The ESPN Coaches' Poll came out this week, and fans of 25 of the 120 FBS football teams are happy at the placement their team received, upset that they weren't ranked higher, or just delighted to see their name as one of the "chosen."
A message to about half of these fans: Enjoy it now, because your team isn't likely to be there when the final Coaches' Poll is released at year's end.
In 2006, 10 teams in the preseason poll didn't make the final poll. In 2007, 11 teams didn't make it, and last season, 13 teams, more than half, didn't make the final poll.
This just points out what so many people are realizing about preseason polls—they are about as useless as "fill in the blank."
In 2008, the regulars—the Tennessees, Auburns, Michigans, West Virginias, and the like—were all ranked way up there in the preseason poll by the coaches, and to be fair, in many other polls and college football tabloids.
Some of these teams had horrible seasons. Michigan was 3-9, Auburn and Tennessee finished under .500, and 10 other preseason favorites didn't live up to the hype.
These polls seem to get more unreliable every year and only serve to make it difficult for the deserving teams to work their way up to top positions because they have to start so far behind the leaders on the poll.
Some teams, even if they are undefeated, suffer that old affliction called, "you can't jump a team in front of you unless they lose."
These polls are about as useless as the "Watch Lists" for awards like the Jim Thorpe Award, for example. The Thorpe award, for the nation's best defensive back, is one of about 10 postseason awards given to the best player at a position.
Are you telling me that it makes one bit of difference if you're on the "watch list" or not?
Every year it seems that we hear the argument that the coaches' poll shouldn't be released until at least three weeks into the season.
It's a good argument because of the effect the coaches' poll has on the ultimate prize: the BCS Championship.
Not only is the poll released too early, but there are also always coaches that vote with emotion and loyalty over logic and fairness. Hello Steve Spurrier! Duke's a great school, but do you think you can try to leave them off your ballot if they aren't deserving?
So if your team made the "top 25" the other day, and you pretty much know that it's only a dart-throwing contest, enjoy the recognition, hype, and false sense of accomplishment while it lasts.
Enjoy the fact that a bunch of people, many of whom have never seen your team play, have decided to rank your team. Enjoy the flattery, because about half of these teams will not be there at the end of the 2009 season.