Final AP Poll (5 B1G teams in the top-17)

Submitted by BoFlex on January 9th, 2018 at 11:36 AM

AP just released its final poll of the season.

Of note...

  • Top 4:
    • #1 Alabama
    • #2 Georgia
    • #3 Oklahoma
    • #4 Clemson
  • Five total B1G teams represented
    • #5 Ohio State
    • #7 Wisconsin
    • #8 Penn State
    • #15 Michigan State
    • #17 Northwestern
  • Others
    • #6 UCF recieves four 1st place votes
    • #11 Notre Dame



January 9th, 2018 at 11:43 AM ^

In a big picture doesn't matter. When you're recruiting or bragging, it doesn't make an iota of difference whether you say "We were #5 last year!" or "We were #6 last year!" It's just something for people to argue about on the internet or on PTI.

Also, as much as I respect what UCF did this year, I don't think they're on the same level as the five teams above them. If they played a Big Ten or SEC schedule for 8-9 weeks a year, AND the non-conference games, they most likely wouldn't be 13-0.


January 9th, 2018 at 12:04 PM ^

And I don’t think UCF is better than Auburn. UCF played cupcakes all season until Auburn. Auburn played a very challenging schedule and still ground out a 10-2 record. Do you think a team can be at full strength after playing 3 playoff teams during the regular season (Alabama, Clemson, Georgia) and also LSU?


January 9th, 2018 at 1:03 PM ^

shows how much you actually watch/know football. USF/Memphis are better than 75% of B1G team.

Memphis is 19th in F+/- combined ratings, USF is 26th. That's not cupcakes. Michigan is rated behind Memphis and a few spots ahead of USF largely thanks to the strength of their defense.

UCF > Auburn because they beat them. That is an undeniable fact.



January 9th, 2018 at 1:46 PM ^

Beating someone does not make you better them. That's way too simplistic. If you played 100 games on a neutral field and beat them 60 times, then sure. But people put way too much emphasis on single outcomes. By your logic Northwestern is better than OSU since Northwestern beat Iowa. Or even simpler, do you think Iowa is way better than OSU?

You have to look at teams holistically and in doing so, you certainly cannot say UCF is undeniably better than Auburn.


January 9th, 2018 at 3:12 PM ^

UCF is 2 places behind Auburn before the matchup so I expect that UCF would be rated ahead of Auburn so they’re better than Auburn this season. They beat them and finish higher than Auburn.

UCF is a top 4-5 team this season.


January 9th, 2018 at 3:41 PM ^

It was a bowl game between a team that wanted to prove themselves and had a perfect season on the line and a team who was bummed to have missed out on the playoffs. You're putting too much stock into one game. Anyone saying definitively that UCF is or isn't a top 4 team is just saying things. It's impossible to truly know. That said, it's an idiotic system to have someone win every game and not have a shot to definitively claim a championship.


January 9th, 2018 at 5:53 PM ^

railed on Alabama for their SoS yet they won it all. It's about the eye test and Bama was the best team all year long. Sometimes, eye test > other arbitrary metrics like SoS, quality wins, quality losses, etc.

To be honest, UCF should've been given a shot for the playoff berth. Their win against Auburn proves it.


January 9th, 2018 at 5:52 PM ^

in playing against UCF. They played hard and lost because UCF was the better team of the two. Most people are afraid to admit that UCF is a top 5 team and they have a bunch of NFL players playing on the roster.


January 10th, 2018 at 2:27 AM ^


like that doesnt matter?


Pick your winner September 1 because games on the field dont really matter?


Meanwhile in non-flat earth bizzarro town thats the NUMBER 1 reason we use to determine who is better. This cant be argued. Otherwise all games have ZERO meaning. WTF is going on?


January 9th, 2018 at 4:12 PM ^

 Memphis is a used to be good respectable cupcake. They lost all of their offensive coaching from a few back and saying they would go .500 or less in a power 5 conference is right on par. They played 2 power 5 teams, UCLA (won by 3) and Iowa State ( lost by 1). I don't see how they could possibly be ranked 19th since they were ranked 25th going into the bowls and they lost to unranked Iowa state.

