Caulton Tudor

Polls justifiably baffle Duke, ECU fans

Posted August 18, 2014

Duke's Jamison Crowder during the Blue Devils' game versus Wake Forest on November 23, 2013 in Winston-Salem, NC.  Duke defeated Wake Forest 28-21 (Photo by Jack Morton).

— Florida State went off at No. 11 in the 2013 preseason Associated Press football poll. That’s something Duke, ECU and UNC fans should keep in mind -- although for different reasons -- in view of the strange nature of the 2014 preseason poll that was released Sunday.

As was the case in the USA Today/Coaches poll, which was released earlier, UNC surprisingly came in 23rd.

Duke, which won the ACC Coastal Division and defeated the Tar Heels last season, was not ranked. Ditto for ECU, which completely routed Carolina (59-38) in Chapel Hill.

The Pirates went on to a 10-3 finish with an easy bowl win. Duke wound up 10-4 but only after a 52-48 loss to heavy favorite Texas A&M in the postseason.

Carolina, on the other hand, finished a relatively modest 7-6 but closed with an impressive win over Cincinnati (39-17) in Charlotte’s Belk Bowl.

Since the previous season’s performance normally is the driving force behind preseason polls in almost all sports, it’s understandable that Duke and ECU fans feel their teams were disrespected and at the expense of elevated appreciation for an in-state rival.

It’s for sure that the Tar Heels’ top-25 status qualifies as one of the most surprising aspects of both the AP and Coaches poll.

Not only are the Tar Heels the only 7-win team from a year ago included in the top 25, they easily bested Missouri (12-2 in 2013), Washington (9-4), Central Florida (12-1), Louisville (12-1) and Oklahoma State (10-3) among others in the voting.

Meanwhile, the Pirates didn’t get a single voting point in either poll, which not only is baffling, but an insult to what Ruffin McNeill, his coaches and players have accomplished against often long odds and routinely difficult non-conference schedules.

Not only that, the Pirates have two of the school’s all-time most prolific offensive players returning in wide-out Justin Hardy and quarterback Shane Carden.

Duke retains eight offensive starters from 2013, including quarterback Anthony Boone and wide-out Jamison Crowder, and several defensive leaders. Obviously that defense took a big hit last week when linebacker Kelby Brown suffered a season-ending knee injury, but it’s rare that preseason injuries have much bearing on the poll voters.

UNC’s poll popularity no doubt is due in large part to Larry Fedora’s recruiting success, the presence of a certified field-flipper in return man/wide-out Ryan Switzer and expectations for dramatic defensive improvement.

But there’s also the fact that the Heels will have to visit ECU for their first road game, Duke for their last road game and three others to Clemson, Notre Dame and Miami in between. While it’s entirely possible UNC will be favored against both the Pirates and Devils, the 6-game road schedule (Virginia is also in the mix) isn’t exactly inviting.

Most fans, and even a few coaches, see preseason polls as essentially harmless and there’s no question that major surprises -- for better or for worse -- occur each season to disrupt August logic. At No. 10, and ranked just ahead of Florida State last season in the AP preseason poll, was Florida. The Gators finished 4-8, including a late-season loss to Georgia Southern.

At the opposite extreme, Missouri didn’t land a single preseason 2013 AP vote. Neither did Duke, ECU and Central Florida.

But many coaches take the polls seriously, primarily because they remember better than the fans that there have been times when preseason votes have given root to false security for those included and elevated motivation for those disregarded.

It’s probably a cold lock that Fedora will remind his team of that fact during the next few days.

66 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • dukiedon45 Aug 23, 2014

    Pre-season polls aren't going to make a lick of difference in what kind of season a team has. I guess if you are playing for a national championship it's good to start off no.1. I don't believe Duke or ECU falls into that category. As long as Duke and ECU continues to beat AASU, that's all that matters.

  • 123skipjack Aug 23, 2014

    it is so hard to be the redheaded step childs...

  • dogsturningonyou Aug 22, 2014

    I will hypothesize that UNC-CH generates more page views/clicks than any University in NC. They are the big cheese.

    Big cheese, huh? Epoisses or Vieux Boulogne would characterize their smell........

  • ? Aug 22, 2014

    I'm pretty certain a pre-season poll is nothing more than a prediction for the upcoming season. Hopefully, that will clear things up for dook and ezu fans.

