The Grand National Championships

December 5, 2008

The Preseason Top 25 in College Football

Filed under: Bornalysis,Fuhbawls,Political Falderol — by Andrew @ 11:59 pm

We all know how epic of a fail this is, right? 14 of the preseason top 25 in the Coaches poll are currently unranked. You don’t even have to care one whit about the college game to know that this is some bad prognostication.

So is this something we need to discuss? Is this a consistent incompetency? Oddly enough? No. Sure, there’s a certain batting average of these polls that means you will not be perfect. But even the most cursory research (that I have been procrastinating like a fiend to avoid doing) will show, 2008? It’s a special vintage.

2002
Preseason 1 vs. 2: Miami (Fla.) vs. Texas
Final 1 vs. 2: Miami (Fla.) vs. Ohio State
Total Unranked: 11
Top 15 Unranked: 5
Biggest Falloff: Tennessee (Preseason #5)
Preseason Top 10 below the Top 15? #4 Florida State (#23), #6 Colorado (#21), #7 Florida (#24)
Unranked Preseason to Top 10? Kansas State #6 and Iowa #8.

This is another year of a fine vintage. The Top 15 came up with a whole lot of 8-5 and 7-6. The best one? #18 Michigan State. They kissed what Michigan had in 2008. I was ranked once! And you know what? They actually called one of the teams who had a journey to the national championship. They get a D-.

2003
Preseason 1 vs. 2: Oklahoma vs. Ohio State
Final 1 vs. 2: LSU vs. USC
Total Unranked: 12
Top 15 Unranked: 4
Biggest Falloff: Auburn (Preseason #6)
Preseason Top 10 below the Top 15? None
Unranked Preseason to Top 10? Iowa #8 and Washington State #9.

See? This is what is known as a good year in preseason prognostication. Sure, there was a quantity in fail. But when it came down to quality? The Top 3 all stayed in the Top 5, and it came down to a traditional blind spot for those who vote for the coaches (Notre Dame) before you had a losing ranked team. It’s not an A, but it is a solid B.

2004
Preseason 1 vs. 2: USC vs. Oklahoma
Final 1 vs. 2: USC vs. Auburn
Total Unranked: 8
Top 15 Unranked: 2
Biggest Falloff: West Virginia (Preseason #11)
Preseason Top 10 below the Top 15? #3 LSU (#16), #9 Ohio State (#19), #10 Florida (#25)
Unranked Preseason to Top 10? Louisville #7 and Virginia Tech #10.

The Big 12 North (#13 Kansas State and #17 Missouri) were the only real bit of indefensibility in this season. The Preaseason 1 vs. 2 played in the National Championship. They hit on two-thirds of their rankings. And in this post BCS world? The then Conference USA Louisville Cardinals actually had some semblance of respect going in. 31st is no sin if you are a mid-major. A-

2005
Preseason 1 vs. 2: USC vs. Texas
Final 1 vs. 2: Texas vs. USC
Total Unranked: 9
Top 15 Unranked: 3 (2 out of the Top 5)
Biggest Falloff: Tennessee (Preseason #3)
Preseason Top 10 below the Top 15? #5 Oklahoma (#22), #8 Miami (Fla.) (#18)
Unranked Preseason to Top 10? Penn State #3, West Virginia #6, and TCU #9.

Duke received a preseason vote. 1-10 Duke. TCU did not get one. Michigan (#4) rolled out with a 7-5 season. And Phillip Fulmer? Good looking out on that 2008 preview! Okay, truth be told? It’s not offensive on the whole. But it’s three sins were major. C.

2006
Preseason 1 vs. 2: Ohio State vs. Texas
Final 1 vs. 2: Florida vs. Ohio State
Total Unranked: 9
Top 15 Unranked: 3
Biggest Falloff: Florida State (Preseason #10)
Preseason Top 10 below the Top 15? #3 Notre Dame (#19)
Unranked Preseason to Top 10? Wisconsin #5 and Boise State #6.

Notre Dame as a Top 5 Team was a joke. Not much else of this was a joke. The only losing teams came to their fate were via bowl games. Wisconsin and Boise State played jack-all squat for the regular season. So let’s be honest. It’s solid. Unspectacular. B-.

2007
Preseason 1 vs. 2: USC vs. LSU
Final 1 vs. 2: LSU vs. USC
Total Unranked: 10
Top 15 Unranked: 2
Biggest Falloff: Louisville (Preseason #11)
Preseason Top 10 below the Top 15? #3 Florida (#16), #5 Michigan (#19), #7 Wisconsin (#21)
Unranked Preseason to Top 10? Missouri #5 and Kansas #7.

Lloyd Carr was an impressive coach, wasn’t he? But there were not many misses in the top 25. And there were two teams that fell out of the rankings by virtue of being bad at the bowl game. But then again, who is the goddamn pollster* who keeps giving Duke a preseason vote? Kansas didn’t get one.

*See the comments. Steve Spurrier votes for every school that gave him money once.

2008
Preseason 1 vs. 2: Georgia vs. USC
Current 1 vs. 2: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Total Unranked: 14
Top 15 Unranked: 7
Biggest Falloff: Tennessee (Preseason #5)
Preseason Top 10 below the Top 15? #1 Georgia (#19), #7 Missouri (#17)
Unranked Preseason to Top 10? Alabama #1, Utah #7, and Boise State #9.

LSU, West Virginia, Clemson, Auburn, Wisconsin, Kansas, Virginia Tech, Arizona State, Tennessee, Illinois, Oregon, South Florida, Michigan (which had 3 whole starters returning going into a new offense), and Fresno State. This is every team that is currently unranked. Each and every team had more votes than 80 percent of the B-List of 2008 College Football. Yep. TCU, Cincinnati, Ball State*, and Oklahoma State? 19 total votes. Triple that? You don’t even get to Fresno State. F. F. F. F, the current #1 was unranked for cripes sake!

*Buffalo 42, Ball State 24 means this will change by Sunday.

I hope you enjoyed that. It’s edutasmic! But what did we learn?

1. People are idiots.

The pollster who keeps giving Duke a vote? Any coach who believed in Michigan? People who don’t even take a cursory look at returning starters? Morons all.

2. The mid-major who you think would shock the world is not the mid-major you expect.

Good looking out on Fresno State this year. Utah, Boise State, TCU, Ball State were all much better.

3. It would be better if they waited a few weeks after the preseason poll for poll #2

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2 Comments »

  1. Steve Spurrier votes for Duke, his former employer, every year. Apparently he didn’t do it this year out of pure hatred of David Cutcliff

    Comment by Anonymous — December 6, 2008 @ 12:41 pm |Reply

  2. Wow. Thanks for that.

    Comment by Andrew — December 6, 2008 @ 12:45 pm |Reply


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