In case you’ve been living under a rock, FSU’s softball team won the national championship. And that in a convincing manner - sweeping Washington in back-to-back games for their first ever title.
Well, fairly convincing.
FSU finished first overall in the Coaches Poll with 30 of 32 first place votes. That in and of itself is not unusual. If you look at the Football Bowl Series (FBS) Coaches Poll, you’ll find that as recently as 2010 a non-national champion team (TCU - 1) receiving a first place vote - but none since the invention of the playoff, which is where you play multiple games at the end of a season against a group of other teams considered the best until you find out which team is actually the best by their virtue of beating the other teams once thought to be the best.
Those other softball teams receiving a first place vote? Oregon and Washington. Interestingly, both of these teams had their postseasons ended with a loss to National Champion Florida State.
An active softball coach actually voted Florida State #3 in their final team rankings.
Some active head coach thinks there are two teams better than Florida State. I can confirm that as of this article’s publication, Florida State had indeed won this year’s national championship.
But a third place vote?
Here is a list of the final rankings with their associated point totals:
There are 32 coaches who vote on the top 25. Being voted number one earns you 25 points. Voted 25th? 1 point.
We know that 30 coaches voted FSU #1, so that’s 750 points. But FSU totaled 797 points. That’s 47 points left between two coaches’ votes. If both coaches had voted FSU #2, then that’d be ::buzzer sound:: 48 points.
So by virtue of deduction, we know one of the two coaches voted them #2 (24 points) and the other - a real-life active softball coach - voted the National Champion Florida State University women’s softball team third best (23 points) in the country.
FOLLOW-UP: TN commenter SchentzNole wonderfully deduced further that Washington was unanimously voted #2 (outside of their 1 first-place vote). The reasoning: Washington finished with 769 points by 32 voters. 744 points came from 31 voters. Those 31 voters all voted Washington #2 since 744/31 = 24 points (and no other combination of votes could produce that number).
Furthermore, the coach that voted Oregon #1 voted FSU #3. Why? Because when Oregon received a first place vote, that voter by deduction had to vote Washington #2 since the only other time Washington wasn’t voted #2 was when they were voted #1.