Williams Blog: Dick Vitale ranks ISU higher than any other pollster

AMES — One of my favorite national columns to read on a weekly basis is Gary Parrish’s “Poll Attacks” piece over at Parish targets a ridiculous poll or two every week and aims to hold writers around the country accountable for where they are ranking teams in their weekly top 25 ballots.

I have covered Iowa State for almost a decade now and since the Cyclones haven’t had many consistently ranked teams during that span, I haven’t had much of an opportunity to do much digging. But when the AP Poll was released on Monday morning (Iowa State was 17th), I got the hankering to do a little investigating of my own. 

(Note: The site is a fantastic resource for this.)

When I researched who had Iowa State where, I was pleasantly surprised when none other than ESPN’s legendary color commentator Dick Vitale had Iowa State higher than any other pollster, at No. 8. It is notable that Vitale called Iowa State’s victory over Michigan in November. After Vitale, every other pollster had Iowa State ranked anywhere from 10th to 21st, with 18th being the most popular position (15 voters ranked Iowa State 18th). Anywhere from 10 to 21 seems reasonable. 

But then, there is Ron Morris, a writer for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. Morris was the only writer (of 66 pollsters) that left Iowa State off of his ballot. That alone makes a guy scratch his head but when I dug deeper into Morris’ ballot, him leaving Iowa State off makes a lot more sense. That’s because the guy either A) doesn’t watch college basketball or B) is legitimately crazy.

Morris ranked six different teams higher than anybody else. According to the poll’s statistics, he is thes second most extreme pollster of the bunch behind Doug Doughty of the Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Va. 

Note: Only one Iowan is voting in the poll this year – that is John Bohnenkamp from the Hawk Eye in Burlington. Bohnenkamp had Iowa State 13th on his ballot. 

Chris Williams


Chris was hired as Cyclone Fanatic’s publisher in the fall of 2009. He is Iowa State football's postgame show host on the Cyclone Radio Network and can be heard daily from 4-7 on Des Moines' top-rated sports station, 1460 KXnO. Williams, a 2007 graduate of Iowa State’s Greenlee School of Journalism, is the former publisher of the old ( He has also written for the Des Moines Register, the Ames Tribune, and is the former sports director at KMA Radio. When Williams isn’t working, you can usually find him doing something outdoors with his wife Ashley, daughter Camryn, and Golden Retriever Dierks. He enjoys golfing, boating, country music, the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Braves and is passionate about any and all motor sports so finding Williams at a local dirt track is very common.