George from Montana has outdone himself this week.
(Seriously, you have no idea)
Let's do the Poll Attacks, shall we?
AP poll: Whenever I see a strange vote in the AP poll, particularly a strange single vote, I immediately go to ballots from the state of the school receiving the strange vote, because there is a certain "homer" factor that goes along with this stuff, and I've always found it interesting.
So that's what I did when TCU got a vote this week.
I went straight to the ballots from Texas.
Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News?
Nope, she's good.
Michael Murphy of the Houston Chronicle?
Nope, he's good.
Randy Riggs of the Austin American-Statesman?
Nope, he's good.
Jeff Walker of the Lubbuck Avalanche-Journal?
Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner!
I promise you, it never fails. The craziest single votes are always John Feinstein throwing some love at a Patriot League school or somebody taking care of an in-state program. With Walker, we have the latter, because there's no way TCU should be appearing on anybody's ballot, and I'm somebody who thinks Jim Christian was a good hire who will do good-to-great things in the future. But weekly AP ballots are supposed to be about the present, not the future, and TCU is presently a team with an 11-5 record featuring losses to Clemson (no shame there), Charleston, Nebraska, Indiana and Louisiana Tech.
Indiana is 5-10.
Louisiana Tech is 7-10.
So while TCU's weekend victory over UNLV was nice, that is the Horned Frogs' best win by far. And when your best win by far is against UNLV, that's not enough to offset five losses, particularly when two of those losses came to teams with losing records. Bottom line, TCU shouldn't be on Walker's ballot or any ballot unless we're talking football. But if the Horned Frogs somehow win at BYU on Tuesday night, I'll be open to re-evaluating the situation.
And now it's time for our weekly George Geise update, otherwise known as the "Curious Case of George Geise (and his handling of Xavier)": For those unfamiliar, check out last week's Poll Attacks, where I detailed how George (an AP voter from Montana) dropped Xavier from 12th to completely out of his Top 25 even though the Musketeers DID NOT lose in that particular week. Xavier fans no doubt let George know the error of his ways, and I'm happy to report he is now ranking Xavier 17th, which means Sean Miller's team moved up at least nine places (depending on how far they were off of George's ballot) after victories over Saint Louis and Fordham, but they have still somehow dropped five spots over the past two weeks despite a 4-0 record in that span.
Join the club!
But that's not even the worst of it.
Would you believe that George had Boston College ranked 25th last week, and that he moved the Eagles up to 19th this week following losses to Harvard and Miami? Yes, that really happened. Also, last week, George did not have West Virginia ranked at all. But then the Mountaineers went out and lost to Connecticut and Marquette, so, naturally, they broke into George's ballot at No. 25. And finally, there's Gonzaga, which was 16th on George's ballot last week. The Zags then beat Tennessee and Portland, but George clearly was not impressed, because he dropped Mark Few's team completely off his ballot while leaving Tennessee at No. 16.
Coaches poll: I don't doubt Saint Mary's is good, and that it might even be one of the best 25 teams in the country. As I've said many times, I don't think there's a whole bunch of difference between No. 15 and No. 40 this season. So if you'll accept that premise, and you believe Saint Mary's is one of the best 40 teams in the country, then I suppose it's OK for the Gaels to be 25th in the Coaches poll.
But I still must ask: What have they done to deserve it?
They aren't in possession of a good victory (unless you want to count Providence, which I don't), and they probably haven't even played a team that'll make the NCAA tournament. Likewise, the Gaels aren't obviously great despite quality wins like, say, UCLA. And it's not like they're perfect either, because they have a 13-point loss to UTEP.
So, I'll ask again, what has this team done to climb into the Top 25 besides play a simple schedule?
Correct answer: Nothing, really.
Every other ranked team -- save perhaps, UCLA, which falls into the "obviously good" category because of the roster featuring Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday and Josh Shipp -- has a victory better than Saint Mary's victory over Providence, and so I guess my point is just that I'm not a big fan of rewarding teams for playing bad schedules. It's why I would've never ranked Illinois State even if it moved to 20-0, why I had Pittsburgh ranked lower than just about everybody until it won at Georgetown, and why I have UCLA ranked lower than the AP and Coaches polls now.
Bottom line, I want to know who you can beat.
And as of Jan. 12, 2009, Saint Mary's hasn't beaten anybody.