While there were somewhat crazy 1966 and 1967 polls., 1968 outdid them. 1966 showed that Neenah was #1 in both of the polls in 1966 but the UPI had Madison Edgewood as #2 while the coaches in the AP poll rated D.C. Everest in that spot for Big Schools. They didn’t differ on the top two small schools placing Durand and Denmark as #1 and #2. 1967 was a little different as the UPI rated Madison La Follette as #1 and Milwaukee Boy’s Tech #2 while the AP switched them around. The small school polls were different as the UPI had Durand at #! and Bloomer was #2. The AP placed Kohler as the #1 team and Stratford was rated as #2. I could have focused on this season but I chose 1968.
Again, the semi-final poll is on the left and the final poll is on the right. Below are the AP Big School polls.
Madison La Follette lost their final game to Madison East to end a 20-game win streak. Oshkosh vaulted to the top spot and East jumped five places to #2. Durand, the #1 1967 UPI small school champ was ranked in the AP big school poll this season and was ranked #10 in the semi-final poll. For some reason they dropped to the #11 spot as Racine Horlick jumped into the #9 spot.
The final Small School AP polls are as follows:
So, you look at the polls and the names in the polls didn’t change. Only four games were played by the top 10. So why the change? There seems to me that this was silly to rank a team differently when nobody, but Mondovi lost. How did Gale-Ettrick and Waupaca switch places? Maybe because Waupaca won their final game after Gale-Ettrick didn’t play.
Now wait until you see the UPI polls.
As I wrote above, LaFollette lost to Madison East and fell down to the #8 spot. Durand, now in the Big 10 poll ended tied with Two Rivers for fourth place. The UPI didn’t do a Private and Parochial poll as in the past, so those schools were part of the 1968 Big 10 rankings. Madison Edgewood moved up three spots and Appleton Xavier ended in the #9 spot. Milwaukee Pulaski dropped to the #10 spot after losing their final game and they tied with Sparta who moved from the “Second 10” to tie with Pulaski. What is also strange, to me, is that D.C. Everest (Listed as Schofield) didn’t play another game after the semi-final poll as they ended with an 8-1-0 record and fell from #9 to #13.
The name for the Small Schools changed the title to the Little Ten and the polls for the UPI had their own questionable changes. First, Auburndale was ranked #15 in the semi-final rankings but jumped to #9 in the final. Mondovi was 7-0-0 and #2 in the early poll but a loss and a tie giving them a 7-1-1 but they only fell to the #3 spot. Bloomer, Gale- Ettrick and Westby all tied for #5. The big loser was Kiel who was ranked #3 and 6-0-0 before the finals but then they were wacked by Chilton 38-0 and then came back to beat Oostburg 34-20.and seemed to back on track. There were three weeks between the semi-final and the final polls. Some teams played eight and others played nine. Kiel’s final game was a disaster as they fell and fell hard to Valders 54-6. They ended 7-2-0. Things like that happened each season where teams failed at the end of the year.
Looking at the “Second 10” in the semi-final poll you will see that a few of the undefeated schools dropped out of the final “Second 10” …St. Croix Central, Westfield and Unity…all went down to a loss or two and were cut from the poll. Darlington also lost but maintained a spot in the Second 10.
The AP semi-final polls were usually two weeks apart while the UPI were usually released three weeks apart. While 1968 wasn’t a crazy as 1965 the differences between the AP and UPI were very different. Both polls agreed that Greenwood and Boscobel were the top two teams but there were a lot of differences after that. The biggest was example is the #3 team in the UPI, Mondovi, who finished #10 in the AP. Obviously, the coaches were more impressed with the Buffalo’s than the sports writers.
You can see that the saying, “When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary” seemed to hold true. The two news services certainly made things interesting and as it turned out, each season through the press poll era brought a lot of discussion amongst fans. The polls made things exciting each year.