Bias in the AP poll?

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  1. #31
    thegeneral's Avatar
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    I don't think very many radio/TV outlets ever participate, although the ones that do are probably faithful.

    On one hand, AP would love to have as much participation as possible. On the other hand, would it be better served by a regularly voting panel? The AP college football/basketball polls are voted on by a panel of 60-ish journalists organized before each season.

    On the whole, one poll is as good or bad as the next. But I'd prefer any poll of multiple voters over an indecipherable one-man ratings system any day.
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  2. #32

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    A couple of other points to make ...

    I think the biggest problems in the AP polls are voters that are relatively uninformed and want to pump up the local team. I think both are in the minority, but their votes can sometimes skew the rankings.

    There are times that voters seem to look at nothing but records. There have been seasons where you will see a team with a very impressive record (6-0, 7-0, 8-0, etc.) against very soft schedules getting rated above stronger teams that have 2 or 3 losses against tougher competition.

    A prime example was in 2001 ... Mayfield got off to a 2-5 start against an extremely tough schedule that included Hoptown, Tilghman, Evansville Mater Dei and Jackson North Side (9-3 and won a game in Tennessee's Class 4A playoffs) and even fell out of the rankings briefly for the first time in close to 30 years ... Murray and Ballard Memorial had much better records, but the Cardinals thumped them both in district play.

    Bottom line, I think it's a simple lack of research.

    As for radio and TV guys ... I don't know if I would want many of them to vote. Most of them prefer to keep up with college and pro sports instead of closely following the high school scene ... because that's where the glamour is.

    And every once in a while, you will see a crazy first-place vote given to some team that's 6-0 or something against a crappy schedule. I suspect their local paper voted them up to give them a boost in the poll. I have a certain team and paper in mind, but I won't name it here.

    TheScribe made a point about the voting bias being reflected in all-state voting. I know that it happens ... I've seen Class A and 2A teams with losing records get 4, 5 or 6 guys named honorable mention because their local paper voted for them. Some years it's so obvious that you know who the offending publications are. I've even heard of papers trading votes (you vote for my guy, I'll vote for yours).

    At the same time, there are some isolated schools that aren't regularly covered by a daily paper have deserving players left off the team ... because they don't have a local paper to vote for them.

    I'm not trashing the AP poll ... it serves a purpose and provides all kind of fodder for conversation. And like anything else, it only as good as the people that put it together.

  3. #33
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    One thing I don't understand about several of these posts is why everyone thinks the AP voters are so much less informed that our BGP voters.

    The AP people follow sports for a profession, Most BGP voters have a day job and commit what free time they do have to sports.

    The BGP voters reside somewhere I suspect and would also suspect that they have more knowledge of local teams than those from across the state.

    Our BGP voters often have a favorite team, many times that they follow fanatically. I'm not sure AP voters have such a rooting interest in any one team.

    And how much do the BGP voters travel that they know so much more about football state wide than the AP guys do?

    The advantage the BGP poll has over the AP is more members and anytime you have more samples, the accuracy of any scienticif sampling will be greater.

  4. #34
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    All very valid points, MDN. I, for one, will have to give them some consideration and you have made me examine my thoughts about the AP voters. Even though your points are contrary to the way the discussion was heading, thank you for presented them in an organized and civil manner.

    I don't think anyone has said ALL AP voters are the problem. But history has shown me that some problem exist in the process.

    I like our system better, but it is not a perfect system. Everyone involved is human and humans make mistakes. I'm sure we will realize in a few weeks that we have overlooked some teams and touted some that we should have overlooked. But I don't think it will take us long to recognize it and even less time to correct it. As with any work in progress, we have to evolve with it.

    The best part of it is, we can rely on all the fans on here to let us know when we are missing the boat.

  5. #35
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    Originally posted by Watusi
    All very valid points, MDN. I, for one, will have to give them some consideration and you have made me examine my thoughts about the AP voters. Even though your points are contrary to the way the discussion was heading, thank you for presented them in an organized and civil manner.

    I don't think anyone has said ALL AP voters are the problem. But history has shown me that some problem exist in the process.

    I like our system better, but it is not a perfect system. Everyone involved is human and humans make mistakes. I'm sure we will realize in a few weeks that we have overlooked some teams and touted some that we should have overlooked. But I don't think it will take us long to recognize it and even less time to correct it. As with any work in progress, we have to evolve with it.

