Do away with Pre-season polls now

The first regular season polls are out and  already we have controversy. USC, the top-pre-season choice in  the AP writer’s poll beat Hawaii, 49-10.

That was not good enough to keep the Trojans from being dumped by No. 2 Alabama, which rolled to a 42-10 win over Michigan.

Here’s the theory. Alabama was more impressive in beating a respected opponent than USC.  Plain and simple.


The Jerseyguy in me says that some of the AP pollsters were not happy that USC won by 39 when the spread was 40. Alabama had no such problems, easily covering the two touchdowns the wise guys in Vegas had posted as the morning line.

The saving grace to this is that it is a weekly poll. No one gets hurt here, because things change each week.

I voted in the  AP Poll both during my time at the Dallas Morning News and at the  Boston Globe. The one rule of thumb I used was that I NEVER  reacted in any extreme to one game. If a team pulled off a giant upset, I would move them up a little, but wait for a second consecutive game to see what happened. If a ranked team lost, I would drop them a bit, but never do anything drastic until I saw what happened in the next game.

In terms of No. 1, I was even more cautious.   I  waited two weeks before I would do any major reshuffling.

Which brings us to USC and Alabama and PRE-SEASON rankings–which need to be eliminated.

The first poll should be Oct.1–one month into the regular season.  That’s enough time to judge a team and its abilities.

It lets the good teams show they are good teams and the bad teams show they are bad.

Alabama is getting credit because Michigan is perceived as a good team, better than Hawaii

What happens if Hawaii finishes 11-1 and Michigan finishes 6-6? How impressive will that Tide win be in that case?

What nonsense like what happened with in the AP poll creates is an atmosphere that teams need style points as well as wins. Would USC have stayed on top if Trojan coach Lane Kiffin had decided to keep his regulars in the entire game to get say a 66-10 victory?

Maybe Oregon coach Chip Kelly should have kept his starters in longer and built a 70-3 lead instead of the 50-3 margin which Oregon had before Kelly said enough is enough. Still, you have some yo-yo’s who tried to put down the win by saying that allowing Arkansas State to score 34 (Oregon won 57-34) could hardly be called impressive.

Enough. Let’s get serious about this and do it the right way. Eliminate pre-season polls, play a month’s worth of games and then have a legitimate first poll, starting on Oct. 1.


© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.

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