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Benefits of Preseason polls

Published 9:48am Thursday, September 27, 2012

Now that we have passed the quarter-mark for 2012 college football season, how about we examine  and take a microscopic look at who is receiving the benefit of the preseason polls.
My first compelling question concerns the preconceived notion that Alabama is the clear-cut No. 1 in the nation. If you feel as I do, then yes, they are the defending national champion and should be No. 1.
The argument is really not about Alabama sitting atop the catbird seat, but how the rankings are formulated in the first place.
When the preseason polls were released, USC and LSU split the No. 1 spot between the Associated Press and the USA Today coaches poll.
Maybe I have spent entirely too much time in the sun and I missed something, but until someone gives me a reasonable answer, my feeling is that there is a strong bias surrounding certain teams and the preseason voting is nothing more than a scheme to sell tickets, magazines and shake up the natives.
Do you think the Alabama-Michigan game met the hype or expectations of a game between two top-ten teams? What about the complete collapse of Arkansas, the beat down of Oklahoma by  Kansas State or the trampling of USC by Stanford?
Did LSU look like a No. 2 team to anyone outside of Baton Rouge after Auburn showed the nation that LSU still has zero offense?
Auburn wins if they had players with size and durability.  It is a no brainer that the Auburn offense is built for the spread-option not the pro-set.
Here is my argument for elimination of any preseason polls.  If Michigan and Arkansas were perceived as preseason top ten teams, then I would argue that Stanford, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Little Sisters of the Poor could also be top- ten teams. Michigan came in at No. 8 and Arkansas at No. 10.
If the polls came out after the week-four games, the polls would look close to what we have today. The glaring exception would be No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 South Carolina and No. 7 West Virginia, none of which have any “quality” wins against ranked opponents.
You would think that No. 11 Notre Dame did enough to move ahead of these teams by defeating Michigan State and Michigan, both top-25 teams.  They also rank No. 4 in the nation in points allowed, which by the way places them ahead of Georgia (30th) and South Carolina (5th).
This moves me to the second part of my argument-“strength of schedule.”
What do Towson, Western Carolina, Jacksonville State, Wofford, Samford, Georgia-Southern, Alabama A&M, Central Arkansas and Georgia State have in common?
Answer: they all play SEC schools in 2012. None are FBS schools, they all play in lower division conferences.
Compound these teams with the weak Sun Belt and Mid-American Conferences; this makes up 98  percent of the Southeastern Conference non-conference games.
It is bad enough, that the SEC is notorious for scheduling these types of schools, but with the addition of two more conference teams, which brings them to a whopping 14 teams in the SEC, they still fail to expand the conference schedule to a respectable nine game schedule.
All major conferences will adopt a nine-game conference format beginning in 2014.
This will all change when the BCS is mercifully eliminated and the playoff system begins in 2014.
In addition to the new playoff system, any team scheduling a non-FBS team will be penalized.
Strength of schedule will be a major factor in determining who gets the coveted four-spots for a chance to play for the national championship.
In 2014, the playing field will finally be leveled.
Until next time.
Meyers is a college football columnist.

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