No point to having early Top 25 polls
IF you want to make an argument for not having a football poll until mid-October, just take a look at my Top 25 preseason picks for the Associated Press in August. It's not pretty.
My top 10, which included Southern California and LSU as Nos. 1 and 2 in the land, are a combined 59-17 this season. Not one of my top-10 preseason teams is among the remaining five unbeatens. I had current No. 1 Ohio State in at No. 11, and several teams (too many to mention) who are either barely in the Top 25 of the first BCS standings or missing from the scene altogether.
Judging by my knowledge, I could open up a betting service in Vegas and say, "Whoever I pick, take the opposite and score big." But it's unlikely there's a market for such a thing.
Last night's picks were particularly difficult, especially in the top 10, where teams come and go more quickly than certain residents in Oz. They fall into the second 10, just waiting for the opportunity to knock off some make-believe program like South Florida, Louisville or Rutgers to regain national championship aspirations.
My Top 25 deck's been dropped on the floor so many times the past two months, it's like a game of 52-card pickup. A team may have reached the top of the pile one week in my select 25, only to hit bottom the next. It's topsy-turvy in my neighborhood.
Who would have thought Michigan, banned from the Top 25 for losing to a team from something called the Division I Football Championship Subdivision, would be creeping up the charts like a Britney Spears release seven weeks later? Or that LSU and USC could still meet for the national championship given how teams have failed once in the top tier.
THE GOOD NEWS IS, nobody's basing a BCS bid on my selections. Somebody upstairs at the AP office a couple of years back figured it'd be best to get out of the BCS business. Having reporters and editors like myself helping select the national championship is downright dangerous.
Take a close look at my preseason Top 25 and you'll find Wisconsin, Louisville, Texas Christian, UCLA, Tennessee, Florida State, Nebraska, Arkansas, Georgia and Texas A&M among the invited guests. Of that group, only Georgia and recent addition UCLA remain. After that devastating loss at Utah, it's hard to imagine the Bruins belonging among the nation's elite, but there they are, unbeaten in the Pac-10.
About the only thing I did right last August was select Boston College at No. 23. The Eagles weren't in the AP's Top 25 to start the year, and now they're likely to be No. 2 in the land when the polls are released today. So much for the preseason.
Maybe it's best we wait for the BCS computers and go from there. They're better with numbers and it would keep voters like myself from embarrassing ourselves in the future.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org