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Polling The SEC: Week One Composite Rankings

Alabama has a very strong service. Still, one ranking source is drunk. And, while Auburn is the AP/Coaches sweetheart, over 30 other analytical polls suggest the Tigers are ranked too highly.

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Week One of the 2015 season is in the books, and the SEC has already set a new record -- most teams in the AP top 25, with a staggering ten (10!) conference teams ranked.

As I did with preseason polls, I have combined 37 polls and ranking services to see how SEC teams are ranked. Here's what I found.

SEC Domination

The number of great and really good SEC teams is astounding.

Besides the aforementioned AP Poll record, Massey has 11 SEC teams in his Top 25 and 12 in his Top 26.

Thirteen of the 14 SEC teams are in at least one source's Top 25 -- even Kentucky.

Composite Top 5

There are two SEC teams in the Composite Top 4.

Alabama jumped TCU, Oregon fell from 3 to 5, Georgia jumped from 6 to 4 (despite getting a lower average rank), and Baylor fell from 5 to 6.

Rank, Team, Average Rank, Previous Rank

  1. Ohio State (1.6, 1.9)
  2. Alabama (2.9, 3.4)
  3. TCU (5.3, 5.0)
  4. Georgia (7.9, 7.4)
  5. Oregon (8.1, 4.5)

The Tide Proved Its Mettle

Alabama had the highest preseason average rank and the lowest range and standard deviation of all SEC teams, which means that everyone knew they were going to be good. Even with questions at quarterback, the Tide rolled over Wisconsin and improved its average ranking from 3.4 to 2.9, including moving from #3 to #2 in the Coaches and AP Polls.

Twelve of the 37 sources ranked the Tide #1:

  1. B Wilson Empirical
  2. Fremeau Efficiency Index
  3. Hatch
  4. Howell
  5. Laz Index
  6. Marsee
  7. Massey
  8. OSCAR Predictive
  9. Payne
  10. PerformanZ
  11. Pugh
  12. Sagarin

Either Auburn Is Overrated or 30 Polling Services Are Very Wrong.

I don't mean to Gump, but it would appear that the major polls are overvaluing the Tigers.

The AP has Auburn at #6 and the Coaches have them at #7, but their average ranking across the 37 sources is 14.3. They're the only SEC team whose AP and Coaches rankings are more than four spots off their average ranking. Almost all sources bought into the offseason hype, but the AP and Coaches weren't fazed by Auburn's poor showing against Louisville. Are the computers overreacting or are the AP and Coaches being stubborn?

Texas A&M Shocked the World

A&M entered the season hoping new defensive coordinator John Chavis could improve on a defense that was dead last in the conference a season ago. The Aggies would know early on whether or not the hire was a good one as they faced #15 Arizona State in Week 1. The Aggs rolled 38-17, and the defense that allowed 450 yards per game last season gave up fewer than 300.

As a result, Texas A&M's average ranking rose from 24.6 to 15.5 -- from 9th-best in the SEC to 5th overall.


CSL has the fewest SEC teams in its Top 25, they dropped SEC teams that won and severely underrated half the conference.

CSL has only four SEC teams in its Top 25 (#7 Bama, #8 Georgia, #18 Missouri, #22 Mississippi State). No other polling service else has fewer than eight ranked conference teams.

Alabama beat #20 Wisconsin and fell from #4 to #7 per CSL. Ole Miss scored 76 and fell from 23 to 35. Unranked Texas A&M beat #15 Arizona State and fell 17 spots. LSU's game got canceled and CSL dropped them from 33 to 61!

CSL gave seven of the fourteen SEC teams their worst ranking, usually by a wide margin. LSU's average ranking is 18.3, but CSL has them at #61. No one else has the Cajun Corndogs lower than #32. CSL has Ole Miss 23 spots below their average, Auburn at 25 spots below their average, Tennessee 28 spots below, and Texas A&M 33 spots below their average. In the chart below, CSL is represented by the brown dots that are far below the cluster for many teams.


On the other side of the coin, while ESPN's FPI gave Alabama it's worst ranking (9), they and Hatch gave four SEC teams their highest ranking.

SEC Composite Rankings

Team AP Coaches Average High Low
Alabama Crimson Tide 2 2 2.9 1 (12 sources)
9 (CTW, FPI)
Georgia Bulldogs 10 9 7.9 3 (D1A)
18 (HAT)
Ole Miss Rebels 17 14 12.1 2 (DEZ, FPI)
35 (CSL)
Auburn Tigers 6 7 14.3 4 (COL, PGH)
39 (CSL)
Texas A&M Aggies 16 19 15.5 2 (HAT) 48 (CSL)
Arkansas Razorbacks 18 18 17.4 3 (BDF)
49 (PFZ)
LSU Tigers 14 15 18.3 4 (DEZ, FPI)
61 (CSL)
Missouri Tigers 21 21 21.0 10 (HOW)
37 (DEZ)
Mississippi State Bulldogs 25 26 23.5 9 (WOL)
40 (BDF)
Tennessee Volunteers 23 23 25.5 11 (FPI)
54 (CSL)
Florida Gators 32 36 30.3 12 (DEZ)
49 (FEI)
South Carolina Gamecocks
32 35.3 19 (HAT, HOW)
58 (CSL)
Kentucky Wildcats

61.4 24 (HAT)
101 (PFZ)
Vanderbilt Commodores

88.1 62 (FPI)
111 (CSL)