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Gary Parrish: ‘Michigan Belongs In The Top 15′

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(Credit: Leon Halip/Getty Images)

(Credit: Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Every Monday, CBSSports.com college basketball writer Gary Parrish sits down and analyzes all 65 ballots filed for the weekly AP Poll. He sees which writer put which team where, and then he searches for questionable decisions – whether it be overrating a team, underrating a team or disregarding a team altogether.

This exercise has led to a weekly column called “Poll Attacks.”

Well, the most recent subject of “Poll Attacks” was none other than John Feinstein, who omitted No. 15 Michigan from his ballot – the only voter to do so – and ranked Stephen F. Austin No. 25.

“First off, yeah, every week when you put, say, American or Stephen F. Austin at 25th, there is somebody on Twitter who says, ‘You got to go get the person who voted for American,’” Parrish said on The John Feinstein Show. “I have stayed away from that forever. Listen, this is what John does, and he doesn’t care. That’s what he does. I respect your point and get your point.”

Feinstein almost almost puts a smaller – read: probably undeserving – team in his Top 25 poll, if for no other reason to show that school some love that it wouldn’t get otherwise. He’ll usually do this at the expense of a school from one of the power conferences, and Parrish understands and respects that practice.

But not this time – at least, not with Michigan (17-6, 9-2), which is tied with No. 9 Michigan State for first place in the Big Ten.

“I think Michigan actually belongs in the top 15,” Parrish said, “so I could debate that they have a better resume than George Washington and a whole bunch of (schools).”

In short, Michigan should be ahead of many teams – Stephen F. Austin, most especially.

“I think one of the things that’s cool about the basketball polls,” Feinstein chimed in, “is we can all have fun with them, and in the end, they decide nothing.”

There’s no arguing that. What’s interesting, though, is how much attention the polls attract – and, as a result, how much attention Parrish’s column attracts.

“It’s so funny (when) I get on my high horse, so to speak, about these ballots,” Parrish said. “And I think anybody who knows me – and you as well – knows that I don’t take this stuff so seriously.”

Yet, Parrish spends two to three hours every Monday analyzing AP ballots.

“At the end of the day, my job is to try to provide interesting content – and unique content – for a website,” Parrish said. “That’s what I get paid to do – and this developed into that. There’s an audience for this stuff, and I just sort of feed the audience. But there are times when I look at it and go, ‘Oh, really? I got to do this again?’”

Parrish has two simple rules for his column: He focuses strictly on the ballot, and he doesn’t get personal with the voter.

“It’s an interesting exercise every Monday,” he said.

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