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.