While this does nothing to change that at best these writers and TV personalities are making semi-educated guesses, this does provide some insight into how the poll is put together.
I would encourage you to check out Poll Speak, a terrific site if you are fan wondering what voter did what. It is near nirvana for someone who loves to analyze data. Their Poll Stalker feature allows you to drill down to ballots and see where teams were ranked and by what voter. Thier mission, taken from their website:
"Pollspeak is a watchdog organization dedicated to keeping college sports polls (and computer-rankings) honest, or at least questioning those that seem to be flawed, uneducated or have an unreasonable bias. Why? Because polls affect teams' TV exposure, finances, recruiting and national championship hopes."Admirable.
A quick glance shows that Craig James, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit did not rank Georgia. Craig James did rank Georgia Tech 7th, which was the highest, by two places, than anyone else. Oh, he ranked Texas Tech, his son's team, 24th, one of only 4 voters to rank the Raiders. If you are keeping score at home, the three TV personalities (James, Fowler and Herbstreit) all were the highest rankers of Tech. Fowler had them 9th (he and James were the only two to have them in single digits) and Herbie, and a few others, had them at 10th. For what it is worth, Greg Archuleta, of the Albuquerque Journal ranked the Dawgs 15th and the Jackets 25th. He also had Alabama the lowest of any voter at 4th.
Only 12 teams were ranked by all voters. Georgia appeared on 35 of the 60 ballots, ranging from a high of 15th to unranked.