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So earlier today Turtleboysports did a little expose on Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter, and AP Top 25 voter Kevin Gorman. If you didn’t read it, here’s the link. Basically to sum it up though, Gorman’s ballot was ridiculously biased and absurd. He voted Pittsburgh #15 overall, and they are unranked in both polls. Meanwhile he was the only one of 65 voters that did not include UMass in his poll.
Well, Mr. Gorman apparently read the blog and wanted to explain his reasoning. First of all, I would like to commend him for doing so. Not a lot of journalists have the guts to stand by what they believe in (however misguided that may be). He didn’t have to respond to me, but as they say, “Takes so hot Kevin Gorman try to find me.”
Here was his entire response. First I wanna take issue with this excerpt:
“a blogger used his forum as a bully pulpit to attack me.”
We here at Turtleboysports do not condone bullying of any sort. One could argue that going out of your way to keep the hardworking young men from UMass out of his Top 25 is a form of bullying, but I digress. We do however feel the need to call em as we see em. As a public figure who votes in a poll that millions of people follow, the way that Mr. Gorman votes is certainly open to criticism. That’s what was done. If Mr. Gorman doesn’t want to be criticized, then he should probably put a little more thought into his polls. Either that or get a job setting pins in a bowling alley. No one will complain about that.
I read the next paragraph and was kind of astonished at what I read:
“Fair enough. UMass is 9-0, ranks No. 2 nationally in RPI (.7111), behind Wisconsin. The Minutemen have beaten opponents from the ACC (Boston College and Clemson), Big Ten (Nebraska), Mountain West (New Mexico), Southeastern (LSU) and West Coast (BYU) conferences this season. By those standards — undefeated record, high RPI and opponents from quality conferences — the Minutemen certainly deserve to be ranked in the top 25.”
So he admits that UMass deserves to be ranked in the Top 25. Apparently Turtleboysports made him see the light. My work is done here – or so I thought. Instead he went on and attempted to explain why he was sticking by his poll. As much as I respect him for taking the time to do so, he made himself look even worse…
“First, this is not the first time I’ve been a dissenting voice in an AP poll. Yes, even though I cover high school sports (primarily writing columns on Western Pennsylvania football) for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I also have covered college football (Pitt and Penn State), as well as the Super Bowl and Stanley Cup Final (twice each) and countless other major sporting events”
First of all, being a dissenting voice in previous polls doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in your ability to competently cast your ballot. In 2009 he was one of two voters who had Texas ranked preseason #1, instead of Florida. The Gators ended up going undefeated until their final game against undefeated Alabama, which they lost to in the SEC Championship Game. Texas ended up playing Bama in the National Championship and got beat up on, as Florida probably would’ve done to them as well. Not exactly a good way to prove your credentials. Neither is covering the Stanley Cup, and a disgraced football program (Penn State).
So why doesn’t he have UMass ranked then?
“I didn’t have UMass in my preseason top 25, and the reason I don’t now is that it hasn’t beaten any teams that I have ranked in my ballots this season. (UMass did beat New Mexico, which I didn’t rank)”
So let me get this straight….He doesn’t have UMass ranked this week because they weren’t ranked in his preseason poll? So by that logic UMass can never be ranked right? After all, they weren’t in his preseason poll. And when they beat #19 New Mexico it didn’t really count as beating a ranked team, because HE didn’t have New Mexico ranked. It’s obviously the Minutemen’s fault that Kevin Gorman didn’t know about them coming into this year. Never mind the fact that they nearly made the tournament last year and returned the heart of their team. That would require actual research to discover, and we know how difficult that can be with the invention of the internet.
So why then does he have Pitt ranked so high?
“I did, however, rank Pitt in the preseason top 25. This is my second season on the Pitt men’s basketball beat, but I’ve covered them for more than a decade, first as the backup to the beat writer, later as a columnist. So I’ve seen my share of college basketball, and believe this Pitt team has a chance to be pretty good despite the graduation of Tray Woodall and Dante Taylor, the early entry of Steven Adams to the NBA and the transfers of J.J. Moore and Trey Zeigler.”
Oh I see. He ranked Pitt because he covers them. Gotcha. Yea, so they graduated all of their best players. Doesn’t matter though – because he BELIEVES they have a CHANCE to be a PRETTY GOOD team. That’s perfectly sound logic.
But, I mean, are the Panthers really that good?
“The Panthers are 10-0 heading into tonight’s game against Cincinnati in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. They have yet to beat a ranked opponent, although they have beaten teams from the Big Ten (Penn State), Big 12 (Texas Tech), Mountain West (Fresno State) and Pac-12 (Stanford) this season. They won nine games by double-digit margins.”
