Final fall polls: Behind the numbers

November 12, 2008

The final fall coaches' polls came out today with Georgia atop the Golf World/Nike Golf men's ranking and UCLA taking the No. 1 spot in the Golf World/NGCA women's poll. If you click through to the polls, we broke down how each of the top 25 teams in Division I fared in the fall. Two notes to remember: results of the Turtle Bay men's event in Hawaii that ends today are obviously excluded and the head-to-head numbers on the women's side include the results from the Hooters Match Play event (which is why UCLA has one loss, reflecting its defeat against Michigan State in the first round of the tournament).

Among the statistics we tracked is the overall records for each school and their records versus top-25 teams, a comparison of which offers some interesting observations.


The Bulldogs had an impressive 27-8 record (.771 winning percentage) against top-25 teams and then went 27-0 against all other D-I opponents. Chris Haack's team doesn't mess around when it comes to beating opponents that its supposed to.

The same thing can be said, too, for the other schools in the top five. Oklahoma State, Alabama and USC are all perfect versus non-ranked opponents while Stanford has just one loss.

2. Tennessee deserves a little more love

The Volunteers started the season ranked fifth but have dropped to No. 15 in the latest poll, likely because they didn't win any tournaments in their four starts. However, Jim Kelson's team is the only top-25 program a better winning percentage versus ranked schools (17-3/.850) than all opponents (45-10-1/.813). With three top-five finishes, UT might be a team to keep an eye on in the fall.

3. Florida is going to have to step up

The Gators only played three fall events and did post top-five finishes in two of them, but a closer look reveals that Buddy Alexander's squad feasted on non-ranked opponents. (I smell someone thinking about the ".500 rule.") While having a 31-13 overall record, Florida was just 7-13 versus the top 25. It's one of the biggest percentage disparities of any men's school in the top 25.


It was a bit of a shaky first season in Nashville for the former Arizona women's coach, but Allen and the Lady Commodores appear to have righted the ship in 2008-09. Vandy's 21-11 record versus top-25 teams is the sixth best winning percentage of ranked schools, and that's with senior Jacqui Concolino still not back to her first-team All-American form. Something also interesting to note is that Allen's group was a perfect 10-0 versus SEC opponents.

2. Arkansas really misses Stacy Lewis

Everyone knew knew replacing the former NCAA champion and first-team All-American, who could be relied upon to post low scores on a daily basis, would be tough but the results from the fall show just how difficult a task coach Shauna Estes-Taylor must overcome. A disappointing record versus top-25 teams (8-30-1/.218) contributed to Arkansas' 28-33-1 overall mark. Suffice it to say, there's some work to do in Fayetteville.

3. Not so Big Ten

It's a conference that's long fought for respect but so far in 2008-09, the best schools in the league have struggled versus top competition. Purdue is 7-19 versus top-25 programs while Michigan State is just 1-11-1. Just who did the Spartans' one victory come against? Ironically, its the top-ranked Bruins at the Hooters Collegiate Match Play.