The preseason polls were only half right


The BCS doesn’t release their rankings until a few weeks into the college football season, and this year’s title game is exactly why they are right to do this. Since we don’t have any preseason BCS polls to look at, let’s look at another poll, from the Associated Press, instead.

The AP preseason top 25 poll was released before a single play had been run. Their findings were pure speculation. If you want to call them educated guesses, that’s fine, but there was nothing to actually back these guesses up with.

Alabama was ranked #2 in the AP preseason poll, which means that the people who vote in the AP polls got Alabama exactly right. They are one of the two best college football teams, and are playing to decide if they’re the best team of all. Hats off to the AP for calling that part.

But the supposed experts, to use a football analogy, fumbled the ball badly with the second half of the 1 vs. 2 matchup. Notre Dame, Alabama’s opponent for the football trophy that gets awarded after the game is decided, was nowhere to be found in the preseason AP  poll. To be fair, they were the first team left off the list, and a few educated guessers saw some potential in Notre Dame this season. But most of them missed it.

A 50% guess rate, which is what the AP had in their preseason poll, isn’t so great. In fact, it’s a great argument for why there shouldn’t be any preseason polls to begin with. It gives people who eat and breathe college football something to argue about back in August, I suppose, but this year’s results show that it’s generally just a waste of time and effort.

So hats off to the BCS, which I’m generally not fond of, for having the good sense to hold off until a few games have been played before trying to rank these teams against one another.

And the AP’s preseason #1 team? This is probably too sweet for Notre Dame fans, but it was USC. To remove the Trojans from the title game picture, and replace them with the Fighting Irish instead, must feel like quite a victory already for Notre Dame’s fans. But it would pale in comparison to a win on Monday night, which is why they play these games in the first place.

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