The Preseason Poll – Put it Out of its Misery

09/28/2009 § Leave a comment

Week four of the 2009 college football season just wrapped up, and even though it’s been a little crazy, there are still 17 undefeated FBS teams.  Of those 17, just 7 appeared in the preseason edition of the USA Today/Coaches’ Poll Top 25, the one that actually counts for something.  Even now, there are still 5 undefeated teams who somehow aren’t good enough to appear in the top 25, simply because they weren’t there to begin with.

Florida and Texas opened the season at #1 and #2, respectively.  They are still there, and they’re the only two teams with first-place votes in the current coaches’ poll.  In 8 games between them, they’ve beaten three teams from BCS conferences (two of those by just 10 points each).  Their 8 opponents are a combined 14-17, and none of them were ranked when they played the Gators or the Longhorns.

South Florida has a few blowout wins over some pretty weak teams.  They also have a nice ten-point road upset of Florida State, who was ranked 18th going into the game.  However, they have the misfortune of playing in the Big East, which saw none of its teams ranked to begin the season.  Why aren’t they in the Top 25 anyway? Because conference-mates Cincinnati are also undefeated and have beaten more impressive teams, and apparently there’s only one spot available for a conference that currently has just one team with a losing record.  And yet, had South Florida been ranked even 25th in the preseason, they would have risen to at least #20 by now, just by virtue of all the ranked teams who have disappointed so far.

Despite posting victories over two BCS conference teams, including a road win over Tennessee and a 23-9 win over Kansas State, UCLA remains unranked.  Oh yeah, don’t forget that they’re the only unbeaten team left in the Pac-10, the conference of the currently-ranked USC, Cal, and Oregon.

Even though at least one top 5 team has lost every week of the season so far, the coaches continue to shuffle around their original top 10.  Eight of the current top 10 teams were there in the preseason poll, and as long as they win their next couple of games, Penn State and Ole Miss are in position to jump back up too.

Are LSU’s accomplishments really that much more impressive than Cincinnati’s?  What has Ohio State done that Missouri hasn’t?  (Besides lose a game, I mean.)  Iowa and Michigan have each played more winning teams than #5 Boise State, yet they sit outside the top 15.

Expect even more shakeup at the top of the polls as the season continues, and beyond that until the voters can look past their preconceptions and start ranking teams based on what they’ve done and not who they are.

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