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Perception Matters In The Polls

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Week two of the AP Coaches Poll and USA Today Poll showed just how much perceptions matter.

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Penn State, soundly defeated by three touchdowns by #1 Alabama on the road, dropped four spots to No. 22 and six spots to No. 20 in the AP Poll and USA Today polls, respectively. The week before, as a reward for losing by three points in overtime on the road to Utah, Pitt fell a whopping 13 spots in the AP poll and 14 spots in the USA Today poll.

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That Utah loss, by the way, is looking less and less like a bad one each day. Utah is 2-0 and up to No. 14 in both polls.

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After winning against New Hampshire this weekend, Pitt moved to 1-1, but couldn't get back into the polls. In the AP Poll, they were even leapfrogged by Oregon State, who is 0-1 and was idle this weekend. Pitt had no movement in the USA Today poll, remaining at #30. Winning against New Hampshire is far from a quality win, but it was mildly surprising to see the team fall in one poll and not move up at all in the other.

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This isn't to say that Penn State should have fallen further for losing by such a wide margin to the nation's best team. Rather, it's to point out that in terms of perception, Pitt still has a long way to go in order to please voters.

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West Virginia also moved up slightly after its narrow win against Marshall. The Mountaineers are No. 21 in both polls and remain the polls' only Big East representative.

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Here's a look at both polls.

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Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.