Bias in the AP poll?

  1. #1

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    Bias in the AP poll?

    This topic has been touched on in some other threads, but I want as many BGPers as possible to read this so I started a thread devoted to this subject.

    Permit me to discuss the AP poll for just a second ... well, a few minutes.

    Any paper that is an AP member is eligible to vote in the poll ... that includes newspapers and radio stations. If you're paper has AP copy on its pages, it is eligible to cast a vote. Each paper or broadcast outlet gets one vote.

    This week, there were 17 votes in the AP poll ... we don't have the ability to identify which ones vote each week, but as one who has studied the AP poll and knows how it works, here's a guess.

    The following cities have daily newspapers that probably cast a vote most (if not all) weeks (going west to east): Paducah, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, Henderson, Owensboro, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Louisville, Covington, Lexington, Danville, Richmond, Somerset, Corbin, Harlan and Ashland.

    There are some other smaller towns with daily papers (I believe Mayfield, Murray, Glasgow and Maysville, maybe others), but I don't know that very many of them vote on a consistent basis. There are some non-daily papers that I assume vote as well ... Pikeville, maybe, and some others.

    There may be some radio stations that vote ... again, I don't know for sure.

    That being said ... assume the 16 papers mentioned above are the 16 votes each week ... there were 17 this week.

    From a geographic standpoint, let's break them down ...

    Western Kentucky ... 6
    Central Kentucky ... 5
    Northern Kentucky ... 1 ... didn't count the Enquirer ... do they have a Kentucky branch or are they strictly a Cincy paper?
    Eastern Kentucky ... 4 ... I put Somerset in with the east because I feel that's the best fit

    See a potential bias developing? In terms of population base, the west and east are more than generously represented ... if anything, the AP poll could easily be expected to show a pro-west and pro-east bias.

    Does it? Let's take a look ...

    In 4A, Warren Central is ranked 5th, Christian County is 7th and Henderson County is 9th.

    Now really, does the west really have 3 of the top 10 4A teams in the state? Henderson County ran roughshod through the west last season and was absolutely hammered by Male in the semifinals ... the same Male club that some others played much tougher.

    I know Warren Central has gotten a lot of ink because of two big-time players, but this is a team that's won 1 playoff game in the last 2 years.

    The east is extremely weak in 4A, so it's really not an issue here ... no eastern team even received a 10th-place vote.

    In 3A ... my personal opinion is that this is the most competitive class in the state and probably the one the AP did its best job. I feel they got the right 10 teams (the order, of course, is debatable) and probably the right team knocking on the door.

    For the record, there are 3 western teams in the top 10 ... Paducah Tilghman, Hopkinsville and Bowling Green. There are 2 from the east ... Bell County and Rockcastle County. I think most of us will agree each of those 5 teams deserve a top-10 ranking.

    In 2A, the west teams are Owensboro Catholic in 2nd, Fort Campbell in 5th, Webster County in 6th, Glasgow in 8th and Monroe County in 10th. The east teams are Corbin in 1st, Breathitt County in 3rd, Russell in 4th, Belfry in 7th and Middlesboro in 8th.

    Wow ... here we go. All the teams are from the east or the west ... no central or northern representation at all.

    I think we can all agree that over the last few years, the east has been much stronger than the west in 2A. Personally, I think the gap is closing, as it should ... these things tend to run in cycles.

    But, given the east's recent dominance, why are there five teams from the west in the top 10?

    One other thing ... no central or northern teams. Lloyd got a few votes ... LaRue County got even fewer. Both were top 10 teams and have decent talent coming back ... but are basically forgotten.

    In Class A, everyone seems to agree on the top 3 ... Danville, Mayfield, Beechwood (again, the order is debatable) ... and the next 2 as Newport Catholic and Louisville Holy Cross. The next 5 are scattered ... Somerset in the east, Bardstown and Harrodsburg in the central, Covington Holy Cross in the north and Murray from the west.

    Did they get the right teams? Maybe ... there's no one out of the top 10 that has a rock-solid case to be in it. Among those teams that got votes is Green County, which is 0-2 and lost to traditional weakling Hart County last week. Green is sort of on the fringe of the west.

    OK, so what have we learned. If we're rating the areas of the state in terms of football strength, there are 2 definite groups. Louisville, the north and central areas are the consensus top 3, with the west and east lagging behind.

    If any area is over-represented, it's the west. Maybe it's because so many western papers are regular voters in the poll. It's human nature that in close calls, papers will tend to go with the teams in its home area because those teams are better-known to the voter.

    Personally, I think the east gets its share of representation ... as does central Kentucky.

    Think about it, though ... northern Kentucky has some of the finest football in the state ... CovCath, Highlands and Beechwood have a slew of titles between them ...and only 1 vote in the AP poll.

    Basically, 90-plus percent of the voters probably have little more than only superficial knowledge of football in that area, and it's likely that some of the northern teams get shortchanged.
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    Last edited by westsider; Sep 4, 03 at 01:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Oxnard's Avatar
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    This is a fantastic depiction of a GIGANTIC travesty!

    Considering the large number of eligible media sources statewide, it is a total embarassment that ONLY 17 cast their ballots. I DO NOT fault the WKY or EKY contingent for dutifully casting their ballots, which often include the teams with which they are most familar. But your presentation here, westsider, does answer a lot of questions I had about the overall validity of these AP Polls. Shame on the NKY and Louisville media who DO NOT participate.





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    Yes, the Enquirer has an NKY edition... Mostly the Post and them dominate the northern part of KY, last time I checked they had about 500,000 in circulation per day, each (not sure how many just in KY) ..So I don't think many smaller papers even get enough readers as those in the west and east...Not even sure there are any other dailies in the northern part...
    Last edited by SportsGuy41017; Sep 4, 03 at 01:24 AM.

