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Category Archives: The New View | Mitch Vingle

Breaking down the preseason A.P. poll, etc.

Breaking down the preseason A.P. poll, etc.

Ah, the old days.

Or, rather, last August. It was then – and the August before and the August before, etc. – I’d piece together my preseason Associated Press Top 25 list.

Many have screamed about such preseason polls. They’ve called it folly. And, to some degree, yeah, OK…

But, man, they are also great marketing ploys. For the summer magazines. For the Associated Press. For USA Today, which publishes the coaches’ poll. And they certainly are for college football.

The polls get the juices stirred. They get the debates raging. Meanwhile publishers and those selling game tickets cash in. I see the marketing angle even more clearly now that I’m at Wheelhouse Creative.

The only gripe I ever had about the polls is when they were used in the old BCS days to determine playoff teams. The A.P. eventually removed its poll as a conflict of interest.

Anyway, as long time followers know, I took all my votes seriously, but perhaps moreso my preseason poll. I didn’t want to copy what’s in a summer magazine. (I did, however, contribute to Athlon through the years, including the latest edition.) I wanted to do my own work. I took pride in it.

And, man, did I climb out on some limbs. When most were ignoring Notre Dame, for instance, I placed the Irish No. 3 in the preseason poll. Joe Kinsey of Busted Coverage said I was his favorite voter because I cause “chaos and fans lose their minds over Mitch’s ballot.”

Yet guess which team entered a game against Miami No. 3 on Nov. 11 that 2017 season. Yep, Notre Dame. Stand up for your beliefs, folks!

I similarly ranked LSU – and, yes, WVU — higher than most, etc.

Anyway, I now watch more as a spectator from my public relations/marketer’s desk. Yet that doesn’t mean I’m less interested. I’m rooting for those still in the sports writing game to put in the work, to give us the clearest picture of what’s happening in our beloved sports.

So, out of curiousity, I compared Monday’s Associated Press Top 25 to a couple summer magazines’ lists. Are the voters doing their own work? Or are they simply copying from Athlon, Phil Steele, etc.?

Here’s what I found:

Of the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll, five were ranked exactly as listed in the Athlon preseason poll. For the math challenged, that’s 20 percent.

Of the others, the difference in ranking per team was an average of 2.65 spots. If you use the difference overall, including the teams ranked dead on, it’s 2.17.

Also, there were two notable outliers in Nebraska and Stanford, both ranked seven spots higher in the A.P. poll than in the Athlon magazine. If you toss those two out, you’re left with a miniscule 2.167 difference or 1.7 if you include the teams identically ranked. (Athlon, by the way, had Missouri No. 23, which was No. 26 in the A.P. poll, and Virginia No. 25, which was No. 32 in the A.P. listing.)

If you prefer the Phil Steele ranking, which arrives later in the summer, you’ll find a wider average gap. Perhaps in the dog days of summer, voters make their lists before seeing Steele’s magazine.

Anyway, Steele’s Top 25 had a difference of 4.17 spots from the A.P. poll if you exclude three hit on the button (No. 7 LSU, No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 21 Iowa State). If you include those three, the overall difference was 3.84 spots per team.

Steele had three teams that were completely against the grain in respect to the A.P. poll.

He has TCU No. 14 (which, by the way, I agree with), while the A.P. poll has the Horned Frogs at No. 31. He has Miami No. 15, while the A.P. poll has the Hurricanes at No. 29. He has Virginia Tech No. 25, while the A.P. poll has the Hokies No. 36. (Technical point: Those three aren’t “ranked” in the Top 25 because, well, they aren’t IN the Top 25. They are in the “also receiving votes” list though. Fortunately, I can still count.)

In sum, it looks as if voters are still relying on summer magazines or online rankings. That will probably never change. Research is work. Few choose to take that on.

Yet I’ll continue to watch. I’ll continue to tear through the polls, looking for my teams.

And I’m sure all other college football fans will for years as well.

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Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.

