Proof For The Pollsters

By Jeff Beck on September 12, 2013 at 4:15p

Polls don’t matter in September. Let’s get that out of the way. They’re empty posturing allowing schools to beat their chests and prematurely proclaim their place (or potential place) atop the college football mountain while straddling the smoldering ashes of FCS teams. With that said, they are a point of pride. You don’t want to see your team drop week-to-week, particularly after they win convincingly.

Alas, that’s exactly what happened to the Buckeyes this past week. A 42-7 blowout of the San Diego State Aztecs wasn’t enough to stave off Oregon, ultimately allowing the Ducks to jump the Buckeyes in the Coaches Poll (the only vote at this stage factored into the BCS formula). Apparently winning by at least three TDs in your first two games isn’t enough to impress anyone around here. That’s why I’m putting together this proof for the pollsters. So listen up coaches…here it goes.

To start, Ohio State scored a total of 44 points in the first quarter of their games this season. That sounds impressive (and it is). In comparison, Oregon’s much ballyhooed high-powered offense totaled a nearly identical result at 45 points in their first two quarters. This stat is telling, as the first quarter of a game against a weaker opponent is still when a team has their foot on the gas (first string still in, gameplan operating at full potential). After that first quarter – particularly after a first quarter with a huge lead – a coach might cycle in less experienced players to build depth and/or button up the play-calling to keep their cards close for tougher upcoming opponents. 

That may have been what happened against Buffalo. Due to play-calling, personnel, coaching or a mix of all three, OSU ratcheted back the WOW against the Bulls. There’s no denying it. With that said, there’s also no denying Ohio State wasn’t dropped in the Coaches Poll after their week one performance. At that point, the men with the headsets (unless you’re Brady Hoke) felt the Buckeyes were still the second best team in the nation. All was right in the world.

Then came week two. A healthy C.J. Barnett and an unchained Bradley Roby allowed the defense to play with a little more freedom, ultimately resulting in a far more dominant performance by the Silver Bullets to couple with a second straight 40 point game. The Buckeyes won by 35 while only giving up one TD. In Charlottesville the Ducks were busy unleashing their own beatdown on Virginia, winning by 49 while also giving up only one TD. Let’s call these two scores a wash (unless you really want to be a stickler about one team scoring two more TDS in a blowout). Both offenses dominated, both defenses dominated, end of story.

These are of course fairly similar results with a few key differences; paramount of course is the aforementioned flip-flop of position in the polls. Oregon’s win must have appeared more impressive to coaches, but why? The Ducks were playing an away game across the country, but the difficulty ends there. Virginia is a bad team that happens to operate in a major conference. On paper, a win against an ACC squad looks better than a win against a MWC team, but Virginia won only four games last season, and just squeaked by BYU in their first contest.


The Aztecs are equally as bad, losing to Eastern Illinois in their first game, so again let’s call this a wash…both opponents weren’t quality. 

However, what isn’t a wash is the personnel the Buckeyes and Ducks had to play with. Oregon had QB Marcus Mariota under center to the tune of 199 yards and 2 TDs through the air with 122 yards and 1 TD on the ground.

On the other hand, the Buckeyes’ head signal caller was knocked out of the game after seven plays. Forced to rely on their backup QB for the entirety of the game, OSU cruised to victory.

In short, both Oregon and Ohio State played equally bad teams and beat them convincingly. However, one did so with their first team guy, the other spun gold with their backup. One team showed they’ve got a helluva team, the other showed they’ve got a helluva team with equally impressive depth.

Yet, the team that showcased their embarrassment of riches at the signal-caller position fell in the polls, while the other merely performed to expectation and climbed.

So what’s the deal coaches? You of all people should take note of a team that can dominate in the face of a little early-season adversity. Yet, you failed to show it in your week three poll. Take it into account. Ohio State looked the part of a contender without a full deck…and this guy has yet to take a snap.

Think it through in your next poll, we’d all really appreciate it.


Comments Show All Comments

jedkat's picture

bingo. Well said mah boy, well said.

"Can we please stop the message board fighting? I really can't stand the message board fighting..."

"No. You're an idiot, and your posts are terrible."

dwcbuckeye's picture

Good analysis and when you said "Polls don't matter in September", totally agree.  I can to some extent understand the slight drop in the Coaches poll, certainly the drop was very modest.  With that said, I may be naive, but am not the slightest bit worried about not being in the Top 2 after going 25-0, beating a likely tough Michigan team and winning the B10 Championship.  Despite what Oregon may do the rest of the season, how do you not vote the Buckeyes in the NC game?  The PAC 12 sans Stanford and Oregon don't look particularly imposing.
We just have to take care of business

fanatibuck's picture



jeremytwoface's picture

Virginia won only four games last season, and just squeaked by BYU in their first contest.

