Traveling from Sooner country to Stanford country back to Sooner country in a 10-day span … throw in watching the Olympics … and what’s been lost in the shuffle? Me posting my poll voting. I know everybody’s just been hanging on by a thread waiting for that. (Actually, you can go to the AP’s site and see it, but anyway …)
First, last week’s voting:
1. xConnecticut, 2. xStanford, 3. xNebraska, 4. xTennessee, 5. xNotre Dame, 6. xXavier, 7. xDuke, 8. xOhio State, 9. xWest Virginia, 10. xTexas, 11. xOklahoma, 12. xFlorida State, 13. xTexas A&M, 14. xIowa State, 15. xKentucky, 16. xGeorgia Tech, 17. xGeorgetown, 18. xVirginia, 19. xVanderbilt, 20. Oklahoma State, 21. TCU, 22. xGonzaga, 23. Georgia, 24. xSt. John’s. 25. xBaylor
Now, you’re probably saying, “Why do you have little x’s in front of the teams?” Or maybe I’m just assuming you’ll notice. Here’s the reason: I just posted that the way it is in my file. Every week as I do a new poll, I mark “x’s” on the previous one to make sure I’m not leaving out any teams from the week before unless I choose to leave them out.
(As opposed to leaving them out by accident, which a seasoned pro like me has never done. Cough.)
Anyway, by following the trail of “x’s” you can see who was in for me on Feb. 14 but not on Feb. 22: Oklahoma State, TCU and Georgia.
Here’s my Feb. 22 vote:
1. Connecticut, 2. Stanford, 3. Nebraska, 4. Tennessee, 5. Duke, 6. Xavier, 7. Oklahoma, 8. Notre Dame, 9. West Virginia, 10. Florida State, 11. Texas A&M, 12. Texas, 13. Ohio State, 14. Iowa State, 15. Kentucky, 16. Georgia Tech, 17. Georgetown, 18. Virginia, 19. Gonzaga, 20. St. John’s, 21. Baylor, 22. Vanderbilt, 23. Michigan State, 24. LSU, 25. Hartford
Right when I started doing my ballot, the power went out where I was staying, eliminating WiFi along with the lights. I had to vote via Blackberry by the illumination from my battery-powered Mac and some candles. I’m really not making this up. So if there is anything wrong with my vote, this time I will blame it on technical failures.
OK, of course there are things wrong with that vote. There always are. How crazy is it that if Oklahoma had not been able to get its act together just in the nick of time to rally at Kansas State, then I probably would have felt compelled to push the Sooners down from No. 11 rather than moving them up to No. 7? Is the result of that one game really worth that much difference in voting?
Shoot, I don’t know. I can tell you that when it looked as if Oklahoma was going to join Notre Dame, Ohio State and Texas as weekend upset victims, I was thinking, “Great, this week’s voting is going to be a complete disaster.”
(An aside: I know it drives Big East fans, in particular, rather nuts when media talk/write about how difficult the Big 12 is, since that’s in vogue this season and has been in the past, too. I do think the Big 12 has teams at the bottom of the league who are better than most other leagues’ bottom teams. But this season … unless you’re UConn, the Big East is hard. Unless you’re Stanford, the Pac-10 is hard. The ACC is hard, the SEC is hard, the Big Ten is hard. You know? I’m just saying that conference play, in general, is hard. Every league’s teams “beat each other up” to use that meaningless cliche. To the degree that we can ever crown “best league,” I think we should wait to see the real testament to a conference’s “toughness:” How many of its teams survive to the NCAA Sweet 16.)
Anyway, the Sooners did escape Manhattan, Kan., which made voting slightly less treacherous … but I discovered Monday another problem. OK, actually I didn’t “discover” it on my own, I saw someone complaining about it and thought, “Uh-oh, I think they’re right.”
Here it is: Why is Iowa State ranked below Texas? The Cyclones and Longhorns are both 8-4 in the Big 12. They’ve both lost to league-leading Nebraska in Lincoln (Iowa State did that Wednesday with standout Alison Lacey benched by a concussion). Iowa State has to play Nebraska twice, and the Cyclones also lost that matchup in Ames.
Iowa State has one “whoops” loss – at Kansas State on Jan. 31 – but considering that Oklahoma practically did the same thing, how much should I still “punish” the Cyclones for that one? Iowa State’s other defeat came at Texas A&M- the same place where Texas lost Saturday. Texas, which plays Texas A&M twice, also lost that matchup in Austin.
Clearly, the Cyclones, 20-5 overall, and the Longhorns, 19-7, have pretty much the same Big 12 resume. So, ultimately, the tiebreaker at this point should be their head-to-head meeting, right?
Iowa State won that one in overtime … at Texas.
So why are the No. 14 Longhorns still ahead of the No. 15 Cyclones in this week’s media voting? And why did a so-called “Big 12 expert” have Texas No. 12 and Iowa State No. 14?
Um … did I mention the power outage?