Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Inside Look at the Sweet 16 poll

Yesterday's Sweet 16 regular-season post started a bit of a maelstrom it seems.

Some folks wanted to talk about how they felt one play decided the Butler-Mallard Creek game (don't think so) and why so-and-so team was still ranked and why such-and-such team, which beat a higher ranked team, didn't move past them.

That led me to try to answer a few questions that often come up.

1. WHO CAN BE IN THE SWEET 16: I think I need to update this list, but you have to be in the Observer's coverage area to be included. Here is the list of teams (again, I may be missing a few, but if you're an NCHSAA school playing in a league of majority area teams, you're good; I'll update).

Now, if you're in our coverage area, you must field a football team and you must play for a recognized state association (the NCISAA or NCHSAA) and you must play by the eight semester rule. Your school cannot allow a student-athlete to reclass after 9th grade. A lot of coaches in the past have said "Well we don't have any reclass kids so we are eligible."

No, as a policy, your school cannot allow it. You must play by the eight semester rule. It's not fair to compare a team that has a kid (kids) who could be a college freshman (freshmen) against a team that doesn't have any, especially in basketball.

2. HOW IS THE POLL PUT TOGETHER: Each week, we look at how a team has done or is doing and from there it's subjective. Two years ago, I asked five people from a message board to vote for an online readers' Sweet 16. Their poll was virtually identical to the one we do, despite them saying at the beginning we had no clue.

3. WHAT ARE THE RULES: In the old days, the poll was essentially about who is the strongest team in their class and who had the best chance to win a state title. We always wanted to be inclusive of private and small class teams, but two years ago, we made a shift to incorporate more of a "power poll" bent. The Sweet 16 isn't a power poll, but we understand people think that the No. 8 team should be able to beat the No. 11 team. So you take that into consideration.

Ultimately, the poll is a ranking of the top teams in the Observer's coverage area, using these criteria: team talent, team schedule, strength of class and performance.


4. WHY IS MY TEAM RANKED BELOW A TEAM WE JUST BEAT?: Great example here. West Rowan, a top 5 preseason team, lost to unranked Mooresville Friday. Mooresville jumped into the poll this week, below West. West was a high ranked team that lost a close game. People are not going to push West down towards the bottom of the poll, and it's hard for an unranked team, like Mooresville, to hop over 8-9 teams in its first appearance. Maybe you can argue the Blue Devils should've been ranked in preseason, but preseason is just a guess. We cover 127 schools and rank 16. Bottom line? Well, two of them:

1. Everybody can't get ranked.
2. The true Sweet 16 probably emerges in the fourth week or so anyway, if you ask me.

Questions? Leave them below. I'll answer.



27 comments:

The DPS Kid said...

Kinda funny really Langston. Time for that annual rite of passage you undergo every new football season as the affronted line up with their bricks for a shot at the "Dub" man. LOL.

I can't complain. My boys are where they belong at #3 and looking good. You'll enjoy watching Elijah as a starter. He's a tank already and just a soph. See you at Keffer.

Observer Sports said...

Rite of passage? LOL. Yes happens every year. BTW, is Elijah Hood related to Vee Hood?

str8talk said...

Mooresville should have been ranked when the season started.Big difference between the BIG BOYS in 4A and some of these other classifications.But then again your trying to sell newspapers so you have to include some of the local schools over the obvious schools that are better

The DPS Kid said...

Nice swipe there str8talk.

Oh yeah LW. Vee is his Dad and Boo is his Uncle.

Anonymous said...

Langston if you really dug deep. You would have found out that Vance lost 75% of the players that beat MC. If you would have got off your lazy butt and attended the Panther 7 on 7 you would have found out that West Rowan was hurting for any skill players. If you would have went to South Meck Scrimage you would have found out that Sun Valley had no defense at all. To keep a long story short. You need to get out more. Also you said on previous post. That Butler could wave there lost. Wrong again. 10 games. No endowment game. Do your home work.

Observer Sports said...

@str8talk: Every team, or many, believes their team should've been ranked in preseason. Every team can't. We have to choose 16 and always there's some worthy teams that don't make it. Good news is, there's a poll next week and week after that. If you are really legit, you'll get in. Mooresville got in. I also see M'ville got into few other polls they'd never been in before, or in a long time. Good for them, and great job by coach Capps!

Observer Sports said...

@ DPS Kid. Thanks. He's got great genes. Will have to write about him soon.

Observer Sports said...

@anony 7:36: We dug deep. We went out and covered the 7-on-7. You can't always tell a lot about a run-first team like West at a 7-on-7. And it's not like West Rowan got smoked. I'm not sure I ever thought they would be what they were, but it doesn't look to me like they are far off from making another good run in the playoffs.

They lost to a very good and hungry team. No shame in that.

Now I was wrong about Butler's schedule. My bad. In past years, as you know, teams played 11 and would drop one. Should've double checked that. I didn't.

Vance lost 75 percent of its players? Wow they would've only had about 20 for the game last week. They had considerably more than that, and their coach was telling everyone who would listen he felt they could win it all. Why would he say that to TV and major newspapers if all the players had bolted?

I personally can't be everywhere. We rely on our troops and talking to coaches on some of this stuff. You miss some. It happens. By about week 4, the Sweet 16 will be where it should be and any teams we ranked in preseason that didn't deserve it will have weeded themselves out too.

Anonymous said...

