College Football Polls

whiskeyjuice's picture
August 1, 2014 at 8:40a

In some of the other threads, I see people against pre-season rankings which is understandable. Then I started thinking, "what if the rankings started 4 games into the season?", That seems tough because you could easily have 30 to 50 teams 4-0. Then what would be the criteria for determining which 4-0 team is better than the next 4-0 team. Even if the polls started later in the season, what would the criteria be for determining the top 25 (and the last 26 through 100 something for that matter). 

One of the biggest complaint against pre-season polls is that nobody has seen these teams play yet. So if the polls started later in the season and we wanted to try and be fair and base the rankings on games played and not returning starters or previous years final ranking, then wouldn't that turn into more of a pageant than it is now? Teams would be forced to run up the score. How would strength of schedule work? Again if rankings started later in the season, that would nullify the strength of schedule (SOS) in that how could one undefeated team be better than another undefeated team as SOS is based on teams already being ranked.

My head started hurting trying to make sense of starting the polls later into the season. It seems to me that we need pre-season rankings of some sort to establish a base for the upcoming season. With that said, let the ideas flow. What would college football look like if the polls started later in the season? And how would that work? 4 games in? 10 games in? What are the thoughts out there?

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Orangeslash's picture

It still just seems pointless to me. Even though preseason polls are based completely on speculation, it really doesn't matter. Those polls aren't affecting anything. As the season progresses, they start to more and more accurately represent teams skill level.

-1 HS
Gametime's picture

Tough call as you said man. I mean it's bad enough that we don't have any real criteria for the preseason polls at it is.

Hypothetically let's say it's a combination of:

A) Momentum: How the team finished the last season.

B) Returning Players: How many (good) upperclassmen are coming back that grant you stability.

C) Studs: Who really blossoms or has that potential to really have a break out season after doing so the previous season or having shown flashes.

D) SOS: The SOS is likely based on some combination of the aforementioned.

E) Coaching & Program Stability: If you have creditable coaches with a winning track record and well respected schemes, I think that factors in.

F) Conference & Team Perception: The court of public opinion is unavoidable. Despite ESPN is paid to hype up the SEC (and the ACC), the more you win, the more hype you'll get.

Now of course, once the season starts, a number of things could be changed due to misses in recruiting, dismissals, firings, injuries, etc.

Even with our team ranking #6, it's a play it safe ranking. Last season everyone, including ESPN, expected Ohio State to compete for the National Title, but nobody expected the back seven to be that bad because of the reputation Ohio State has for great LB & DB play.

Once the season starts, it would probably take too much time & resources to follow all of what's new to build a foundation for rankings during an ongoing season contrary to the results based rankings they do now, where it's easier to go back and watch select games against tough opponents, bowl games, etc.

It's just like last year when Baylor & Oregon essentially played nobody, but because they were hanging 70 on those nobodies and we were scoring only 50, the perception was that they were better teams until they got punched in the mouth by OKST and Arizona (respectively).

Ultimately, I think preseason polls get it right most of the time. It's all based on the fullest potential & growth expectations based on the results from last year, and the analysis of recruiting reports for incoming players.

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

osuisnumber1's picture

Polls are not always speculation.   If Vegas can put odds on games, point spreads. and they win most of the time; Why can't a group of people get together and have educated guesses to create a poll?

-1 HS
Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

You're misinterpreting Vegas' role, which is a very common misperception.  Vegas rarely wins because of correct/incorrect picks.  Vegas wins because they can accurately predict human action leading to balanced betting and near risk-free positions.

Read my entire screen name....

FROMTHE18's picture

What many anti-preseason poll people miss is that it provides a platform from which we can judge teams. You need a starting point. How would we know if Clemson beating Florida State is better than Notre Dame beating Michigan? I mean you can try the eye test, but its about match ups and a team could look good because of the opponent. We need somewhere to begin and preseason polls are fine with me. Over the last 5 years, they've been very fluid for the first few weeks of the year with teams who are 10-20th ranked jump up into the top 10 or even top 5 with solid performances, even jumping undefeated teams. As long as the voters are willing to change their opinion of teams they've ranked high, then rankings can more accurately reflect how good teams are. Its down to the voters. If you keep Bama at #2 simply because you had them there at the start and they have yet to lose, then thats poor evaluation, they have to vote based on where they actually think the teams should be ranked and who they should be ahead of.