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NCAA College Football Preseason Rankings: How Accurate Can They Be?

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 07:  The Coaches' Trophy is displayed before the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Louisiana State University Tigers in the AllState BCS National Championship on January 7, 2008 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Joshua HayesContributor IAugust 5, 2009

There are many polls and projections but this article is based on the AP poll each year.

Ever year before college football teams even start fall practice most preseason rankings come out for the upcoming year. People put so much into what their team is ranked each year before they even step on the field. These are all just opinions; yes they are educated guesses and researched heavily but still just a projection. Everyone has their own opinion just some are held higher than others
I have taken a look at the last 5 college football seasons at the Preseason rankings and the Final rankings each year. A lot changes, anything can happen including transfers, injuries, and just a plain ole surprise like how fast an incoming freshman or coach can help make his team better, if at all.



Preseason Ranking/Team (Final Ranking)
1. USC (1)
2. Oklahoma (3)
3. Georgia (7)
4. LSU (16)
5. Florida State (15)
6. Miami (11)
7. Texas (5)
8. Michigan (14)
9. Ohio State (20)
10. West Virginia (NR) Finished 8-4



Preseason Ranking/Team (Final Ranking)
1. USC (2)
2. Texas (1)
3. Tennessee (NR) Finished 5-6
4. Michigan (NR) Finished 7-5
5. LSU (6)
6. Ohio State (4)
7. Oklahoma (22)
8. Virginia Tech (7)
9. Miami (17)
10. Florida (12)



Preseason Ranking/Team (Final Ranking)
1. Ohio State (2)
2. Notre Dame (17)
3. Texas (13)
4. Auburn (9)
5. West Virginia (10)
6. USC (4)
7. Florida (1)
8. LSU (3)
9. California (14)
10. Oklahoma (11)



Preseason Ranking/Team (Final Ranking)
1. USC (3)
2. LSU (1)
3. West Virginia (6)
4. Texas (10)
5. Michigan (18)
6. Florida (13)
7. Wisconsin (24)
8. Oklahoma (8)
9. Virginia Tech (9)
10. Louisville (NR) Finished 6-6



Preseason Ranking/Team (Final Ranking)
1. Georgia (13)
2. Ohio State (9)
3. USC (3)
4. Oklahoma (5)
5. Florida (1)
6. Missouri (19)
7. LSU (NR) Finished 8-5
8. West Virginia (23)
9. Clemson (NR) Finished 7-6
10. Auburn (NR) Finished 5-7


After looking at the difference in rankings from the preseason to the end of the year I noticed a couple of things. Each year the soon to be National Champion was preseason ranked no lower than seven and the team they played against them was ranked in the top 10 four out of the five times (Ohio State 2007).  There were 7 out of 50 times that a preseason top 10 team was unranked at the end of the year, two of these were preseason top 5 teams, both in 2005, Tennessee # 3 and Michigan #4. Tennessee in 2005, Louisville in 2007, and Auburn in 2008 did not even make a bowl. Not only have there been teams to not stay in the top 10 but there have been a lot of teams come out of no were and land in the top 10 by the end of the year, 12 out of 50 teams ranked in the top 10 at the end of each year was not ranked in the preseason.
I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade; I think it’s an honor to be ranked in the preseason top 10, I’m just saying the only thing that matters is what you’re ranked at the end of the year because anything can happen!

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