Poll Watch - Week 7

After another huge victory, this time over West Virginia, the Bears climbed a few spots and now sit as a top 15 team.

The college football polls can be an interesting observation point. Take the Baylor Bears for instance. Baylor jumped more spots in their bye week than they did after throttling Big 12 foe West Virginia this past Saturday. Of course, there are many factors that go into rising in the polls - your own team winning only being a small part of the equation.

As the Bears take to the road to face Kansas State, they will be bringing a #15 ranking in both the Coaches and AP Poll. This is the first time in quite a while the two polls have matched up on the Bears standing.

The reason the two polls now match up is that Baylor jumped 2 spots in the AP, and 1 spot in the Coaches. As always, we have no information on how the votes play out in the coaches, but an inside look at the AP is revealing.

The highest ranking the Bears received was a #5 ranking. Last week that number was #10, and came from the same voter - Josh Kendall. Kendall, as we noted last week, is a writer out of South Carolina. Kendall isn't the only one that has Baylor in the top 10 - add Seth Emerson (9), Andy Staples (10), and Joe Giglio (10) to that list as well.

Finally, Jon Wilner has decided the Bears are worthy of a top 25 vote, putting them at #22. Something quirky to note is that Wilner explains in his blog post that he put the Bears in at #23, yet the official poll tracking site says he put the Bears at #22. His comment for not ranking the Bears higher? "Don't have the Bears higher because of the cupcake schedule: Wofford, Buffalo, Louisiana-Monroe and the struggling Mountaineers. I care more about the quality of the opposition than the number of points scored."

Just for kicks, we did a quick test on Wilner's own reasoning. Ohio State played the same Buffalo team in Week 1. How did Wilner rank the Buckeyes after their only opponent was Buffalo? #4.

Something else Bear fans might want to watch for is Chris Fowler. Many saw him question Baylor on College Gameday this past week, and he is consistently one of the bottom 5 rankers of Baylor. This week, he has them at #18, while the average ranking of Baylor is 14.65.

It is unknown if Fowler's University of Colorado roots have anything to do with his ill will towards Baylor, or if he just does not respect the Bears opponents thus far. But after calling out the Bears before Saturday's slate of games, he felt compelled to improve their ranking from #20 to #18 after the Bears manhandled the Mountaineers.

For Saturday's games, there is very little in obvious poll movement games that could affect Baylor. There are a couple of ranked vs ranked games, but they are of the type that mostly should not help Baylor's ranking. Later in the season, Baylor has the potential to play 3 ranked teams. Assuming Baylor is still winning its games, that will be Baylor's best opportunity to proceed further up the rankings, outside of upsets directly above them of course.

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