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Jason Schmitt is the editor of MIPrepZone.com, the high school sports website for The Oakland Press. He has served as the sports editor for a number of newspapers, including the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak and the Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens. In his time in the industry, he has covered every high school sport and has served a a beat writer for boys and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, hockey, wrestling, bowling and cross country.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Taking football rankings with a grain of salt

No one really likes the BCS. That's been made abundantly clear over the years. The biggest issue is always the Coaches' Poll. People question whether or not most coaches even vote themselves. Because most are entrenched in the details of their own program, they have little or no time to pay attention to the happenings of the college football world. So they have their assistant coaches or their sports information directors handle that duty.
So is it really a coaches' poll, per se?
The same thing could be said for the Associated Press poll. How can any of the selected voters know everything about the top 20-30 teams in the country? Yeah, in this day and age you can catch many, many games on television. But still, it's an imperfect system.
That leads me to my point. The Associated Press also provides us with high school football rankings. And just like its college counterparts, these rankings must be taken with a grain of salt. There are five voters for each of the eight divisions. They're from various parts of the state and - to be honest - have no idea just how good teams from outside their area really are.
Clarkston's Ian Eriksen is among the best players in the
county this year. His Wolves have proven to be among
the best teams in the state, currently ranked No. 1 in the
latest AP Division 1 state rankings.
Take for example, in Division 1, Clarkston and Lake Orion are ranked No. 1 and 2. Sure, that's great for Oakland County. But it remains to be seen if they're truly among the elite (top 3-4 teams) come season's end. Detroit Cass Tech - despite a close loss to St. Mary's last Friday - is still the class of this division. My vote - if I had one - would still go to the defending state champion Technicians.
Heck, even Flint Carmen Ainsworth is ranked ahead of the Technicians. Don't tell me the Cavaliers are better than Cass Tech. Sure, they're 5-0, but they've beaten Grand Blanc, Saginaw Heritage, Inkster, Flint Northern and Flushing (a combined 7-18). But Cass Tech has already played the Eaglets and has beaten Brother Rice.
And at the bottom of the Top-10 you have Catholic Central and Rockford at Nos. 9-10. These two played in the semifinals last year and I'd bet even money they'll be back in the semifinals this year. CC's only losses have come to football powerhouses from Toledo and Cincinnati. And Rockford's two losses were to traditional powers Lowell and Muskegon (Muskegon, in my opinion, has been the best team in the state so far this year).
Further evidence the voters aren't always sure what's going on is in Division 3, where local teams Farmington and Oak Park are ranked No. 7 and No. 9. The Knights just beat the Falcons, 20-15, last Friday. Not quite sure why a couple voters made this decision.
Same thing can be said for Division 7, where Royal Oak Shrine finds itself ranked No. 7, while Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes is honorable mention. It's been that way each of the past two weeks, ever since Lakes beat Shrine, 24-21. Not quite sure where the logic is there.
Anyway you slice it, it doesn't always add up. But that's why any rankings that has human involvement will be questioned. But whether you like it or not, people love them. And until readers stop reading them, they'll be around, to discuss, for better or worse.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I think Clarkston can take them as long as they play fair. Heard lots of "unfair" play by Cass Tech.

October 5, 2012 at 1:18 PM 

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