Langston, I never agree with everything you do, but I respect it. Some folks on here are just flat out idiots, like the guy with the Vance and West Rowan comments. I'm a S Valley fan and I know we could well be oh and 2 after Friday but could we work our way back into the poll?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous if you really dug deep, you would learn how to spell. Don't worry about us, we'll see y'all in December. We won't be rusty then.

Anonymous said...

L-Dub, why no love for the Hornets? All we did was win state and 13 in a row

Anonymous said...

Langston....if you do write about Elijah, you should talk to his teachers....I hear he is a fantastic kid....good genes, yes....good parents, absolutely!

A teachers husband

Anonymous said...

OK Yall...lol
see who in DEC?

Anonymous said...

College Polls are hard enough to predict, with player turnover and coaching changes each year, High School is even harder. You are talking about 16. 17 and 18 year old boys. Most teams loose about half of there players each year (Seniors graduate). Mallard Creek only returned 9 starters according to Max Preps (5 OFF and 4 DEF). Butler returned 12 starters (9 OFF and 3 DEF). So to say Vance lost 75 percent of there team (starters), we are only talking about 3 or 4 less players than Mallard Creek. It also makes a difference which positions and how good are those returning. Those that have a lot of returning players were probably not a great team the year before but a good team. Programs are great (Independence, Butler, Richmond, West Rowan, Catholic) so they are going to get the nod in the preseason over an up and comer like Mooresville and Berry. But as we see coaching changes can have a big effect on High School football – positive or negative.

Preseason Polls are nothing but opinion, as we saw last year in college football when Texas was preseason 5 and Auburn 22 and Stanford was not even ranked. Auburn finished 1 and Stanford 4 and Texas was not even ranked. That is why we play the games.

We all take polls and rankings very personal and I see why some complain about there teams not being there and who is above who. Passion about ones team makes all football great. But to call someone an idiot over a preseason poll is a little bit much.

The great thing we have in High School Football in NC is a playoff at the end of the season to determine the Champions (8 champions) unlike College.

Anonymous said...

ya'll is MC. We, Butler,will see you again

Anonymous said...

West Rowan has no chance of another state tittle.The d line is not as good as last year. the db's are green, all sophomores. they will give up points to a good passing game. The real problem is the offense. the lins ok,but again not as good as last years line. the wr's are at best average. The running back predicted to be allstate,but if the mooresville game is a clue, won't happen. And the biggest problem is the qb.They have 2 competing for the job. The ones a transfer from mallard creek. He can run, but he runs to the defense.Can't pass at all. the other can pass better, but that's it. No real group of athletes, like in the past.If you've seen any of there scrimmages, the panther 7on7, or the nation 7on7 in ala. this summer, you know thery're really green. The south point game is a lose, but they have 4 or 5 other game they could lose as well.

Anonymous said...

Hey I am just seeing this, but Langston did his homework on Vance..... They have about 5 Jrs that will go MAJOR D1 and a stud LB who will play major college football next year. I don't have a dog in the fight, but I have followed Vance for the last couple of years cause my grand daughter is a soccer player over there. Believe me when I tell you they are legit and what happened last Friday, I still can't believe! But it is a long season and I am looking forward to this year! Lots of good teams in the area! Keep up the great work Langston!

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how teams in the west are ovelooked. Morganton Freedom won ten games last year. They have the 2010 player of the year in the conference( Mike Helms) back as well as 6or7 other all conference players including preseason all- state WR Ray Beam. They have another equally talented WR David Duckworth and one of the fastest guys in the state at corner Jaylen Martin. To top that they have one of the most hard hitting safties and most versatile players Marcus Kincaid. They got no recognition.

Julian Cuthbertson said...

Good article here to explain your process for coming up with the poll.

Like someone said before there are always deserving teams that get left off and bust that are on the list. But you summarized it all by saying the poll is subjective even after all the consideration. Some people are just never happy and whine all time

I'd tell em' go undefeated and you wont have a chance to be left off the poll.

Anonymous said...

With Newsome at Kannapolis, will the wonders have a chance at the state tittle?

ashcroft said...

If B beats A and they have only played each other. How can A still be ranked ahead of B regardless of the previous ranking? The true measure was a face to face game played on the field not in the rankings.

Anonymous said...

I heard Newsome's interview went like this-- Can you beat Charlotte Catholic? he said "yeah sure" they gave him the job.

Anonymous said...

Richmond Sr is in the coverage area. How come they are not eligible?

Anonymous said...

Its the dumbest poll on earth and nothing but local yocal favortism meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

The ONLY real poll is MaxPrep that ranks all NC schools in all sports including football in all 50 states and on a national basis.

Go to Max Prep and simply enter your high school in the top right corner box and get your NC and national ranking.

Forget the meaningless little local yocal polling done by amatuers. Get the real deal plus inside scoop on high school amatuer sports in general.

http://www.maxpreps.com/national/national.htm

Anonymous said...

If the poll is more of a power poll then it should be expanded to include teams that used to be in the poll. How is Watauga in the coverage area while Richmond County, Gaffney, and Spartanburg are not? All three of those would be ranked year in year out. From the CLT Observer corporate office it is a shorter drive to all three places I listed than it is to Boone.

Anonymous said...

I STILL don't see Cannon on the list of eligible schools. As members of the CISAA, they have the same rules as sister schools Country Day, Latin, Christian, and Providence Day...why are they there ONLY mmebers not on the list?

ondyan said...

In past years, as you know, teams played 11 and would drop one. Should've double checked that. I didn't. Now I was wrong about Butler's schedule. My bad.



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