Yeah but BYU beat Texas and Texas is soooooooooooooooooooo good.

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

boojtastic's picture

i seem to be detecting a feint tinge of sarcasm.

jaxbuckeye's picture

I agree that both teams stink, but I would have to say flying across country to beat Virginia is a tad bit harder than beating a San Diego St team that had to fly cross country and play in the Shoe.

Dayton Buckeye's picture

I don't always agree with Bobby Carpenter, but he said if we go undefeated we will be in the National Championship game.  Can't disagree there.

BassDropper's picture

That's pretty much common sense though, and the only thing that matters...Go undefeated and we are in


AndyVance's picture

To paraphrase a character from The Lord of the Flies, sucks to the pollsters.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Too obscure for this forum.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

AndyVance's picture

Nah, the regulars here are plenty capable of getting (and contributing) references that are way more obscure than that :)

Oldschoolbuck's picture

+1 for the literary reference, Andy.
Also known as Beelzebub (or Little Nicky Saban)...

Haybucks's picture

Why is it called the Coaches' Poll anyway?  Coaches do not have time to study film from every FBS team before they submit their ballot. They should be, and probably are, busy planning for their next opponent.

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


Maestro's picture

I think it's because the coaches vote in the poll.

vacuuming sucks

Earle's picture


Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

Maestro's picture

Are you suggesting that one of these might be voting for the coaches?

vacuuming sucks

Earle's picture

Relief pitcher?
I'm suggesting that 11W's new intern (welcome, John) might be submitting Urban's vote.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

Maestro's picture


vacuuming sucks

Earle's picture

Ahh, I get it now...

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

Haybucks's picture

Yeah, you know, I'll bet that's what is supposed to be happening!

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


ScarletNGrey01's picture

Yeah, it should be called the "Grad Assistants' Poll"

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Buckeye1996's picture

Bama is going to lose a game this year so we just need to take care of our bid-ness (pun intended!).

Maestro's picture

and Bama beat a "top 5 defense" in Week 1.  At least that's what I was told on the radio by Dennis Dodd.

vacuuming sucks

Hovenaut's picture

Think it through in your next poll, we’d all really appreciate it

Can we ensure this memo gets out....repeatedly through December?

Iron_Buckeye's picture

Exactly what I've been telling folks!! We did it with our backup with 2nd and 3rd stringers getting reps at the end. NO. RESPECT. I can't wait to smash the rest of these teams and then iiiisssh is gonna get real for these punkazz pollsters! BCS betta keep it real!

“The minute we stop expecting greatness from our football program, we become Wisconsin.” Craig Krenzel

hspbuy1's picture

If this D keeps improving at the same pace they're on,I could see us fall another spot or two by the end of the month.  I've noticed Urban likes to play a lot players after we've gotten a decent lead.  I can see this paying huge dividends later in the year. The newbies are gonna get better.  I like what I'm seeing so far,& when Hyde gets back...........Ohhhhh...Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Doesntwork's picture

the coaches probably would not have dropped us if Buffalo didn't get trounced in week 2.

Poison nuts's picture

I believe this was a big factor in the drop. Less about what Oregon did & more about what Baylor did to Buffalo. I don't know - it's a theory...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

jaxbuckeye's picture

Agreed.  Not that the transitive property EVER means anything in college football but for some reason, it does.

Norwalk's picture

I agree, polls don't matter at this point. I don't necessarily disagree  that we should be behind Oregon and Alabama. I remember last year before the season started there was a lot of talk about who would be the 1st team Urban would score a hundred against. If we could have scored a hundred against Buffalo we would have, Urban doesn't know how to lift his foot off the gas. The players may have lifted but not their coaches which is a shame because a few players were given a golden opportunity to earn respect and more playing time. I have no worries, if we win we will play for the National Championship. Leaders will step up and our young, angry, hungry team will continue to improve. 

nm_buck's picture

Do they publish how the coaches' vote?

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

jaxbuckeye's picture

No.  That would cause a firestorm.

