Poll Watch: Baylor Bears

What better time to review where Baylor stands in the national polls than after a bye week.

After resting up over the weekend on a bye, the Baylor Bears got some good news Sunday afternoon in the form of the national polls. Baylor moved up in both polls, landing at #19 in the USA Today Coach's Poll and #20 in the AP.

Unfortunately for poll pundits, the Coach's Poll doesn't release weekly results. It would be nice to know which coaches think your team is legit and which are underselling (over overselling) you. Thankfully, the AP does provide those results, so let us dig in to see what it says about Baylor.

Interestingly, Baylor's highest ranking, #11, comes from one of the most respected and knowledgeable writers in the poll, Andy Staples of SportsIllustrated. Staples is the type of writer you would love to see throughout the poll; he has a good grasp of all conferences, he has travelled to and knows the personnel of many teams, and he holds no apparent biases. That is a sure sign of respect for Baylor to receive an 11 ranking from Staples.

On the other end of the spectrum, 4 writers left Baylor unranked. All 4 of the writers finished in the top 10 list of "Extreme" voters for the week, which essentially means that they had many more outlier rankings compared to their peers.

One of the examples is Jon Wilner, who writes for the Mercury News on the West Coast. Even though we disagree with his ranking, and he has undersold Baylor before, the thing we appreciate about Wilner is that he publishes his explanation for his picks. You may disagree with his reasoning, but at least he put thought into it. Looking at his ranking, you see that he put UCLA #4. Although Wilner rightfully uses this year's results as his basis, it is hard to ignore that the two programs of Baylor and UCLA are not vastly different than their versions that finished the year last year - and Baylor was in another league compared to UCLA beating them 49-19 in the Holiday Bowl. It is not clear how Wilner squares that fact, other than discounting Baylor's season thus far, likely based on its schedule.

Other notable items from Baylor's ranking was that #21 was actually the highest frequency ranking it received (10 times), but those that really liked them - Staples (11), Seth Emerson (13), Joe Giglio (14), and others - bumped up their numbers enough to land them at 20. Longtime Big 12 expert Tim Griffin from the San Antonio Express News has Baylor at 18, and Austin American Statesmen writer Kirk Bohls has Baylor at 21. Broadcasters Charles Davis and Chris Fowler are not buying in fully yet - both putting Baylor at 23.

Other Big 12 teams in the polls include Oklahoma State (11 AP, 11 Coach's) Oklahoma (14, 12), and Texas Tech (25, NR). Tech makes its first appearance in quite some time, much to the delight of Kliff Kingsbury and the Tech fan base. Preseason top 15 team Texas is completely out of the rankings and receiving no votes after 2 straight losses, and 1-2 TCU is also out of the poll and only receiving 3 AP votes (and no Coach's votes). Bill Synder has a fan out there as Kansas State is the only other Big 12 team receiving votes - 6 points in the Coach's Poll (no AP votes).

Based upon the matchups in Week 4, chances are there will be very little movement in the polls. Outside of (23) Arizona State at (5) Stanford, no other games feature 2 ranked teams, and the other games featuring top 25 teams look to be big point spreads in nearly every game.

Certainly at this stage rankings matter way more to fans than to any players or coaches, but it is nice for the Baylor fanbase to get some respect for its team. Look for that to continue assuming Baylor can take care of business against the University of Louisiana Monroe next Saturday.

Be sure to check back daily as we get you ready for Baylor's third game of the season - you will not find the diversity of articles and information anywhere else - so stay with BearsIllustrated.com and come inside to the premium message board to join great discussion and interaction between Baylor fans!

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