We’re reactionary people.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Top 25 polls.
Teams slide way too far after a big loss (see Clemson, Ohio State), rise too fast after a big win (Alabama) and somehow rise and fall despite not even playing a game. Just because Clemson and Ohio State got exposed doesn’t mean they aren’t top 10 teams and they probably will be at the end of the season.
But pre-season rankings are the lifeblood of college football. Countless magazines drive interest in the sport during the off-season. Unfortunately those rankings are a detriment to the teams because of the role they play in determining the national championship.
In 2004 Auburn, because they were ranked lower in the polls to begin the season, was unable to leapfrog Oklahoma or USC. As a result they were left out of the national championship game and weren’t even given a share of the national title despite finishing the season with an unblemished record.
The previous year USC was given a share of the title by the AP poll while Auburn was not afforded that luxury after going through the toughest conference in the country undefeated. They got screwed because of the pollsters (and the BCS, but that’s a discussion for another day).
It’s not the pollsters fault, there’s a system in place, they’re just cogs in the system.
But if we want to eliminate injustices in the polls we have to get rid of pre-season rankings altogether.
OK maybe not altogether, I don’t know how I would survive without them during the off-season, as long as there isn’t an “official” AP or coaches poll until week 4 of the season the polls will look much better and won’t be as big of a problem for the NCAA.
Waiting until week four gets most of the non-conference schedule out of the way and gives pollsters an idea of where teams should be slotted.
Upsets will happen and teams will collapse but the first few weeks of the polls are always useless anyways, so why not just wait until some things have been sorted out and go from there?
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