Whether it's mid-August or mid-November, it's something I hear year in and year out.
"What were you guys thinking?"
"Who votes on these things?"
"The media proves again they know nothing"
Those are generally thoughts and complaints if you will that I hear after a preseason high school football or basketball poll has been published online or in print. But here's the thing, I DO agree with one of those complaints.
Who votes on these things? Well, the somewhat catch-22 problem with that is, just about everyone does. Let me explain.
There are multiple newspaper and radio outlets that attend these preseason votes every year and some of them vote on a conference poll in which they have no area teams in that conference and have never seen 95% of those teams even play. That is something I totally disagree with. Take Monday night for example...the different leagues and conferences were the following:
Firelands Conference, Northern Ohio League, Midland Athletic League, North Central Conference and the Ohio Cardinal Conference. Those last two conferences feature zero Register area teams, therefore I chose not to vote in them because what sense would it make? I cannot offer any assesment or input of those teams, so why bother?
Well, unfortunately for right or for wrong, some of voters in attendance to not take that route, which can lead to some skewed results. For example, Tiffin Columbian's girls team got 14-of-15 first place votes in the NOL girls, but the lone dissenter said it will be Upper Sandusky. In the Ohio Cardinal Conference, someone gave a first place vote to Mansfield Madison.
If either of those above mentioned teams win their conference title, I'll buy Subway chocolate chip cookies for everyone.
I know it looks better on paper if there are a high number of voters for each conference (NOL had 15), but I'd rather have people voting that see the teams on a regular basis to give our readers, coaches and players more predictable results. Another good example was back in August when someone voted St. Paul to finish third in the FC in football...you know, the same St. Paul that averaged 51 points per game in the regular season while torching the rest of the conference. A result that most everyone, including fans and opposing coaches, saw coming.
Anyway, in the end these polls really are all in good fun although some take it way too seriously. At the very least, it gives us all something to talk about....and apparently gives coaches and players motivation as I know one coach who is already preparing to tack the results up on the good ol' bulletin board.
So have at it and dissect all the area preseason polls. On paper I do not expect this to be a strong year by usual standards across the board, but hopefully I'm wrong on that.