Prep rally | Don't take polls seriously; they're just for fun

jlembo@bradenton.comSeptember 14, 2012 

BRADENTON

If you're headed to John Kiker Memorial Stadium tonight, you'll see a team that received nine votes in the Associated Press prep football poll.

You'll see a team that may just crack the top five if the ball bounces the right way tonight.

Oh, and the Southeast Seminoles will be there, too.

The team we're talking about is Booker, entrenched in a rebuilding stage, on its second head coach since firing Fred Gilmore over the summer and outscored 106-6 in its first two games.

Somehow, some way, the Tornadoes garnered nine votes in the Class 4A poll.

Southeast? Well, the Seminoles didn't receive any votes in Class 5A.

Yes, they outlasted Lakewood Ranch last week. Yes, they came seconds away from beating Class 6A Largo on the road in Week 1.

And yes, they should win tonight.

But they haven't sniffed a spot in the top 10.

What does it all mean?

Don't take these rankings too seriously. Whether you're talking national or state rankings, don't take them as gospel because there isn't an equation in the world that tells us which poll gets it right.

Don't misread this. I am not ripping state polls; I am not ripping national polls. Heck, I am not ripping Booker, either. Prep sports are cyclical.

Polls are fun. They make for good stories. They add intrigue to non-

district matchups, such as tonight's game at Hawkins Stadium between Manatee and Miami Central.

Neither team's hopes of a state championship will be raised or ravaged tonight, regardless of the score. Both, however, are nationally ranked, and it will be interesting to see how the result shakes up next week's rankings.

And I applaud anyone who runs a poll. It's a thankless job; it isn't easy.

Just take it for what it is worth -- a bunch of opinions.

The beauty of prep football is when the season is over, the best teams in each class get to meet in a one-and-done tournament.

When that's over, the team that survives the gauntlet gets to raise a state championship trophy.

No votes. No swaying. It's decided on the field, like it should be.

So come December, all these polls and votes won't mean a thing.

For now, however, they're fun to talk about.

And that's what they're here for.

John Lembo, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2097. Follow him on Twitter @jlembo1878

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