One of college football fanatics’ favorite pastimes is complaining about how the polls “got it all wrong” when it comes to their beloved team.
I was drawn to SB Nation’s FanPulse because I figured fans would treat the exercise of ranking the 25 best teams more seriously than, say, a sports information director filling out a ballot for the Coaches Poll.
I was wrong.
The readers of SB Nation collectively turned in the most head scratching final poll, even worse than the Associated Press’ miscarriage of justice earlier this week. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish remain at No. 15 for the sixth time in the last seven polls.
Let’s break down how incredibly wrong this is:
- The Baylor Bears at No. 9: Did poll respondents actually watch any football games this year? What was your favorite Bears win over a ranked team? The Bears beat teams that went a collective 58-78 this year. That’s a top 10 team for you people?!
- The Utah Utes at No. 13: I’m not sure what put the Utes over Notre Dame here. They shared one common opponent — the USC Trojans — which the Irish beat and the Utes did not. The Utes had more losses (3) than the Irish (2) did. And the 11 teams that Utah beat went a combined 63-74 this year. THEY AIN’T BEAT NOBODY, PAWL.
I could go on, but here’s the honest truth: Despite the aforementioned endless complaining, the majority of poll respondents were lazy. The survey offered Notre Dame as the 15th choice to all of its respondents, and clearly the majority of people didn’t care enough to fine tune their list outside of the Top 10.
So put a big asterisk beside this ranking.
Self-identified Notre Dame fans, however, did move their team up to No. 9 and their top 25 included four Irish opponents — the Georgia Bulldogs (No. 4), Navy Midshipmen (No. 20), Michigan Wolverines (No. 23) and Virginia Cavaliers (No. 24).
Our readers’ top 10 was: LSU Tigers, Clemson Tigers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Bulldogs, Oklahoma Sooners, Florida Gators, Penn State Nittany Lions, Alabama Crimson Tide, Irish and Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Collectively, Irish fans were 92 percent confident that their football program was going in the right direction. That was the highest score reported since the Sunday prior to the trouncing at Michigan. (As an aside, Irish fans’ confidence in the men’s basketball program stands at 37 percent.)
Poll respondents were also asked about their favorite to win the College Football Playoff next year. Clemson — who returns key components of their championship runner up team this year — received 47.7 percent of the vote. Those who didn’t make the graphic: Oklahoma at 2.5 percent; Georgia at 2.3 percent and the Oregon Ducks at 1.8 percent.
Finally, here’s the confidence of fans of the Irish’s 2019 and 2020 opponents about the direction of their respective programs:
- Arkansas Razorbacks: 91 percent
- Boston College Eagles: 100 percent, although fewer than 10 self-identified Eagles fans took the survey
- Clemson: 100 percent
- Duke Blue Devils: 89 percent, although also fewer than 10 self-identified Duke fans responded
- Georgia: 91 percent
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: 90 percent
- Louisville Cardinals: 93 percent
- Michigan: 73 percent
- Navy: No data reported.
- Pittsburgh Panthers: 75 percent
- Stanford Cardinal: 20 percent, although fewer than 10 self-identified Cardinal fans repsonded
- USC: 17 percent, although fewer than 10 self-identified Trojan fans responded
- Virginia: 95 percent
- Virginia Tech Hokies: 93 percent
- Wake Forest Demon Deacons: 100 percent, although fewer than 10 Deacs fans responded
- Western Michigan Broncos: No data reported.
- Wisconsin Badgers: 100 percent
Besides the obvious needs for tweaks to the survey system — and for respondents to be more engaged — what do you think of what you learned from the final FanPulse poll?