• phil cantor/@osgphil

It's great to see College Football pre-season rankings but they mean absolutely nothing



So, you can call this somewhat of a "good news/bad news" kind of opinion here because it features a little bit of both.


The good news: We're getting close to a college football season. How do we know this? Pre-season rankings are starting to be released.


The bad news: More so than probably any other year in the history of the sport, said rankings mean absolutely nothing.


Yeah, sure--we can make quite a few assumptions based on track records. We also know it is pretty much a given that Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Oklahoma will be in the Top 10, no matter what happens in this crazy COVID-19 filled year. All five of them would have been in the Top 10 if everyone had played and will be pretty much for the rest of eternity.


Outside that, what do we really know?


Seriously....


There are what, 76 teams actually with plans to play this fall in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)? Then add in the SEC, which is playing 10 conference games only. From there, you've got the ACC playing a plus-one and the Big 12 playing a plus-two schedule.


Sure, the AAC, Conference USA and Sun Belt are playing largely normal schedules, but even if one of them were to run the proverbial table, they don't get to play in the same sandbox as the power five when it comes to rankings.


With all of this combined with the variables including a lack of full practice time, potential COVID-19 infections and pandemic level travel, how do you know who's actually ready to play? Then we have the group of 5 schools starting their seasons beginning Sept. 3rd plus the ACC and Big 12 starting the following week, mixed with the SEC starting on Sept. 26th.


Are you able to follow all of this?



This all leads me to the premise of my question: How the hell can you "rank" anyone yet? Might we consider waiting until October or something once everyone has a game or two under their belts?


Sure, I know. Having an AP Top 25 is a "thing" for traditionalists. It's what College Football does as the only sport which doesn't determine it's better teams completely based on head-to-head performance.


Yeah, you heard me. I said it. Heck, if you know me, I've said it long before now. College Football polls are a scam. They are a lie. They are a total and complete popularity contest and quite possibly the least effective way ever created to determine a champion in anything.


Polls are by definition opinions. Opinions that are often based on the time a "voter" is willing to spend researching each time and making a best guess. Opinions that aren't necessarily based on one team vs. another because they may not actually play each other.


It's why earlier in this column I said who the top five teams would be. Some combination of them have been in the top five for most of the past decade. They are the teams with the biggest budgets and most of the national tv exposure. Do the research.


If and I mean IF all teams were playing this year, Ohio State would be added to the list. Maybe Notre Dame.


Mind you all of this is BEFORE anyone actually plays a game.


You tell me if there's any preconceived notions in College Football.....


That's just my 2-cents and please don't get me wrong, I love the game. I want the games to be played, I want everyone to stay healthy. Watching College Football games in the fall is truly a ritual.


My point is only that it's a sport with flaws. It's not by its nature a sport that everyone has a chance to win a title in, nor will it ever be. No, none of the group of five schools are going to play in the College Football Playoff (CFP) and they never will. It's how the system is set up.


So please, I ask you to not revel in preseason polls, in fact, I'm asking you to ignore them. But I do ask you watch the games that are played. Support everyone and everything involved---but safely as to not spread COVID-19 to ANYONE around you. Because College Football is fun, it is and will help return our lives to normalcy.


As long as we don't get in our own way and manage to ruin that too....



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