The Tyranny of the college football world has officially been released upon all 120 Division 1-A football teams. The Preseason Top 25 Polls are out, its already time to decide if you're in, or you're out.
As bleak as this assessment may seem, the fact remains that these polls, are the basis of all rankings for the entire season, including our favorite pal, Ole' BCS.
Every week these numbers will be shuffled, teams may drop, and teams may rise, but rest assured that No. 1 and No. 2 will have started in somewhere in the top 25.
This fact leads me to my biggest gripe with college football, specifically directed at the Divison-1 level. Why do you automatically throw out nearly 100 teams before the season starts?
Every other sports has a playoff, where if you win, you keep playing. Not college football, Division-1 to be exact. I did some research to try to cheer up fans of the nearly 100 teams outside the top 25.
Maybe I'd just missed someone, maybe.... If only.
1. Boise State: Boise State went 12-1 in 2002 with a loss in week two at Arkansas. Their reward for the season? A No. 12 ranking. Why, you may ask? Boise St. started the season ranked number 53! They received a total of 7 points in the preseason poll. It's a long climb to the top when you have to jump 51 teams.
Compare that to teams who were supposed to succeed in 2002: Florida State and Colorado. The Noles were ranked No. 4 to start the season, but after losing 5 games, they only fell to No. 23. The Buffs were ranked No. 6, but after 5 losses only fell to No. 21.
Amazing how teams that are supposed to succeed still find their place in the sun?
Let's check out 2003:
Miami (OH) started the season ranked 58th, after losing a game 21-3 in week 1 at Iowa, they were forgotten about by the voters. The Redhawks didn't forget winning out the entire season to end at No. 12. To top off the season Iowa was actually better than predicted finishing the season at No. 8
Boise State started the season No. 38 with only 22 points. After suffering a 26-24 loss at Oregon State in week 3, they ended the season ranked No. 15.
The two National Title representatives each had one loss. LSU, Preseason No. 15 lost in week 6 to Florida 19-7, and Oklahoma Preseason No. 1, who lost in the Conference Championship Game. It certainly pays to be No. 1 to start the season.
2004 saw Auburn, Preseason No. 18 go undefeated and not get a shot in the BCS title game. The ended No. 2.
Utah also went Undefeated, Preseason No. 21 and ended No. 5
Oklahoma Preseason No. 2 was selected above both of these teams to be blown out by the USC Trojans. History Repeats itself!
2006 was a battle for who was going to Play an Undefeated Ohio State in the BCS Title game.
Florida was picked to go, a Preseason No. 8 who lost in week 7 27-17 at Auburn.
Wisconsin, who had started the season No. 31, and had lost in week 4 to Michigan 27-13 was left out at No. 5
Louisville, a preseason No. 13 lost at Rutgers 28-25, leaving them at No. 7 to end the season, out of the title game.
Poor Boise State, all they did was win every game on their schedule, but a preseason ranking of No. 30 could only allow the Broncos to climb to No. 6, no title game in Boise.
2007 will not be soon forgotten:
LSU, preseason No. 2, is picked to Play Ohio State in the BCS Title Game. LSU, Oklahoma, USC, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Missouri all had two losses.
LSU's Second Loss Comes in Game: 12
USC's Second Loss Comes in Game: 8
West Virginia's Second Loss comes in Game: 12
Virginia Tech's Second Loss Comes in Game: 8
Missouri's Second Loss Comes in Game: 13
Oklahoma's Second Loss Comes in Game: 11
Poor Kansas Preseason Unranked Loses in Game 12 36-28 in Kansas City and they are shut out. They end the season No. 7.
Hawaii, Preseason No. 24, goes undefeated throughout the regular season, and they only get an invite to the Sugar Bowl. Every Team Lost, at least one game. Hawaii ends the season No. 17 after getting crushed by Georgia.
Sorry Kansas and Hawaii, your climb is too steep unless you start at the top.
2008 saw another Undefeated Utah team get blocked from a BCS title game by the Preseason. Utah started Preseason No. 28 and ended No. 5. Sadly teams who were expected to be better such as Oklahoma, Preseason No. 4 and Florida No. 5 were allowed to go to the title game both with losses on their resume.
The facts are clear, if you are not in the Top 25, your chance at a championship are gone, before you even play your first game. That is a problem that must be fixed.
I want to suggest a ranking system that comes out half way through the year. With this in place, you can truly gauge a team's performance on the field, rather than on paper. Teams that are succeeding will truly be rewarded, and teams that are faltering will be punished.
Let's not forget that the BCS is what decides our champion. It doesn't come out until after week 8 of the regular season. Fans are willing to wait for these polls, so let's have them wait for their AP and Coach's rankings as well.
I believe these polls are not necessary for the college football fan—do you not know who you are rooting for, with or without a number by your team's name? Do advertisers still not know what games are going to bring the big bucks? I believe you and do, and I know advertisers do as well.
The preseason rankings of college football only tell us one thing, who a few individuals think will be a solid team this year. Let's allow the viewers to enjoy football the way it is played in the professional ranks: no rankings, just the game. When did the game not become enough?
Do you really get any enjoyment on who should be ranked higher? Does anybody follow NFL Power Rankings? No! We know a champion will be crowned on the field.
If college football won't give us a champion on the field, let's at least give every team out there a shot at being a champion. Let's not cut the field down to 25 to start every season.
Wait to rank until we actually can see some hard evidence. I've had my fair share of paper champions, thank you very much!