Rankings are annoyingly important. Frankly, they're the reason we as college football fans see the games that we see on Thursdays and Saturdays. They're the reason that we want to see teams like the Gators and Trojans instead of Southeast Missouri State or Wofford playing in prime time.
Analysts assess each ranking on Monday and we as fans complain about how our team is lower than the top spot. So right now, I'm going to make like a crazed college football fan and complain.
Thesis: The Florida Gators will not be ranked No. 1 by October.
Reason: They shouldn't be.
Why? Here we go!
This past weekend, Florida looked like a No. 1 team. The Gators put up 62 points on the board as easily as I spread butter on a dinner roll. Their amazing and extraordinary performance at The Swamp would convince many coaches and pollsters that they are the best team in the country. The problem lies with Charleston Southern.
That Charleston Southern team has very little to impress any resume. They won seven games last year, with a dreadful loss to Miami by 45 points. Sure, every team deserves a warm-up game, much like USC, Notre Dame, and Michigan had this past weekend. But the problem is that the Gators have a warm-up weekend three times this year.
Troy is the next slaughter team that will make the Gators feel better about themselves. The Trojans made a bowl last year, and lost to a Southern Mississippi team that seemed to be ready to play football this past year.
Troy lost each game that they played against a BCS conference team by an average of 19 points. They don't really put true fear into the Gator team, especially after losing by 17 to Bowling Green.
October comes fast, and Tennessee might not be enough of a win to keep the Gators on top with Kentucky being in a bit of a rebuilding year.
So who is the lucky group that will take their place? Take your pick.
The Texas Longhorns have a legitimate argument. Wyoming, while not a powerhouse school, had an impressive win against a BCS team last year in Knoxville. Texas Tech poses an interesting match-up for the Horns, with that throw-happy squad that lost vital players from a year ago.
Much like a dark horse that could challenge for a division title in the Big XII, nobody falls asleep against the Raiders.
The USC Trojans or the Ohio State Buckeyes would probably have the best argument to be number one if the victorious team from Saturday night wins out in September. USC (my pick in who will be No. 1) would have a vastly more impressive resume than the Gators.
They have the win over Ohio State, a strong win at a new-look Washington team that appeared competitive in their destructive loss to LSU, and a key win against another PAC-10 team in Washington State.
Ohio State would have a vastly impressive win against USC, an easy away-game at Toledo, and then a tough conference victory against an underrated Illinois squad.
Oklahoma State would probably be the final team that would have a legitimate argument to be the top team in College Football. Their win against a top-15 team against Georgia would give them a legitimate argument if they absolutely devastate Rice, Houston, and Grambling State.
The fact of the matter is this discussion assumes many important things, like winning every game in September. However, those teams going undefeated would not be the most surprising thing happening.
If Stanford and Oregon State could beat USC, and if Utah could embarrass Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl, then we can easily believe that these squads can win out of September.
Florida is a great team, and we'll see how great they really are in December and January. But September cannot be simply disregarded as early season strutting by top teams. I think rankings are annoyingly important, but I want them to be right if we have them at all.