When Mr. Gorman wrote this he was indeed correct. They were 10-0. Karma is shedevil though. As I write this I am watching the almighty Panthers lose their first game of the season to the mighty powerhouse of Cincinnati. The same Cincinnati team who just lost to New Mexico (who of course UMass beat). The might Panthers of Pitt managed an impressive 42 points against this unranked team.
As for the other teams he’s listed, Penn State has lost to an Ivy League School (Princeton) and a Patriot League (Bucknell) school as well as two other losses. Stanford lost to BYU (who UMass beat), Texas Tech lost to Alabama, and Fresno State has lost to Utah, Cal, Drake, and Pacific.
Cool resume bro.
He went on…
“I expected the Panthers to be a top 25 team, so I ranked them 21st to start the season. They have since moved up six spots in my ballot.”
Gotta love Kevin’s spirit. He was wrong about Pitt since the beginning, therefore he has to stick by that for the rest of the season. Here is the first Top 25 poll of the season. As you may notice Pittsburgh appears in the “also receiving votes section.” They had six to be exact. Five came from Kevin. Here is a breakdown of how Mr. Gorman voted compared to others in that same poll. As you can see he grossly under or overvalues Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Louisville – all teams that were in the Big East last season.
“I don’t believe in punishing ranked teams for playing each other, especially when the games are close. That’s why I have a three-loss Kentucky team ranked No. 14 (ahead of undefeated Pitt). The Wildcats’ losses are to then-No. 2 Michigan State, then-No. 20 Baylor and then-No. 18 North Carolina. I have all three of those teams ranked ahead of Kentucky.”
Gotcha. So you don’t actually have to win games to stay up top in Kevin’s polls. Just keeping it close is all he asks for. Yea so Kentucky lost three times and UMass hasn’t lost at all. But UMass hasn’t beaten anyone from Kevin’s preseason poll, which is obviously the ultimate authority. Don’t ya see? Don’t ya get it? As long as he continues to put teams ahead of Kentucky that they’ve lost to, then there’s nothing wrong with his poll.
Why does he have Wisconsin so low? AP has them 4th, and Gorman has them 11th…
“That rationale doesn’t leave much room for teams to jump ahead, which is why Wisconsin has gone from No. 20 to 11th on my ballot.”
So no matter how well Wisconsin does, he just can’t move them up that much because he knew so little about them going into the season. That’s a perfectly SANE way to put your list together. And what’s up with Villanova? They’re ranked 8th, but he’s got them at 19th?
“I didn’t have Villanova ranked to start the season (I saw Pitt beat the Wildcats twice last year), but have moved them to 19th.”
So let me get this straight – Pitt beat Villanova twice last year, so he’s holding that against them this year? OhhhhhhKayyyyyy. Sure during that time Villanova has beaten #2 Kansas, and #23 Iowa, while Pitt has beaten absolutely no one. But that doesn’t mean they should be ranked ahead of Pitt. After all, he can’t admit that his preseason poll was wrong.
The only other team besides UMass that he completely left out of his poll, was Gonzaga, which is ranked 15th in the coaches poll. What’s up with that Kev?
“I don’t have Gonzaga ranked because its lone loss is to Dayton, which only lost to Baylor by one but then dropped a game to Illinois State.”
So basically he thinks the Atlantic 10 is a giant joke then right? I mean, that’s Gonzaga’s only loss. Dayton, UMass and every team in the A-10 aren’t real teams. Losing to those teams is unacceptable, and beating those teams doesn’t mean jack diddley poo.
Well what about if UMass takes care of business this week against Ohio and Florida State?
“I hope that begins to explain my reason for not ranking UMass, which is off to its best start since 1995-96. If the Minutemen beat Ohio Wednesday and Florida State Saturday, that should help their cause. If the Twitter attacks of their passionate fans, which I don’t take personally, has done anything, it’s made me very well aware of UMass.”
If I can bring awareness of the UMass Minutemen to one misguided AP voter, then my work here is done. I thank Mr. Gorman for taking the time to converse with us, and look forward to seeing where he ranks UMass next Monday afternoon.
Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.
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Gorman is finally doing something that I wish more poll voters would do… go away from the crowd and make a poll based on their own best judgment. Unfortunately, Gorman did it completely wrong and seems to be just going with the historically successful teams that he has heard of.
On the other hand, Turtleboy… he covers WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL. Please please do not antagonize this guy any further. UMass is in desperate need of a quarterback from Western Pennsylvania (preferably Ampipe High School) and the last thing we need is for Gorman to retaliate against Turtleboy, the UMass Community, the UMass Basketball message board people, Brian Long, Friends of UMass Football, and that stupid security guard who confiscated our smuggled beer at the last game by disparaging us to any and all good Western Pennsylvania Quarterbacks.
Is there any chance we can see if Jeff George, or Elvis Grbac, or Eric Zeier have any eligibility left?