Why Texas State Got A 16th-Place Vote In The AP Poll

For the time being, the Texas State Bobcats are the only team to be undefeated in their FBS history. Sure, they're just 1-0 all-time, joining the WAC this season after 23 years in the I-AA/FCS Southland conference. But that one was a stylish one. It was a 30-13 walloping of Houston, in Houston, that forced the immediate resignation of the Cougars' offensive coordinator. According to Pregame.com, Texas became only the seventh underdog of 34 points or more to win since 1980, and the first ever 34-or-more dog to win by double digits.

Good enough for 16th in the nation?

Ray Ratto thinks so. The CSN Bay Area writer submitted his Week 2 ballot, and there are the plucky Bobcats, sitting pretty at No. 16. This, despite none of the other 59 polled writers even ranking Texas State.

Polls are Serious Business, and with every ballot being public, it was only a matter of time before people got upset. We received a couple emails from fans angry at Ratto's votes, and someone's already changed his Wikipedia page to reflect his support of the Bobcats. Ratto addressed some of his Top 25 selections, but we figured we'd ask him for some more clarification. Texas State? Really?

Ratto writes in an email:

"My rationale, which I would assume will be dismissed as the ravings of an idiot, is that of all the upsets Saturday, the one foreseen by the fewest people was this one. Texas State dominated the game away from home against a team that averaged nine wins over the last six years in its first FBS game ever. Outgained them by more than 100, had the ball for 43 minutes - that kind of dominated. In fact, it went over so well that Houston fired its offensive coordinator the next day. Is 16 too generous? Probably. Could they disappear next week against Texas Tech? Hell yes they could. It's Week 2. But for one night, with so little data in what is always the worst week of the year for drawing conclusions, I'm fine with them where they are."

That's...actually more thought than probably goes into 95 percent of votes. Is Texas State the 16th best team in the nation? No, and Ratto concedes that. ("Don't steal their moment," he wrote. "It doesn't hurt you any.") But the AP Poll is for fun. For entertainment purposes only. It doesn't factor in to the BCS standings. Think of it like a power ranking, a barometer of the college landscape, calibrated by people who presumably watch a lot of football.

Of course, any power ranking is a lightning rod for misplaced vitriol from commenters who are convinced the voters are biased. The AP voters aren't, of course. But you know who is? The coaches, because they actually have a stake in the results. And for all the flaws and hypocrisy of the Coaches' Poll, guess which one actually helps determine which teams make the postseason?

All of which is to say, who gives a crap if the AP has Texas State 16th, or first, or unranked, or if USC drops to No. 2 despite winning by 39. It doesn't matter. None of this matters. Ratto again:

"Anyone who gets their delicates in a wad over the first week of a non-binding poll probably shouldn't be allowed to watch other people operate heavy machinery."