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Breaking Down the Preseason AP Poll

One voter explains why he had the Cowboys as high as No. 21

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NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

The preseason edition of the Associated Press college football poll was released on Monday, with the Oklahoma State Cowboys not among the teams listed in the Top-25.

The Cowboys were among the teams receiving votes, picking up 51, enough to essentially be ranked 29th.

Now I tried to look at how many voters had Oklahoma State in their ballots, unfortunately something is wrong and the AP didn’t make all the ballots available, so of the 61 ballots at least 14 had Oklahoma State on them.

Week Ranking Lowest Highest
Preseason NR NR 21

Two pollsters had the Cowboys at No. 21 in their poll, the highest votes for OSU. One of those votes was from Jason Galloway of the Wisconsin State-Journal who said he put the Cowboys in based on their history.

“Preseason polls are always difficult, but I’m giving respect to a program that’s won 10 games each of the past three seasons and hit that double-digit win total in six of the last eight years,” said Galloway. “We don’t quite know what we’ll get from the Cowboys with a new starting quarterback and new defensive coordinator, but they still seemingly have a lot of talent at skill positions and return seven starters on defense. Oklahoma State finished 16th in my final poll last year, and Mike Gundy’s recent track record is enough for me to keep them in the top 25 for now.”

I’ll also remind you that while OSU may not be in the preseason AP poll, they were the preseason Coaches Poll, coming in at No. 25.

Also of note, is that while the coaches and sports writers don’t have a lot of faith in Oklahoma State, Vegas sure as hell does. Oddsmakers have the Cowboys as the 14th ranked team in the country ahead of even TCU and Texas.

This is far from the first time that OSU has started the season unranked under Mike Gundy. Since 2008 the Cowboys were outside the Top-25 at the start of the season four times; 2008, 2010, 2014, and 2015.

And being so, is no predetermination of the Cowboys’ success.Three of those years, the Cowboys finished the season ranked.

Year Preseason High Final
2008 NR 7 16
2010 NR 10 13
2014 NR 15 NR
2015 NR 4 20

Let me say that I don’t have a problem with Oklahoma State not being ranked in the preseason. I wouldn’t have had them higher than 23rd if I was a voter. And for voters, everything after 20 is kind of a crap-shoot.

What matters is what they do on the field and, really, what the playoff committee thinks come December.

It’s fun to debate and discuss, but it doesn’t really matter. Yes, it does create some innate biases when teams are rated highly, but if you’re good and you win, you’ll move up. Likewise, if you’re not and you don’t, you’ll move down.

We’ll keep track of how voters view the Cowboys as the season progresses leading up to the first College Football Playoff Poll on October 30th.