USF had a much better schedule than Memphis and still had Stoney brook, illinois, Uconn but, atleast the rest are still division 1 teams.



January 9th, 2018 at 12:44 PM ^

UCF played 3 teams with an S&P+ ranking lower than 67th (USF, Memphis 2X, Auburn).  Auburn played 8.  Michigan, playing a pretty weak schedule this year, played 7.  

UCF should have probably been in the playoffs, but they suffered from what all G5 teams struggle with; namely, playing enough top-flight opponents to justify getting in over other teams with similar resumes.  


January 9th, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

I don't blame them for the schedule they have; they scheduled Michigan last year and Maryland and GT this year (the latter got stormed out, I believe).  Their conference slate is what it is, and they played one local team (FIU) that went 8-5.  I think the best way to justify not including a G5 team (as that's clearly the committee's goal) is to let one in, let it get blitzed, and then point to that and say "see, we told you!"  It's disingenuous as hell, but every time they leave a team like UCF out they open themselves to these types of games, where a G5 team that is super-motivated beats a second-tier P5 power and this repeats.  Ultimately I guess the checks cash so nobody cares who matters, but I think UCF was probably a top-6 team this year, and on a neutral field I could see them giving a game to Clemson, OU, UGa, or Alabama.  Nothing I saw these past couple of weeks would make me believe they couldn't hang with any of those outfits or even beat them.  So let a team get its shot.  


January 9th, 2018 at 4:23 PM ^

Just like we shouldn't look at the B1G's post-season success as proof teams like OSU and PSU should have gotten more love, I don't think we should look at Alabama winning the title as proof they deserved to be there.  Their resume coming into the playoffs was not amazing and they didn't even play in their conference title game.  Like OSU last year, I think people gave them too much credit based on reputation, and them beating (in my opinion) an okay Georgia team and an overrated Clemson squad doesn't mean UCF couldn't have done the same.


January 10th, 2018 at 2:23 AM ^

When a head to head just happens and people still stick to their guns i just dont get it.


They just played, after plenty of rest and time to plan, the winner is better. Period.


It wasnt a fluke last second win. It was a solid- we are better- victory.




January 9th, 2018 at 12:06 PM ^

In my opinion, UCF would lose to Ohio State - yes.  Penn State and Wisconsin - maybe.  I'd take them over everybody else.  They were good.

If UCF had, say, Maryland's schedule (Maryland's schedule was about as tough as it got in the B1G) - and lost to all of OSU, PSU and Wisconsin and dropped another game, they'd still be 8-4.


January 9th, 2018 at 12:39 PM ^

Advanced analytics aren't gospel, but UCF did finish #7 in S&P+ and #9 in FEI.  That puts them a good bit behind OSU, behind but fairly close to both Wisconsin and PSU, and a good bit ahead of everyone else in the B1G. 

If UCF played Maryland's schedule, per the S&P+ numbers:

9 point underdog at Ohio State.

4 point underdog at Wisconsin.

1 point home favorite vs Penn State.

3 point road favorite at Michigan State.

9 point home favorite vs Michigan.

14 point home favorite vs Northwestern.

Big favorites vs. Indiana, Rutgers and Minnesota.

I looked but can't find online the relationship between S&P+ predicted margin and likelihood to win - but the numbers above, I'd spitball 9-3 as a reasonable expectation.


January 9th, 2018 at 12:50 PM ^

I agree with your analysis on skill versus Big Ten teams.

But size is where I disagree.  They would get beat up week after week paying a Big Ten schedule.

Auburn is a good team and they deserved the win, but it was one game once, not week after week of battling guys 30 pounds bigger week after week


January 9th, 2018 at 2:18 PM ^

Back in the day of the Big 2 little 8, many opposing players and coaches would say Michigan beat them tiwce. Once on the field against them, and once the following week against the next opponent. Why? Michigan just beat you up. 