    The best part of it is, we can rely on all the fans on here to let us know when we are missing the boat.
    I gotta say, on the whole, I agree with you.

    I think all-state time is when the AP really looks bad with some place really loading up on the honorable mentions and people like Marty Reagan getting left off (which I beleive happened when he was a junior).

    And most of my family would agree with you saying that my point is contrary to whatever. My dad's been describing me as contrary for years.

  6. #36
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    MDN: All good points.

    However, I think at the end of the season if you were to ask the BGP individually to list what teams they have seen in person I think you will be amazed at how we get around. Highlands is my team, but anytime Highlands is involved in a game that I don't think will be a good one I tend to go somewhere else. Guru's team is Beechwood, but he rarely sees them.

  7. #37
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    Exactly OB!

    MDN, I saw ten games in the first two weeks of the season. Also, I thought it was you that once said it was very hard for a lot of the AP voters because they have so many local responsibilties that they didn't have much of a chance to see (or know much) about most of the teams across the state?

    Also, the fact that it is a hobby for us puts us in a better position in my opinion. We are free to do what we need to do when we need to do it.

    I think the system the AP uses has it's limitations but all things considered I think the AP does a pretty good job.

    Also, we use the AP polls as a resource, we would be stupid not.

  8. #38
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    I don't think that there is a built-in bias in the AP polls, but there are many more flaws in the system than in BGP's rankings process. IMO, they are as follows:

    1. Poor or erratic participation - As others have pointed out, if the eligible voters in a particular geographic area elect not to vote, the results are potentially skewed.

    2. "Homerism" - All of us have seen a team that no "reasonable" person would vote No. 1 and few, if any would vote No. 10, get a No. 1 vote. I think occasionally, some joker wants to make some kind of point by not voting for the obvious No. 1 team.

    3. Eligible vs. "qualified" - I assume that there is no guarantee that the AP voters even want to participate. It is possible that some voters are assigned the job, whether they like it or not.

    4. Isolation - The biggest disadvantage that AP voters have compared to the BGP team that puts together the rankings is that AP voters rarely get to discuss their votes before casting them. What you get is the independent votes of 9 to 15 voters, with none of them accountable to the other voters.

    BGP does not use a strict voting system per se. Moderators may vote, but voting is used more like it is by a jury. Unless there is unanymnity, the voting starts the process. In the case of the AP, the vote is the process. There is no discussion either before or after votes are cast, and no chance for voters to change their votes if they see realize they made a blunder. (If I am wrong about how the BGP football rankings are prepared, I am sure one of the moderators will correct the record, but the basketball rankings were prepared as I have described the process.)

    Although I questioned some of the BGP preseason rankings on the basis of what I see as a NKY bias, the BGP process is far, far better than the process the AP uses. If the NKY bias that I have suggested exists, it will slowly dissipate as the season rolls along. Besides being accountable to each other and theguru, the BGP voters have to face vocal eastern Kentucky critics ever day.

    The problems faced by the AP voters will persist into the playoff season.

  9. #39
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    I would also like to point out that, in the Park City Daily News anyway, the AP Polls didn't make their first appearance until the *fourth* week of the season. I had always reported on the AP Polls each week, and that lack of appearance turned me off. Meanwhile, BGP has theirs out each week like clockwork, and you can depend on that, plus depend on the fact that, with everyone's input, the BGP Polls are more informed. Still may not be perfect, but I feel like it's the best there is! It is more logical and more accurate.

    I very much took note of the fact that BGP had BGHS ranked #8 this week in the 3A Poll, then AP followed suit. I guess we are resourced as well, and that's not a bad thing at all! Plus AP got their first rankings out in the very first week this time. Looks to me like they decided that BGP was a viable force in rankings and they needed to start getting things done on time! In short, competition makes for a better product!!

  10. #40

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    over the many years that i have followed high school football in this state, i will have to say that the AP poll general gets the teams some what right in the top 4 in each class, not always in the right order i might add. after the top 4 teams 99% of the time the other teams have no chance of winning the state title. all rankings after the top 5 are just window dressing. the courier journal's lit. ranking are a complete joke and should be mothballed. i like bluegrasspreps ranking about the best and i think they probably do a better job of anybody. i would also like to see a ranking by BGP of all the class's as one. as for westsiders post, i thought it was very good and had a lot of merit to it.

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