Friday, Fetch Friday football's here on Friday! In honor of that, here is the tune that oddly has made its way into heavy rotation at the ITB Fortress of Solitude.
Yesterday saw the debut of the USA Today Coaches Poll for the Pre-season and my Heels reported to Chapel Hill so yes, it is now officially college football season. As usual there was a lot to talk about regarding the poll and we've got all of that covered from the conference distribution and biggest snubs to the "what the hell are they thinking putting them there" and plenty of quibbling over the spots folks fall into the rankings.
Before we do that, a brief discussion on polls because some folks have decided that if you take issue with poll positioning you somehow are "propping up" the poll system.
I think the poll system is pretty screwed up. On multiple fronts. We'll start with overall timing. I'm not a fan of the pre-season polls personally. I'll talk about them when they come out and obviously I'll participate when I'm asked. That said, ideally I'd like to see them pushed back to October. Save the rankings that factor into the BCS formula for a later date. Tying a teams future to a number before they play a game, that makes for a tough row to hoe.
Now, with regards to specific polls each has their own issue. With the Coaches Poll the answer is pretty simple, it is a waste. The people who defend this poll by offering up the "coaches know football better than writers" defense are, in a word, total morons. Not because coaches don't know football better than writers, they absolutely do but that isn't the point here. Coaches don't watch football. Let's hold off on the idea that school SIDs are filling these out for coaches, let's ride with the idea all of the coaches take their time to fill in their 25 slots.
When the hell are they watching these games?
Certainly not on Saturdays when they have their own game to worry about. They wake up Saturday, they are polishing gameplans up, they're working with kids to reassure them, eating breakfast, doing their "insert you school tradition here" walk and getting to the stadium. The game gets over and they're checking on kids, meeting recruits, post game pressers and then breaking down the game film. Oh, and somewhere in there try to be a dad, sort of.
Then coaches start the next week's process. Watching their opponent, designing a gameplan, figuring out what clips of the opponent their kids need on their personal DVD packages, practice, film, recruiting calls, discipline of players. That's a week for coaches before they get back to their Saturday routine.
They don't have time to watch more than a few minutes of another teams games. Outside of the teams they see when they're breaking down film of their opponents they don't get a whole hell of a lot of time to sit and just watch football.
As for the AP poll, not a part of the BCS anymore but still quite influential, there are some issues as well. People who prescribe to the "writers get to know all of these teams" or the "writers actually can watch the games" mode of thinking have their heart in the right place but are pretty clueless. First and foremost the bulk of the voters cover a team or teams. They spend their Saturdays in a press box, on the sidelines, in a press room and writing stories.
While their schedule is more conducive to watching more than one game on Saturdays the fact is they also don't get to watch nearly as much football as one would need to. At least live. With ESPN3, XOS Digital, school sites and DVR there is a way to watch plenty of football, enough to make a full assessment of teams and where they stand up to one another.
Problem is, there aren't enough hours in a day to watch all the recorded games of note by Sunday when the polls are due. Having the poll due on Sunday is ridiculous. Snap assessments, box score reading and over-correction in reaction is how you get that poll done and submitted to the AP in time for it to debut.
Sunday is too soon. Push it back. While the coaches poll is just a massive joke all mixed in with how much football the SID got to watch while performing their other duties the AP poll does have some merit to it, if it is done correctly. Give these guys more time to vote because you'll get better results after they watch more games and can actually think on it as opposed to filling out spaces in a hurry.
Read more and we'll look at the poll and we'll get into the poll itself...
Others receiving votes: Arizona State 158, West Virginia 149, Utah 50, Miami (FL) 49, Iowa 41, Northwestern 30, Arizona 28, UCF 22, Michigan 19, Air Force 15, North Carolina 14, Houston 13, South Florida 9, Hawaii 8, Clemson 7, Tennessee 7, Southern Miss 6, Brigham Young 5, North Carolina State 4, NORTHERNIL 4, Oregon State 4, Pittsburgh 3, Washington 3, Nevada 1, Georgia Tech 1
Conference Distribution: The SEC gets 8 teams in. The Big Twelve and the Big Ten both get 5 teams into the rankings. The Pac-12, ACC and the Mountain West have 2 apiece. Notre Dame stands as the lone independent. The Big East has zero. The rest of the college football world; MAC, WAC, C-USA and Sun Belt have zero.
