Poll Attacks: You realize Iowa State took a loss Saturday, right?

Ever seen a team ranked fifth lose to an unranked team and then be ranked fourth?

Me neither!

But one AP voter did exactly that with his ballot.

Naturally, he’s the star of this week’s Poll Attacks.

AP poll: Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune had Iowa State ranked fifth last week, which was understandable and about where everybody had Iowa State ranked last week.

The Cyclones were No. 7 in the preseason.

They started 9-0.

And, simply put, when you’re ranked that high in the preseason you’re going to stay that high until you lose, regardless of how you look or whether you have quality wins. That’s just the way it goes. Hell, I had Iowa State ranked fourth in the Top 25 (and one) last Monday. So, again there was nothing silly about Jay having Iowa State ranked fifth.

But now Jay Drew is being silly.

Why, you ask? Because he now has Iowa State ranked fourth on his Associated Press ballot — as if Iowa State didn’t just lose to unranked Northern Iowa on a neutral court.

In case you missed it, like Jay must’ve missed it, Iowa State took its first loss this past weekend, to unranked UNI, and that fact led most to take a closer look at Iowa State’s now-blemished résumé. And what you see when you take a closer look at Iowa State’s now-blemished résumé is that the Cyclones haven’t done much. They have zero wins over ranked schools, and just two wins over top-50 KenPom teams. So their 9-1 record lacks substance. And that’s why the Cyclones tumbled from No. 5 to No. 11 in this week’s poll, because they do not have the wins to offset a neutral-court loss to an unranked opponent.

This development, rooted in logic, makes sense to most everybody.

But it must be baffling to Jay.

Because he now has Iowa State ranked not fifth but fourth!

And I hope you understand what happened here, because it really is hilarious. If not, I’ll walk you through it one more time: Jay Drew had a 9-0 Iowa State team ranked No. 5 last Monday. Then Iowa State lost to unranked Northern Iowa, dropped to 9-1. And Jay responded by moving the Cyclones up to No. 4 because … honestly … I have no idea. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a No. 5 team lose to an unranked opponent and move up to No. 4 on an AP ballot the following week. But the Poll Attacks were built for this type of nonsensical thing. So I do appreciate Jay’s nonsensical ballot.

Coaches poll: There’s nothing in this week’s Coaches poll that makes as little sense as moving Iowa State from No. 5 to No. 4 after a loss to an unranked team, but there is something that’s never made much sense to me.

That something is what happened to UCLA.

The Bruins received 59 points in last week’s Coaches poll. Then they beat Louisiana-Lafayette and lost a neutral-court game in the Eastern time zone to a North Carolina team that’s ranked 11th. And now UCLA only has 22 points in the poll. In other words, the Bruins were penalized for losing a game they were supposed to lose, and that’s something I try to never do in the Top 25 (and one) under any circumstances.

To be clear, you can rank UCLA or not rank UCLA.

Doesn’t matter to me.

I can see both sides of that argument.

But to rank UCLA one week and not rank UCLA the next — which is what clearly happened on some coaches’ ballots — based on little more than UCLA losing a game UCLA was supposed to lose isn’t something that makes sense in my mind. Bottom line, penalizing teams for losing games they’re supposed to lose provides an incentive for schools to not play challenging games, and that’s not something any of us should want to incentivize, is it?

One AP voter doesn’t realize Northern Iowa beat Iowa State. (USATSI)


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