It isn’t as if there hasn’t been a disagreement or two over how teams are ranked in the past. There has been. The difference today is that we have so many rankings for college basketball (and other sports) in addition to methodologies. We’re collecting far more information for statistical comparison. Speaking of which, the once novel KenPom and KPI are now dependable resources for accurate ranking. To top it off, they’re smiled upon by the powers that be in the NCAA. The more tools the merrier, right?
The bad side of this equation is that we’re now seeing just how truly flawed the human factor can be. Votes in the AP Top 25 are being instantaneously called out on social media. It has become quite clear that there is too much subjectivity in the vote. Some may argue that it keeps the human element (a variable) in play. Perhaps. More than likely you’re stretching things a bit.
The reality is we can now spot a “homer” a mile away and something needs to be done about it. There was a day that I respected an AP voter. Granted the majority I still do. There are a handful that, as my mother would often say about me when I was trifling, aren’t worth flushing. If you’re reading this you know who you are. The readers, listeners and viewers know it too. That, is not a good thing.
It’s time for a grand cleansing by the AP. That applies to USA Today as well where they claim it’s the coaches that are voting. I’ll lay odds that more Sports Information Directors are voting than passing along the choices of the actual coach. As comedian Bill Maher says as he addresses some of life’s absurdities, it’s time for new rules. I realize this season has been a mish-mash especially when it comes to the top 10 teams. Seriously though, we need new rules, transparency and people who have a clue about what they’re voting on.?
You can’t be a “homer” for ACC schools and neglect the comings and goings of the Mountain West Conference. If you’re scratching your head about what school I’m talking about then it’s clear you shouldn’t be voting either. Trust me, I’m not calling out some great miscarriage of justice for this school. It’s simply that each team deserves proper attention.
Let me make it abundantly clear. By no means of the imagination do I think that I’m qualified to vote. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I stay within my lane. No sense in messing up the guardrail and being skewered on social media. Then there are those who are so immersed in basketball I bow in awe of their knowledge. It’s the bias for one school or another, one conference over another, etcetera, that tips the scales. Some members are regional, some are national but whoever, wherever, it’s time for an adjustment.
Take a cue from a couple of well know football coaches who stepped away at the right time. Just do it. No harm. No foul. Don’t wait for a sudden cleansing that will end up tarnishing your reputation. You’ll feel better. I’ll sleep better at night once I feel you have regained your sanity. There’s one less thing on your plate to worry over. Your fans will respect you….again.
Then, maybe, we can return to rankings that have some substance. That aren’t hairy in all the wrong places. How about some numbers that have enough thought behind them that they really are worth arguing over on Twitter. Don’t hold your breath waiting for me to join in though. There are plenty of other things that I find worthy when it comes to a good argument. None of which need to be ranked.
Jim Quist is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. He currently indulges his quest for knowledge in the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate program at the University of Richmond. Follow him on Twitter @ACCTheQ.
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