Abolish College Football Preseason Rankings

Posted by: Avinash on Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Brian Cook (possibly pictured above) is a fine writer and by all accounts, a maniacal human being. Runs it steady over at MgoBlog, my source for almost everything Big Ten (on the days I, you know, care about the Big Ten). He does many awesome things, his latest being inviting me to Blogpoll along with the rest of the crazy blog madfolk (Excuse Me For My Voice and California Golden Blogs being the other two Cal Blogpollers). It’s certainly a pleasure and I thank him for setting this all up again.

But as a part of the process, I’d like to call for the end of the preseason poll. As I tabulated up my blogpoll, I realized I didn’t have a damned clue who the top 25 teams might be (I hadn’t seen a minute of game, how am I supposed to know who’s on top?). For someone who desires an idealistic representation of what the top 25 should look like, Brian should know this poll means absolutely jack. It’s an archaic measure of nothingness.

However, as much as we’d like to think otherwise, these stupid rankings do actually mean something. Ask Auburn fans. They remember how much they matter.

We are giving the benefit of the doubt to teams that we haven’t watched one minute on the playing field. This leaves our subjective criteria to supposed talent and recruiting levels. How else did LSU get back to the top of the polls last year after playing tardball for two months? Being #2 to begin with certainly didn’t hurt them any and they got the benefit of the doubt over other two-loss teams playing more solid ball over the last two months of the season (Georgia and USC come to mind, and we didn’t even get that matchup).

We can talk about other teams not delivering, but LSU fell into that spot because they were the highest ranked two loss team at the beginning of the season. Their tiebreaker were the high expectations media types set on them in mid-August. Congrats, your 2007-08 national champions. Let’s all get drunk.

This would be like scoring the women’s gymnastics events by the way the announcers talk about htem before the performances (although you could argue that this might lead to fairer results–Americans get all the gold!). Why have these? Just to feel happy about how right you are if these stats hold true. Even Brian prefaces his preseason poll with the following:

“Don’t be gentle. This is probably stupid.”

Truer words my friend, truer words.

What are your thoughts on preseason rankings? Should these things even exist?

Blogpoll ballot and rationale coming tomorrow.

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