College Football Polls: Are Preseason Rankings Necessary?

Scott McDanielCorrespondent IMay 17, 2008

Over the years, preseason rankings have proved to be inaccurate and cause controversy rather than bring order to the national rankings.

The big part of the preseason rankings seemed to be based on their performance from the previous season, which has absolutely nothing to do with the current season. There are other factors that are taken into consideration, the amount of graduating seniors and underclassmen that declare for the NFL draft.

But these factors don't seem to play as an important role in developing the rankings compared to what was done the previous season.  Every season brings a new team with new chemistry and new question marks at marquee positions.

Rankings should be released when we can see how the teams are going to perform on the field, and when we have a body of work that can be quantitatively compared among the Division I football teams. 

Just to give a few examples, Kansas was not even ranked in the top 50 of the coaches poll and Missouri was ranked 31.  Both of these Big 12 foes had very successful seasons and were ranked in the top 7 in the final rankings of 2008.  Did anyone see that coming? I sure didn't.

We can't forget Michigan's embarrassing Week One meltdown in the Big House to Appalachian State, which dropped them from No. 5 with two first-place votes, to No. 27.

An argument could also be made for Louisville, which was ranked No. 11 in the preseason. By Week Four, they all but disappeared from the top 25, and at year's end were not even in the top 50.

Give the season a couple of weeks for teams to establish some chemistry before we start giving a team the title of being the No. 1 to No. 25 team in the nation.  Preseason rankings in college football need to be eliminated until Week Three or Week Four before we start to order them. 

It isn't like we can't still talk about the favorite to win each conference or the top contenders to win the BCS national title.