Others Receiving Votes: Penn State 95, Virginia 85, Illinois 75, Boise State 37, Alabama 27, Wake Forest 18, Wisconsin 18, Rutgers 18, Clemson 9, Connecticut 7, Florida State 6, Maryland 6, Air Force 4, Brigham Young 2, Troy 1.
This is not a huge shocker. After all, we've talked about rankings in the past, in particular where Navy and Air Force stand in relation to each other. As I pointed out after the Air Force victory, several "ranking" services had Air Force ahead of Navy even after the Midshipmen defeated the Falcons. Two and a half weeks later find ourselves dealing with the same question, and can clearly see that the Falcons, at least in some peoples' minds, are better than the 4-2 Navy team which beat them.
Or are they?
It's important to remember that this is the Associated Press poll, which means, among other things, that the press votes on who belongs where. Air Force, as much as it may bother us to admit it, has done better than expected, and like it or not finds themselves at the Top of the MWC standings. What, pray tell, do you think the voters representing the MWC are going to do when they see that? I don't blame these voters, and as much as it may bother some Navy fans I'd probably do the same thing if I were covering a conference. Remember, people stick with their conferences, that's just the way it is. Had Navy been in a conference and Bill Wagner and Christian Swezney had votes, what do you think they would do?
Don't take it too personally that Air Force gets four votes in the AP poll while Navy gets none. While it may appear on the outside to reflect the "same old story" in regards to Navy not "getting respect," you have to look at these kinds of things objectively. If it's the "respect" angle your looking at, I think you'd be hard pressed to really find intelligent fans and media who think Air Force is a better team than Navy (outside of Colorado Springs of course.) While there is some credence to the argument that Navy matches up better against Air Force than other teams, that still shouldn't explain away the situation. If it's the exposure angle your looking at, well, I don't see how you could possibly see four votes in the AP Poll trumping three ESPN televised games, Sportscenter highlights, and a schedule that features Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and Notre Dame. By the same token however, this exposure may hurt Navy's ability to get votes in the poll, as actual, non-biased voters cringe at the sight of a defense ranked in the bottom 15 nationwide. And you know what, that's not necessarily as bad thing. With the defense we have right now, Navy doesn't deserve to receive Top 25 votes, although something tells me the Midshipmen may pick up a few votes as the season goes on.
If this issue of Air Force receiving votes is getting under your skin, don't let it. The Navy football team needs to worry about who's up next, and if they can take care of the rest of the schedule you'll find that these things work themselves out in the end. By the same token Air Force can't afford to worry about picking up four votes, and if the team can't deliver against BYU, Wyoming, or New Mexico then it's likely that the MWC voters who voted for the Falcons will switch gears to whoever looks like they'll have the inside track for the conference. This after all is college football, a what-have-you-done-for me-lately game characterized by intense regional loyalty and more than its fair share of politicking. At the very least, take comfort in knowing that your resident BlogPoll voter is having none of the hype, and will instead cast his 25th vote for the BYU Cougars.
In Case You Missed It, my semi-weekly post covering the rest of the college football world, will be up later today at SaturdaySoundsOffs.