Enter the SEC bias calls now as 8 teams is going to be plenty of cause for outrage from the vocal anti-SEC crowd. Outside of that this conference breakdown seems almost fair as the Big Ten and Big Twelve are generally thought of as the second and third leagues and are represented as such with five in the fold. The Pac-12 and ACC fall into the 4 and 5 spot in the BCS respectively and they both put two teams into the mix. The question of who is better MWC or Big East is apparently answered for the moment as Boise State's Broncos make it in and TCU, who is Big East bound in 2012, stand out for the MWC over the Big East's big zero.
BIG ISSUES: Arizona State isn't in the Top 25. They're #26. This wouldn't be so irksome except Florida, Texas and Penn State are ahead of them. In a word? Silly. Perhaps it is a lack of faith in Dennis Erickson, perhaps these folks don't know about all the glory of Vontaze Burfict but either way they're missing on the Sun Devils.
Florida and Texas in the poll ahead of them seems quiet, as we've already said, silly at this juncture. Not only did Florida and Texas have, um, less than stellar seasons; they followed up their lowlight with a total staff overhaul. Will Muschamp is new in Gainesville, they're changing the entire philosophy while in Texas Mack Brown stays at the helm but damn if he hasn't shown enough folks the door for the assistants to need name tags for the first few weeks in pressers.
Last big issue? Auburn. I get the appreciation of the "reigning national champions" but that was their old team folks. Seriously. This is not that team. They've lost their offensive line, their defensive line and of course their quarterback. Their Heisman winning quarterback. Their elite defensive tackle. Look, I like Cory Lemonier and Michael Dyer as much as the next guy but c'mon.
Top 10 Nit Picking: The Top Ten reads Oklahoma, Bama, Oregon, LSU, Florida State, Stanford, Boise State, Oklahoma State, aTm and Wisconsin, in that order. From 1 to 10 my issues start with Oregon, Stanford and Boise State.
Oregon. Losing what amounts to their entire defense, minus race car driver Cliff Harris, has a lot of work to do on the often forgotten defensive side of the ball. They're a Top 10 team but 3 is lofty.
Stanford. Apparently losing your head coach to an NFL promotion type move, your heart and soul (Owen Marecic), four offensive linemen and the anchor of your 3-4 defense don't matter because you have Andrew Luck. Yeah, that logic doesn't fly here. Sorry, they're a team that just doesn't belong in the Top 10.
Boise State. Here is where your dander is all up because I'm about to say something mean about Boise State and be crowned, as always, a hater of the little guy. Except I'm not. I like that Kellen Moore is back, they lose some on the edge but he's a smart ball player and they still bring an attitude to the game that will out keep them in the hunt, I'd slide them up a few spots.
Overall Too Low: South Carolina, Arkansas, Notre Dame and UCF stood out as teams that are slotted low in my eyes. South Carolina's got most everything back from a team who finally popped their SEC East Title cherry and Stephen Garcia is officially re-instated. That means Lattimore toting the rock, Alshon Jeffrey out there "Moss-ing" your defensive backs and Stephen Garcia getting loose and running over your safeties 10 yards down field.
Arkansas losing Mallett isn't as big a deal to me as say TCU losing Dalton or Virginia Tech losing Tyrod Taylor. Not because I feed at the Tyler Wilson trough but because I dine at the Bobby Petrino picnic table. I trust Bobby, a lot, he's a hell of a college quarterback developer and with the weapons the Hogs return I trust him to put Wilson in a position to be extremely successful. I can't say the same for TCU and VT.
Notre Dame in Brian Kelly year two is solid. They closed the season out well and Bob Diaco's defense, for all the skepticism I had in the first few weeks, finally showed what he could do when he had talent and the kids bought into the system. This team is good, they'll fly around to the football and I expect big things out of the Irish.
Central Florida is unranked. Ugh. This is a ball club that beat the Dawgs in their bowl game and while I am of the mindset that 2011 UGA is better than 2011 UCF I don't buy that they're not a Top 25 team. Not quite to the extent of Arizona State but the Golden Knights are a team that should definitely be closer to, if not in, the Top 25.
Drop your thoughts here and of course I'm always there when you need me on the twitter. Football season is here folks; Go Heels. Go America.
Good stuff Michael. I'm a fan of the pre-season polls just because they get you talking and create discussion but I agree that teams shouldn't be tied into a future ranking that's based off of what amounts to what they did last year, this years schedule and what people *predict* they will do. I would be in favor of the polls that matter in the BCS equation holding off until at least three games are played.