Re-Grading the AP's 2013 Top 25 Preseason Poll

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Re-Grading the AP's 2013 Top 25 Preseason Poll
USA TODAY Sports

There are many valid arguments against the idea of preseason polls in college football, but maybe the most credible one relates to their accuracy. Or, rather, the lack of accuracy.

When it comes to The Associated Press preseason Top 25, which is voted on by the media, or the Amway Coaches Poll, those submitting ballots must do so based on information that is either wildly outdated or incomplete.

Simply put, preseason rankings are a product of past performance and potential future results, and because of that, there's plenty of room for error.

The 2013 AP preseason poll was no exception.

Alabama was coming off back-to-back national championships and returned numerous key players from those title runs. Ohio State had gone undefeated in 2012, though that didn't include a bowl game because of a postseason ban.

And teams like Oregon, Stanford and Georgia had veteran-laden units that had all put up great seasons in 2012 and were expected to do so again the following season.

That quintet, which began the year ranked in the AP's Top Five, all ended the year seventh or worst. And one of them wasn't even ranked at the end.

In fact, 10 of the preseason poll's Top 25 were unranked when the final rankings were released in early January, while four teams that participated in the final crop of BCS bowl games began 2013 outside the Top 25.

If preseason polls were to be put on trial, the 2013 version would be Exhibit A in the case against them.

But these polls don't look like they'll be going away any time soon. The AP's 2014 version is set to be released on Aug. 17, and in anticipation of this, we're taking a look back at last year's preseason rankings to grade how well the media voters did with their votes.

Grades are based on where teams ended compared to where they began, taking into consideration a tendency for voters to drop teams farther than normal in final polls after bowl losses.

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