USMC11917's picture

I keep reading, "If we win out then we are in." What will the sentiment be if we win out and we are not in and we end up being 26-0? Will we automatically care about the AP poll again? I am telling you that an undefeated Oregon/Stanford/Clemson will have us on the Strength of Schedule, easy. (Unless all the teams we play in our ooc win out. Not looking good thus far.) Our conference would have to have the SEC's rep to be given credit for a tough enough gauntlet even though we all know better. I am really interested to hear what all of these confident folks will say then. I imagine this site would be one giant freak out. Currently I just want to enjoy the season, every game game, and just let it play out. We can worry about it then. Hopefully, this is just motivation to fuel the fire and prove that we belong in contention.

jaxbuckeye's picture

We might lose the strength of schedule, but if tOSU is undefeated they will definitely be in the top 2 in the two polls.  Voters will recognize two years being undefeated.  So, no worries.

avail31678's picture

Looking back in history, it is rather uncommon for multiple undefeateds.  Oregon and Stanford eliminate one by default. I truly think Bama will lose a game.  Although if the unlikely does happen, I do agree with you.  We could be left out.  It does depend though on how the rest of the B1G does.  If UM and NW win a lot our SOS might not be too as bad as expected.
But my money is on history repeating - one undefeated, if any.

fanatibuck's picture

YAWN!!! The humans will recognize 25 consecutive victories. WE will be in. BANK IT!!!


CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

It's still very early.  Just take care of business and things will play out fine. 

ScarletGray43157's picture

If we take care of business things will work out in the end.   Period.

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

Knarcisi's picture

The only team that warrants moving ahead of us is Clemson. 

jaxbuckeye's picture

Thursday Skull Session.  We all thought it, but I already put it in print.....just sayin...

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

Who cares? Seriously? It's early. If OSU wins out, we are in, I believe. If not, then it's because the voters don't feel we should be and that is also acceptable ... It's the system we have and love as part of college football. Personally, I would not vote our bucks number 2  or worry about our Bucks being number 2 based upon what I have seen so far. Will that change? Maybe, but that is why they play the rest of the damn year folks! 

ScarletNGrey01's picture

The always ironic "who cares" post.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

Is this a serious post, or are you that stupid? 

Maestro's picture

vacuuming sucks

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Mr. Beck ... TRUE THAT!

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

BeijingBucks's picture

I for one think it's great to be dropped this early... Give Urban more material to keep the team angry!!!
A loooot of football to be played still folks.  The odds of OSU meeting Bama in the NCG are astronomically low to be honest so lets just enjoy this season one weekend at a time and let the chips fall where they may.  Every team out there is a key injury away from being marginalized....

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

cinserious's picture

I really, really want to be in the final BullCrapSystem National Championship game this year. In the Rose Bowl nonetheless. It would be epic especially if we face and defeat an SEC squad. We can only control what we can control and voters do what they do. To be realistic, our SOS might bite us in the ass at the end.
A 1 loss SEC champ gets in regardless
An undefeated Ohio State would struggle to top an undefeated Oregon, Stanford, Clemson, maybe Oklahoma.
Conference perception goes a long way. Thankfully after this year, it will mean less.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Like I said when this subject came up a week ago: while dropping the Buckeyes may seem arbitrary, the fact that we were ranked #2 in the preseason polls was even more arbitrary, since that ranking was based on total guesswork instead of game results.
History shows that concerns about more than 2 teams from BCS conferences being undefeated at year's end are probably unfounded. We're many weeks away from this being on the radar screen of my worries.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

hail2victors9's picture

The audacity!  Who would do such a thing?
Brady Hoke: "Well, umm, you know...I don't know."

Let's see here.
There's this guy:

...and him:
...and definitely him:

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

ABrown07's picture

This is an awesome article, you couldn't have put it any better. The Polls are crap, they shouldn't even use polls until at least week 3 when teams actually have a body of work to rate and compare to one another.

I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people.

-Woody Hayes

ejoceans's picture

I'm thinking its looking bad for us already.  I don't buy that if we win out we're in stuff.  This year is going to be hard for the buckeyes and their fans because soooo many people think we are who they thought we were!!(I had to) I'm just saying that this isn't going to be as easy as it was in the past and just being TOSU was good enough if u go undefeated.  There is a lot of hate out there from coaches and analyst.  We DO have to win out but we have to do it with big wins this year.  I have a feeling we are going to have 3 undefeated this year and a few one loss SEC teams that are up our ass too. We all know how that goes and its not that the buckeyes are in the NTG.  Everyone thinks the SEC is better(way) than the Big Ten and for the past few years this is true.  But so far this year we look impressive.  I don't think the Big is getting enough credit for stomping in teams early this year and looking good doing it. The only thing that will help the Big is this years bowl games. We have to beat up on other teams and get our respect back!!! Starting this weekend with (once again) our back up Kenny G baby! Lets Go Bucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lets do this Brutus

pjtobin's picture

Great article. The photo of Kenny G reminded me of South Park. Only I thought of it with a little twist....... Those bastards Kenny killed!

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.