WVU football stops ticket downturn

WVU football stops ticket downturn

Neal Brown has already done what Dana Holgorsen could not. At least indirectly. At least in the last five years. The new WVU football coach has stopped the downward trend in regard to Mountaineer season football tickets. “We’ve sold approximately 25,000 season tickets,” said WVU senior associate athletic director Matt Wells on Monday. “It looks… Continue Reading

Thirsting for football, remembering Backyard Brawls

Thirsting for football, remembering Backyard Brawls

In the past few months, Wheelhouse Creative helped publicize the recent “Blame My Roots” festival. And today, well, I guess you can blame my roots. See, last weekend, my high school class had a reunion. Not the 30th. Or 40th. The 41st. So forgive me for not holding out until 2020 to reminisce about WVU… Continue Reading

WVU, marketing and the Coliseum court; from worst to first?

WVU, marketing and the Coliseum court; from worst to first?

Since joining Wheelhouse Creative, my eyes have been opened wide to the importance of marketing. It’s not only a good idea for businesses, it’s absolutely vital in this day and age. And perhaps no business understands that more than the WVU athletic department. It not only understands the topic, but, more importantly, it gets how… Continue Reading

Hahn dishes on ‘Best Virginia,’ TBT title chances

Hahn dishes on ‘Best Virginia,’ TBT title chances

You all know Billy Hahn can’t sit still. Hell, he gave up trying years ago. And if you ever saw him fidgeting as a WVU assistant basketball coach beside Bob Huggins, you know of what I write. “I don’t know how to slow down,” Hahn, now retired, said Monday. So it’s no surprise Hahn is… Continue Reading

A W.Va. sports hall of fame that’s thriving

A W.Va. sports hall of fame that’s thriving

They made me smile. All the Facebook posts, that is, about the West Virginia Sports Legends Hall of Fame ceremonies at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center this past weekend. Eight-seven folks were inducted. Yes. Eighty-seven. As in 87. “It was wonderful,” South Charleston High athletic director Bryce Casto, one of the 87, told me Monday.… Continue Reading

Catching up with Huggins; congratulating Nehlen

Catching up with Huggins; congratulating Nehlen

It had been a while since I thought about the WVU men’s basketball team. Yet last week I had a chance to talk to Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins. And it opened my eyes to the wheels that have been turning since last season’s disappointing 15-21 record. For instance, I knew the roster had undergone a… Continue Reading

The myth, the legend that was Kerry Marbury

The myth, the legend that was Kerry Marbury

If you check the Wikipedia page for Marion County, you’ll see an incredible list of notable native athletic names. Listed are Pro Football Hall of Fame members Sam Huff and Frank Gatski, Alabama coach Nick Saban, Olympic gold medal winner Mary Lou Retton and ex-Michigan coaches Fielding Yost and Rich Rodriguez. Yet if you ask… Continue Reading

Bell and other WVU Where-Are-They-Nows

Bell and other WVU Where-Are-They-Nows

The sighting was quite by accident. I’d exhausted Twitter, Facebook, etc., on my phone and took the next step — to the local newspaper sports section. There, I spotted an Associated Press feature on officials written by friend Ralph Russo. In my travels covering WVU, I’d frequently run into Ralph so I thought I’d give… Continue Reading

Ranking WVU’s 2019 football opponents

Ranking WVU’s 2019 football opponents

Through the years, I’ve written for Athlon Sports, mostly for its preseason football and basketball editions. And once again this year, despite my career change, I again helped, previewing WVU’s upcoming football season. I also continue to keep up with the rest of the Big 12 and, to a lesser degree, the entire college football… Continue Reading

Ranking WVU’s sports gut punches

Ranking WVU’s sports gut punches

When it comes to being a WVU sports fan, I’m reminded of an old Sam Kinison standup comedy bit. The one where Kinison emits a tiny, cute voice that’s supposed to lure him to the door of love – for the ninth time. The bit in which he opens the door. And the bit in… Continue Reading

Time to give WVU’s Lyons his share (of credit)

Time to give WVU’s Lyons his share (of credit)

I remember the day Oliver Luck announced he was leaving as West Virginia University’s athletic director. “Oof,” I thought. “Good luck replacing Ollie. All he did was finagle WVU into the lucrative Big 12 – rather than tread water in the soon-to-be AAC – and set Mountaineer facility building on the right course.” Later, in… Continue Reading

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