AP Rankings are a Joke Snubbing Arkansas while Moving Oklahoma into Top 10
Originally by Ryan Wright November 6, 2016
College football rankings have oft been the subject of jeers because Associated Press voters seemingly do not pay attention to the overall landscape of the sport. The Week 11 rankings echo that sentiment making a mockery of the poll and all that it stands for nationwide.
Snubs happen, and happen all the time. Tough to figure out how an Arkansas (6-3, 2-3) team with three wins over Top 15 AP ranked teams did not make this week’s AP poll yet Oklahoma (7-2, 6-0) is somehow moved into the Top 10 at No. 9.
The venomous stance is not directed at Oklahoma, the Sooners football program, or the fans, but directly at the AP voters’ lack of balance in their decision making.
The Sooners have two losses, an opening season 33-23 defeat to then- No. 15 Houston and a 45-24 loss at home to then- No. 3 Ohio State. Arkansas and Oklahoma have a shared common opponent in TCU. The Sooners beat the Horned Frogs 52-46 when TCU was ranked No. 21 in the nation, their only win against an AP Top 25 team this season. The Razorbacks beat TCU, then- ranked No. 15, 41-38 in double overtime. Both games were at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Arkansas has played then- No. 10 ranked Texas A&M, No. 1 ranked Alabama, and then- ranked No. 21 Auburn, now ranked No. 8, their three losses on the season.
Arkansas’ two other wins against ranked teams came against No. 12 Ole Miss and No. 14 Florida. None of the teams Oklahoma has defeated have gone on to have success cracking the Top 25; Louisiana-Monroe, Texas, Kansas State, Texas Tech, and Kansas. Houston is now 6-2, 4-2 in the American Athletic Conference, not even leading the West Division of the AAC, tied between Tulsa and Navy.
The Hogs defeated No. 14 Florida 31-10 on Saturday while Oklahoma survived a 34-24 road contest against an unranked Iowa State team. Arkansas dropped SEC East leading Florida to 6-2, 4-2, while Oklahoma’s win moved Iowa State to 1-8, 0-6.
USA Today’s schedule rankings has Oklahoma with the nation’s 30th toughest schedule thus far. Arkansas has the 8th toughest.
Oklahoma can add to their Top 25 teams taken down with a game on Saturday against No. 25 Baylor and potential matchups against teams that could be ranked in West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Arkansas has a chance to pad their resume against ranked teams with No. 19 LSU heading to Fayetteville on Saturday. Season ending games against Mississippi State and Missouri more than likely will not add to their Top 25 teams conquered.
In all that is supposed to be fair and balanced, where is the fair and balanced voting in the AP?
The Sooners may very well go on to have a seat at the table when the College Football Selection Committee ranks their final four teams for the College Football Playoff, a lot has to happen in their favor but one never knows. There is no way Arkansas will get that opportunity. But one should have nothing to do with the other when voting the top teams. Oklahoma has two positives over Arkansas, one less loss and being atop their respective conference.
The argument is not for Arkansas to be ranked in the Top 10. But excluding them from this week’s rankings seems absurd especially when compared to a team in the AP Top 10 with a shared win over a common opponent and a much harder schedule to date.
To be Fair and Balanced
No. 11 West Virginia does not have a win over an AP Top 25 team losing to unranked Oklahoma State 37-20.
No. 13 Utah does not have a win against an AP ranked Top 25 team losing to unranked Cal 28-23 and No. 4 Washington 31-24.
No. 14 Western Michigan (9-0) is undefeated with key wins over Northwestern (4-5) and Illinois (3-6).
No. 23 Washington State has one win against then- ranked No. 15 Stanford (6-3) 42-16. They also have a 45-42 loss to FCS Eastern Washington and a 31-28 loss to a then unranked Boise State.
No. 24 Boise State has key wins against Washington State, Oregon State (2-7), and BYU (5-4).
AP Top 25
Photo credit: si.com; No. 80 Drew Morgan hauls in a pass against Florida (2016).