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Breaking down the AP preseason ballots ...



You guys remember how much I enjoyed it last year when USA Today had the cool feature with every single coaches' ballot from the final poll, searchable by team or by ballot? I've found a new toy.

A few loyal commenters e-mailed me links to Pollspeak, a site that has all 65 ballots from the Associated Press top 25 in a feature called Pollstalker, and breaks down each ballot to show the outliers -- which schools are unusually high or unusually low. I'm not a voter, but I enjoy the weekly conundrum of figuring out a ballot from top to bottom.

Thing is, you want to have a unique ballot, something on there that makes your opinion stand out, without being completely out there. Some of these ballots are completely out there. Some observations:

-- USF is ranked on all but five ballots out of 65, which is impressively high for a team that was unranked at the end of last season. Some curious voters among those not picking USF: Adam Van Brimmer of the Savannah Morning News didn't rank the Bulls, and had the Gators 21st, or 13 spots lower than any other ballot. He has Clemson 22nd, or seven spots lower than any other ballot. Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World in Kansas has USF unranked, and also has Kansas No. 11; only four balloters have the Jayhawks ranked higher.

-- The most, um, unique ballot belongs to Taylor Zarzour of WPTF radio in Raleigh, N.C. ... he has Boise State ranked 11th, when the Broncos show up on only one other ballot, at 24th. He has Ohio State down at 13th, when only one other ballot has them lower than eighth. He didn't rank West Virginia or Auburn, the only balloter to do so in both cases, and also didn't rank Kansas (one of three), Illinois (one of five) or Tennessee (one of six). I'm all for individuality, but those are some serious hunches ...

-- None of the national writers who have ballots seem to think much of USF right now. Chris Fowler has USF 19th,'s Stewart Mandel has the Bulls 20th, Craig James 21st, Kirk Herbstreit 23rd. Highest USF ballot? Joe Giglio of the News & Observer, who consistently ranked USF high last season, has the Bulls eighth on his ballot, matching Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia.

USF is officially in the second half of preseason practice, with two weeks completed and two weeks of preparation now for the Aug. 30 opener against Tennessee-Martin. I'm going to miss the morning workout Monday -- it's first day of kindergarten for my son, Riley -- but will be back for the afternoon session in what could end up a newsy day ...

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:43pm]


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