the country. Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are terrible teams. The Big Ten doesn't have any elite teams, but I wouldn't be surprised if the conference had a solid showing come bowl season.

As for local voters, both John Niyo of The Detroit News and Jeremy Sampson of WLIX-TV have the Spartans at No. 9.

As always, thank you to Pollspeak.

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