  • Steven Aug 21, 2014

    UNC being ranked at all is a joke.

  • grampasbaby Aug 20, 2014

    "Ditto for ECU, which completely routed Carolina (59-38) in Chapel Hill."

    59-0, or at a minimum 59-7, would be a route. 59-38, is nothing more than a decisive victory.

  • uBnice Aug 20, 2014

    View quoted thread



    UNC-CH generates interest and excitement for many, both positive and negative.

    I will hypothesize that UNC-CH generates more page views/clicks than any University in NC. They are the big cheese.

  • JDT0827 Aug 20, 2014

    Pre-season poll controversy!! If the Tudor isn't a dollar short and a day late with his articles, it's back to something involving UNC, the old tried and true attention getter. This may be about something as meaningless as a pre-season poll and UNC, but it still gets all kinds of ECU and Pack fans' panties in a twist. Surprising to absolutely noone ever.

  • dave437 Aug 19, 2014

    "UNC’s poll popularity no doubt is due in large part to Larry Fedora’s recruiting success, the presence of a certified field-flipper in return man/wide-out Ryan Switzer and expectations for dramatic defensive improvement."

    i doubt a single voter is thinking about recruiting, nor Ryan Switzer.... and everyone expects this defense to stink again this season.....

  • bobbobson23 Aug 19, 2014

    I'm justifiably baffled as to why Caulton Tudor posted last year's UNC/ECU final score as 59-38 when it was 55-31. A rout is a rout, but if you can't get the basic facts right, why are we wasting an article about subjective preseason polls?

More...

 

 

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

    Tonight at 9:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
Final
DET 4
ATL 6
 
Final
TAM 2
BAL 3
 
Final
PIT 1
NYY 2
 
Final
HOU 6
PHI 3
 
Final
MIA 1
STL 4
 
Final
SFG 8
CHC 6
 
Final
CIN 3
CLE 9
 
Final
CWS 1
LOS 6
 
Final
ANA 3
MIL 2
 
Final
CHC 2
OAK 2
 
Final
SEA 9
SDP 4
 
Final
KAN 5
TEX 4
 
Final
ARI 4
COL 3
 
5th
WAS 3
NYM 4
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
OKC
10:30pm Tonight
POR
DAL
Final
MDES 89
MRGST 76
 
Final
SIENA 71
NIAG 54
 
7:00pm Tonight
LEH
AMER
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
ARK
7:00pm Tonight
LAF
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
PETE
FAIR
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENNM
MORE
7:00pm Tonight
COL
NAVY
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
UAB
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
USCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHAR
WKENT
7:00pm Tonight
MINN
WISC
7:05pm Tonight
MIZST
SILL
7:30pm Tonight
COPST
DELST
 
7:30pm Tonight
FIU
MTST
7:30pm Tonight
HAMP
NORST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
SCST
 
7:30pm Tonight
APP
TXST
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
TXARL
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
UGST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ODU
MARS
8:00pm Tonight
TXSA
RICE
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
SAV
 
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SMISS
8:15pm Tonight
LALAF
ARKLR
 
8:30pm Tonight
JST
ALAAM
 
8:30pm Tonight
GRAM
ALAST
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
NICST
CARK
 
8:30pm Tonight
TAMCC
HOUB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NARZ
PORST
 
8:30pm Tonight
LAM
SHSU
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARKST
SALA
 
8:30pm Tonight
PVU
SOUTH
 
8:45pm Tonight
NO
SELA
 
9:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
ABCHRIST
 
9:00pm Tonight
MVSU 0
ARKPB 0
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
COL
9:00pm Tonight
BEL
EILL
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
IDAHO
 
9:00pm Tonight
QUIN
MAR
9:00pm Tonight
UCONN
MEM
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
UNT
9:00pm Tonight
STEPH
NWST
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
SACST
 
9:00pm Tonight
DAVID
VCU
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
EWASH
 
9:35pm Tonight
DRAK
BRAD
10:00pm Tonight
LBSU
CSNO
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
CSFU
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UCR
 
11:00pm Tonight
ARST
STAN
11:00pm Tonight
WASU
UTAH
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
CAL
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIN
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
STL
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
DAL
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
NYI
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
VAN
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
MON