Another OVC football media day is in the book, and once again the OVC has released a preseason poll that deviates little from last year’s final standings.
So, you know, tradition.
Every year, coaches and players tell the media how little these mean. They point to how inaccurate they’ve been, pointing quite often to 2012 where EIU was picked 8th and won the conference.
Of course, none of those teams have a Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster, but that’s beside the point for now.
Last year, the coaches and SID’s got exactly two picks right: the champion (Jacksonville State) and the team at the bottom of the league. (Austin Peay) In fact, they’ve gotten both the champion and the worst team right each of the last four years.
But how about the rest? Is there a bias towards and against certain teams? I took a quick look at the preseason polls and final standings every year since Samford left the league in 2007. Over the past nine years, the preseason poll has missed on every team (obviously) but two programs stood out.
Below is a list of where teams finished compared to their preseason rank that year. For example, if Murray State was picked sixth and finished fifth in the league, they would get a +1 for that year. Higher scores mean a school overperformed their ranking. Negative scores mean a team under performed their rankings.
|School||Total above/below preseason rankings||Seasons Overperforming||Seasons Underperforming||Season equaling ranking|
Interestingly, UT Martin, a chronically under ranked team, was picked to finish second this year, their highest preseason ranking since 2009. That’s also the only year in the past nine they finished below their preseason ranking — finishing fifth.
The most over ranked team? Eastern Kentucky, who finished in 8th last year after being picked 2nd in the league. If it weren’t for that 2012 team I mentioned earlier, EIU would have been the most over rated team: they finished 7 ranks higher than their preseason ranking that year, when they went from being picked 8th to winning the league. The other eight years? They had a -12 +/-
Also, Austin Peay was picked last in the preseason rankings for the seventh consecutive year. They did on the other hand receive 21 points, their most in those six years.
Some other notes:
- Tennessee Tech has over-performed their preseason rankings each of the last three years
- The best year for the OVC preseason rankings was undoubtedly 2013, when the rankings picked 5 of the 9 ranks perfect. In fact, only EKU finished more than one away from their preseason rank.
- The worst year? There are a few: 2012 saw EIU win the league from 8th, 2010 saw SEMO win the league from a tie for 7th, and every team’s rank was wrong in 2009.