Time to argue over which team is the best for the next three months until the playoff starts.
It’s about that time. Kids are starting to wind down their summer breaks, parents are trying to get in that one last trip to the beach while they can, and the temperatures in the South are approaching triple digits, with the humidity right behind.
That can only mean one thing. College football season is about to start. I’ve heard some parts of the country don’t have the proper respect for the tradition that is religiously celebrated in most of the South and West, but still, most sports fans across the country will be taking notice.
Unfortunately, with it comes what I call September Madness, commonly known as pre-season rankings. For the uninitiated, this is when a group of experts, defined loosely, get together and decide who has the best college football team in the nation, despite none of them having actually played a single game as yet.
Some will say they base their analysis on observations of the talent each team has, the team’s upcoming opponents and the league in which the teams play, but all of this is subjective at the least and quite often, incredibly wrong.
Even a few misguided individuals will base their projections on the fact the team X won the National Championship last season and they should be ranked number one until someone beats them. It doesn’t matter to them that team X lost half of last year’s starters to graduation, and had a terrible recruiting class, they still should be considered the best in the nation until they lose.
Well, you argue, it will all sort itself out by the end of the season, but that’s not exactly true. People who vote in football ranking polls are influenced by perception, and when team X is highly ranked at the beginning of the year, team Y won’t get as much respect as the season plays out as does team X, or the conference in which team X plays.
Strength of schedule is a major factor for some in ranking teams, favoring teams that have beaten superior opponents over those who have defeated perceived weaker teams. But that is often based on pre-conceived notions, established in the pre-season, or prejudiced by a team’s league affiliation.