Column: No great science in rankings
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
Prep football fans who follow some of the state’s top programs express delight or disgust every week when the Alabama Sports Writers’ Association’s rankings are released.
A fuss over rankings that are virtually meaningless.
There is no Bowl Championship Series at stake in prep football. The state’s seven champions - six in the Alabama High School Athletic Association and one in the Alabama Interscholastic Schools Association - are all decided by a series of playoffs that are not influenced by the rankings in any shape, form or fashion.
And most prep football fans know this. Still, bragging rights are on the line.
As a weekly voter, I can reveal that there really is no science to ranking teams in seven different classifications.
Typically, when teams lose games, they drop in the poll. Some drop a lot, while some stay in the rankings depending on the team’s opponent in the lost game.
So when No. 1 loses - as was the case when Cullman was upset by unranked Erwin last week - the top spot is usually taken over by the next highest team that won that week.
It’s not exactly a science. It’s more a tradition.
Well, I’m breaking traditon.
After beating Russellville and Cordova - two teams ranked at the top of their respective classes, Hartselle moved to third overall in the Class 5A poll with four first place votes. One was mine.
Usually, in that same situation, Central of Tuscaloosa would get my No. 1 vote. And they would be more than worthy of the top ranking after a big win Friday to improve to 5-0.
But Hartselle’s two wins over two No. 1 teams was certainly hard to overlook. I don’t remember a team knocking off two top-ranked teams in successive weeks during my time as a voter.
I’m sure it’s happened. I just don’t know when.
The ASWA rankings are supposed to reflect the best teams in the state in each classification. Hartselle proved on the field that they were better than the top-ranked team in Class 5A three weeks ago and the No.1 Class 3A team two weeks ago.
That’s good enough for me.
Sports editor Todd Thompson can be reached at 773-6566 or by email at email@example.com