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Post Sorry, Bronco, preseason polls aren’t going anywhere

Wednesday July 22, 2009

If it’s time for the annual preseason polls, it must be time for the annual griping about preseason polls. This year BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall adds a “philosophical” objection.

“I don’t think it’s possible to pick, nor do I think philosophically there ought to be a preseason poll, period,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “There shouldn’t be a preseason conference poll nor a preseason national poll. Maybe after game six, then possibly there would be enough information to make a determination. The rest of it is just speculation, things to talk about that don’t matter much until we know something.

Given the way we decide our champion, it should be no surprise that college football fans obsess over polls. The body of the previous season is barely cold before the media start lining the teams up for the next season. Why? Well, yes, lists and rankings are easy pieces to bang out, but fans eat it up. We line up to buy our Steele, Athlon, and Lindy. We know they’re guesses, but who cares? Even if you delay official polls, nothing at all is going to derail the fans’ appetite for polls or the industry that feeds it. There will just be two fewer polls in a sea of dozens.

Mendenhall and others so set against preseason polls should try this exercise: halfway through the season, sit down and jot down your rankings. (No peeking!) See how much they differ from the rest of the polls which have had six weeks to adjust. My guess is that the two sets of rankings will be almost indistinguishable.

The AP poll after week 6 of the 2008 season had a top 5 of Oklahoma, Alabama, Missouri, LSU, and Texas. Eventual national champion Florida wasn’t even in the top 10. What is it about delaying the poll a few weeks that’s supposed to give us a better read on the season versus the preseason polls? At least the preseason AP poll had both national championship participants in its top 5.

One Response to 'Sorry, Bronco, preseason polls aren’t going anywhere'

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  • kudos

    pre season polls = not the problem. The problem is that media hacks and SID’s, er I mean coaches, generally don’t adjust the rankings as quickly as they should. I mean, really, by week four, there’s no reason for them not to be as accurate as they would in week six (as a first poll).