I looked up UCF's top offensive performers and how they performed on the season vs. Auburn. Here are the results:

RB: 5-8, 158 lbs, season, 790 yards with a 6.5 average. Against Auburn: 10 carries for 28 yards

QB: 5-11, 185 lbs, season 67% completion with 310 yards/game. Against Auburn: 16/35 with 242 yards.

WR: 6-1, 210 lbs, season 4.5 catches/game for 90 yards/game. Against Auburn: 5 for 89

I pointed out the height and weight to provide some perspective on how much smaller they were than the average B1G starting RB and QB,. Their performance also spoke volumes.

Yes they won against Auburn. The RB & QB also performed well below their season averages. Only the WR, met his season average. Check out his height and weight. About average for a B1G WR. 

UCF would not fair as well having to perform against significantly larger competition for 9 weeks. They performed sub-average against Auburn and still got the win. 

A great example of this is how long it took Utah to get their roster to match the Pac-12 rosters. Here are Utah's season win totals three years prior to joining the PAC-12 and since:

2008: 13-0 (8-0)MWC

2009: 10-3 (6-2)MWC

2010: 10-3 (7-1)MWC

2011: 8-5 (4-5)PAC12

2012: 5-7 (3-6)PAC12

2013: 5-7 (2-7)PAC12

2014: 9-4 (5-4)PAC12

2015: 10-3 (6-3)PAC12

2016: 9-4 (5-4)PAC12

2017: 7-6 (3-6)PAC12

Only one example, but I think it is indicitive of how different playing in a P5 conference is vs a lower division.


January 9th, 2018 at 4:10 PM ^

Getting up for a bowl game where you have a month to prepare or one or two big games during the season is one thing.  Playing a pretty solid schedule week in and week out is something else.  Before Utah and TCU joined the Pac-10 and Big 12 they were two of the better teams not in a power 5 conference.  They'd go 11-2 or 12-1 and knock off a marquee team here and there.  However, both Utah and TCU struggled their first couple of years in a power 5 conference. 

TCU went 7-6 and 4-8 their first two years in the Big 12.  They had only lost more then 2 games once in the 7 previous years before they joinged the Big 12.

Utah went 8-5, 5-7, 5-7, 5-7 their first 4 years in the Pac-12

Human Torpedo

January 9th, 2018 at 12:40 PM ^

So when will Sparty issue their "four top-15 finishes in five years" rings for this year? Seems like they get rings for everything now even with all the success they've had. I remember how they made a big deal out of their "Legends Division Champions" rings back in 2011 despite not winning the championship game


January 9th, 2018 at 12:57 PM ^

After the National Champ....does this poll really mean anyhting?

Also, any knicklehead that gave a first place vote for Central Florida is just that.....a knucklehead.


January 9th, 2018 at 1:06 PM ^

MSU got a fair bit of luck this year (6-1 in 1-score games, +2.3 ppg based on TO luck), and that historically those numbers aren't reproducable year-to-year.  And PSU is going to take a step back, probably pretty substantially.  Franklin was always a middling in-game coach who people forget was 1000% on the hot seat when Moorhead came in and revitalized the offense.  Would they have been better with McSorley under center regardless?  Sure.  But that offense was fantastic for their personnel, and now the coach is gone as is a fair number of the playmakers.

So call me a homer or whatever, but MSU and PSU are going to start next year in the top-10 and they are going to not live up to those standards by the end of the year.  Similarly, Michigan is going to be ranked outside the top-10 and I fully expect them to play better than that, especially since they suffered almost the exact opposite level of luck (-3.5 ppg TO luck, 1-2 in 1-score games, 1-3/4 depending on your views of those OSU/Wiscy games, massive injury at QB).



January 9th, 2018 at 1:24 PM ^

I can't comment much about PSU - - - I could see them taking a step back next year because of the talent they lose. Having said that, they have a very young, talented crop of recruits that certainly could rise to a competitive level in the league (especially by November 3 when they play UM).

