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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Should college football use a preseason game to determine rankings?

    Pro: Too many teams unworthy of preseason rankings
    By Nick Sturiale

    College football needs a preseason game a few weeks before the season starts to determine rankings. Teams that are untested and unproven are receiving higher rankings than they deserve in a game that is fairly unpredictable, especially in the first few weeks.

    Many teams this year have shown that they are not worthy of their preseason ranking through the first two weeks of the season, including Pittsburgh, ranked as the No. 25 team, which lost to Bowling Green and then barely squeaked by Buffalo a week later. West Virginia, which was the No. 8 team in the nation as of last weekend, was blown out by East Carolina, an unranked team, which may have been in the AP Top 25 if it was given a preseason game.

    Tennessee and Clemson, both ranked highly in the preseason, have both dropped out of the rankings with disappointing week one losses.

    Teams have already shown this year that they didn’t deserve to be ranked where they were while others have shown that they are worthy of a Top 25 spot, so why not give each team a fair chance to show what they can do? Teams would be allowed to play any team they wanted to schedule, and this would give people a fair look at each team’s strengths and weaknesses to determine a fair ranking. This way, in the first week, USC couldn’t slide up to No. 1 by beating the Atlantic Coast Conference cellar team, Virginia, while California had to work its way up by playing Michigan State.

    Forget eliminating rankings altogether, as that would never work with the amount of money that is generated through advertising and television viewing. Not to mention the fact that each team needs to have some sort of starting point when the season begins so fans have an idea of what to expect.

    While it may not be a perfect solution, as teams will always continue to surprise late in the season, it is definitely better than what we have now.

    Con: ‘Preseason’ is nonconference games
    By Brian Kimball

    The whole point of preseason rankings is speculation. Head coaches from 61 Division I-Football Bowl Subdivision schools – formerly Division I-A – fill out ballots on which teams they think are the best 25 teams in the country.

    The other poll, the AP Media Poll, is a random assortment of 65 sports writers across the country who think they know which teams are the ones to beat this season. I like to laugh at the rankings and see how wrong they are after the first few weeks of the season.

    Look at “”dark horse for the Big East”” Pittsburg losing 27-17 at home to Bowling Green in the opening weekend. Defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion and then-No. 17-ranked Virginia Tech lost to unranked East Carolina 27-22.

    Staying in the ACC, then-No. 9 Clemson was supposed to contend for a national title. Not anymore after getting obliterated in its first game by then-No. 24 Alabama 34-10.

    If East Carolina didn’t get enough respect after beating Virginia Tech in the regular season to be ranked in the top 25, why would it have been different if it played a preseason game? The Pirates had to dominate then-No. 8 West Virginia 24-3 to prove to those 125 “”experts”” that they were worthy of a ranking as they now sit at No. 14.

    Even if all the big name schools played a preseason game to justify their rankings, they wouldn’t schedule a game against a team good enough to prove them otherwise. No school would unveil any new wrinkles in the offense or defense.

    The scout team players and back ups would play against worse competition than they would see in practice after the starters score on the opening possession. The preseason games are each team’s non-conference games. Those are for working out the kinks before playing the teams familiar with your system.

    Also, coaching staffs would be extra leery of playing key players for fear of a possible injury. A starting quarterback or running back wrecking a knee in a literally meaningless preseason game wouldn’t make the coaching staff’s job any easier during the rest of the year.

    The only thing preseason college football games could bring to the table is a greater chance at injury and more speculation as to which team will meet expectations. Isn’t that what the polls are for in the first place?

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