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    Re: This is a fantastic depiction of a GIGANTIC travesty!

    Originally posted by Oxnard
    Considering the large number of eligible media sources statewide, it is a total embarassment that ONLY 17 cast their ballots. I DO NOT fault the WKY or EKY contingent for dutifully casting their ballots, which often include the teams with which they are most familar. But your presentation here, westsider, does answer a lot of questions I had about the overall validity of these AP Polls. Shame on the NKY and Louisville media who DO NOT participate.





    Ox, I think your post on the AP polls is one of the best I've seen.
    Instead of blasting the voters who do take the time to vote every week, you place the blame for underrepresented areas on those who chose not to vote.

    I think it's a very valid point.

    Is the AP poll correct every week? No.
    Is any poll correct every week? I'd say no on that one as well.
    The handicap of the AP is not enough voters for a true sampleing of the state. But I would say it's pretty much as good as any other.

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    Re: Bias in the AP poll?

    Originally posted by westsider
    ... we don't have the ability to identify which ones vote each week, here's a guess.

    The following cities have daily newspapers that probably cast a vote

    There are some other smaller towns with daily papers (I believe Mayfield, Murray, Glasgow and Maysville, maybe others), but I don't know that very many of them vote on a consistent basis.

    There are some non-daily papers that I assume vote as well ... Pikeville, maybe, and some others.

    There may be some radio stations that vote ... again, I don't know for sure.

    That being said ... assume the 16 papers mentioned above are the 16 votes each week ... there were 17 this week.

    I put Somerset in with the east because I feel that's the best fit

    Maybe it's because so many western papers are regular voters in the poll.


    Basically, 90-plus percent of the voters probably have little more than only superficial knowledge of football in that area, and it's likely that some of the northern teams get shortchanged.

    Your post is entirely based on guesswork. A bunch of I don't know's, probablys, I feels, maybes, guesses, likelys, assumes, I believes, we don't have the abilitys...one of the worst arguments I have seen on BGP.

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    It's as close to being accurate as you can be on this issue. The papers who participate sometimes change depending on who is responsible for sports, but most of those mentioned as regulars are correct.

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    Re: Re: Bias in the AP poll?

    Originally posted by Mtnfootballfan
    Your post is entirely based on guesswork. A bunch of I don't know's, probablys, I feels, maybes, guesses, likelys, assumes, I believes, we don't have the abilitys...one of the worst arguments I have seen on BGP.
    I thought it was a good effort at trying to show why the teams from the North are not represented well in the AP Poll. That is what you have been harping on for the last 3 days, right?

    Westsider made a good argument and it was based on some guesswork, but it seems to me like it was educated guesswork, something you wouldn't understand.

    Why don't you just be honest and say "I'm mad because Pikeville ain't getting no love from BGP" instead of trying to argue with the only guys who get the polls halfway right every week?

    I'd like to see the Panthers up there in the polls every week and I know it would be a source of pride for my son. But I have told him to keep playing hard and take care of business and the rest will fall into place. Then it will mean so much more when you actually deserve the respect you get.

    Good Job BGP, you guys rock.

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    I thought Westsider had some very good points as well !!

    And considering it had over 80 views in the middle of the night others were at least interested in the thread topic or they would not have viewed it. Over 80 views from about 1AM to 5:30 AM during the middle of the night on a weeknight? very responsive post if you ask me..

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    Re: Re: Bias in the AP poll?

    Originally posted by Mtnfootballfan
    Your post is entirely based on guesswork. A bunch of I don't know's, probablys, I feels, maybes, guesses, likelys, assumes, I believes, we don't have the abilitys...one of the worst arguments I have seen on BGP.
    Yes, westsider does a lot of presumption in his post. But anyone who has looked at the AP polls over the course of several years can tell you that his trends are RIGHT ON THE MONEY. It has always been this way.

    Most of these reporters that vote cover a certain area. They don't know much outside of their area. They formulate a statewide Top 10 and submit it on their own. They are going to give the teams in their area more pub.

    IMO, the AP polls involve more "guesswork" than westsider's post. I'll never put any stock in them. Period.

  10. #10

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    Nice work westsider!
    I personally learned something. So thank you.

  11. #11
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    westsider, you are da man!!! great post!!and right on the money i might add....

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    Good job westsider. Things that make you go Hmmmmmm.

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    TV stations also get a vote if they elect to participate...

    As a former AP voter, I can also tell you the same bias extends to the AP All-State teams....that's why you see a large number of honorable mentions from schools where there is an AP outlet

    There is presumption in westsider's post, but at least he's trying to explain his opinion with a decent arguement...

  14. #14
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    Right on westsider!

    I just finished reading through the other thread (3A Rankings) and I have come to the same conclusion. HE thinks our poll has a NKY bias when compared to the AP Poll when if fact I think it's a lot more likely that the AP Poll has an anti-NKY bias by default. You did a great job of bringing some attention to the problem.

    I want to hear from HE on this one???


    Mtnfootballfan,

    Read back through the thread, you are the ONLY ONE that thinks westsider is way off base. Instead of standing in your glass house throwing stones why don't you make a counter argument? Could it be that you can't? If you make some good points everyone will give you your due but right now all you are doing is alienating yourself from everyone on this forum with your combative attitude.

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    Originally posted by The Scribe
    TV stations also get a vote if they elect to participate...

    As a former AP voter, I can also tell you the same bias extends to the AP All-State teams....that's why you see a large number of honorable mentions from schools where there is an AP outlet

    There is presumption in westsider's post, but at least he's trying to explain his opinion with a decent arguement...
    We have discussed this before, and that's another reason why I don't like the AP poll very much.....participation. So many media outlets, yet so few reporters voting. It's seems to me that most of them don't care.

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