Regarding MSU though, I really don't expect them to take a step back at all. As one of the youngest teams in the country, they posted a 6-1 record in one-score games this year. One could argue they've developed some mental fortitude for next year because they've both demonstrated that they can close out games; and, they are one year older and should take natural leaps in improvement. Believing MSU will take a step back seems like wishful thinking...

Perkis-Size Me

January 9th, 2018 at 1:46 PM ^

Why do people ALWAYS assume that next year is finally the year that MSU takes a step back? Happens every year and we get all shocked and shaken when it doesn't, attributing it all to blind, dumb luck and that next year will FINALLY be the year that MSU reverts back to the mean. Buddy, winning close games and knowing how to finish them is part of Dantonio's DNA. I see what you're trying to say, but MSU is going to be a damn good team next year. Are they going to win a national title? Hell no. They don't have the pure talent to knock off a team like Georgia or Alabama. But they get us and OSU at home next year. They will contend for winning the conference. 

Penn State will probably regress just by virtue of Barkley leaving. I don't care what talent they had behind him. No one will be as good as he was. But Franklin isn't going to go away from what works. That offense saved his ass, and I'm guessing he'll promote from within (if he hasn't done so already) to make sure he keeps the same offense he's run the last two seasons. And they're bringing in a rather stupid amount of talent on both sides of the ball. We get them at home but they're not going anywhere anytime soon. 

And yes, you are a total homer if you think Michigan will start the season anywhere close to the top-10. I'd tell you it's even more likely they start the season unranked. Michigan has a very, very steep climb to get back to contending for the conference. This past season undid a lot of the progress that Harbaugh made on restoring the image of the program. 


January 9th, 2018 at 2:09 PM ^

Ricky Rahne - the job is his.  He called the Fiesta Bowl.

The future is hard to predict --- nobody sure as hell predicted MSU going 3-9 in 2016.  But PSU seems to me like a Top 15-ish squad in 2018.  Not a true National Title contender but neither an easy out for anyone on their schedule.  


January 9th, 2018 at 3:03 PM ^

I didn't expect 3-9, but I assumed MSU was going to take a step back after 2015, when they were incredibly lucky (6-1 in 1-score games and, I think, a top-10 TO margin), and that's basically how it played out to a bit of an extreme degree.  I don't see that happening next year to that degree, but it's a team with about the same offensive output as Michigan and a defense that doesn't seem any better than Michigan's.


January 9th, 2018 at 3:01 PM ^

I don't think they'll be a bad team, but I've seen them in the top-8 teams in preseason rankings, and that seems like a stretch for a team that had nearly as bad an offense as Michigan by many measures and, as noted, had a bunch of luck in close games.  They also went 3-9 two years ago, coming off an equally lucky year (6-1 in 2015 in 1-score games, one of the top turnover margins in the country) in which all that luck went sideways and they suffered some injuries.  I'm not expecting them to go 3-9 again, but hell, their last game they played a WSU team without their record-setting QB, their top 2 WRs, and their AA defensive lineman for a half, plus I think 1 or 2 other injuries.  They probably still win that game, but I that wasn't the WSU team you saw ranked during the year, and I think people tend to read a lot into bowl outcomes without context.  My whole point is that them winning 8-9 games next year would be my guess, and that's not where people are slotting them.

PSU promoted from inside, but losing Moorhead is going to hurt.  And while they have brought in a fair bit of talent, it's mostly young talent, and as we saw this year it doesn't always gel immediately, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

I'll admit to being a homer, but I said Michigan would be ranked outside of the top-10 and I think they'll play better than that this year.  Looking at betting lines and preseason prognostications, the general theme I'm seeing is Michigan 15-20 but with some people thinking they're a dark-horse for the conference title.  They're a ceiling on next year because of the road games, but I will go on record that I think Michigan finishes better than PSU next year, and probably MSU.  I'm fine being proven wrong, but there is a lot of negativity in people's views of the program that seem steeped in recency bias, and I suspect that will disappate over the offseason.