Thursday, August 2, 2012

Preseason Rankings: An Unnecessary Advantage


Getting ahead is hard.  It's even harder when you try to do it with one hand tied behind your back.

In America, 40-percent of those born in the lower fifth income bracket never rise above that level.  While at the same time, according to a report by NPR, between 1979 and 2007 the incomes of the top one percent of Americans rose 275-percent.

This article is a-political, but it's worth noting that those who start ahead often stay ahead.

The same is true in college football.

Today, the USA Today's preseason rankings were released.  My question is why?

What is the point of putting out a list of rankings now that are used to shape a season that extends from late summer to early winter?

Teams at the top have a clear advantage.  They have more room for error because they are given a boost from the beginning.  If a team in the top five loses a game early, they have a better chance to climb their way back into title contention than a team ranked in the 20s or not at all.

But, how do we know that team in the top five are more deserving to be there than others?  We don't.  We haven't even seen them take the field outside their time spent bucking heads against their teammates.

Instead, why not wait until week three, when all teams have played somewhat meaningful games, to make a judgement of who should be ranked where.

That way, when the bowl outlook starts to take shape, it's done so with everyone on a more equal playing field.

I am excited for the college playoff system in two years, but admit the BCS usually succeeds in placing the best two teams in the title game.  But, there are many instances when preseason rankings have costs teams a trip to a better and, more importantly, more lucrative bowl game.  That means the loss of hundreds-of-thousands, if not millions, of dollar for programs who earned the right to play on that stage.  And make no mistake about it, college football is a business with money at the forefront.

Yet, because they are looked at as lesser programs off the bat, are left on the outside looking in.

College football represents one of the best seasons in all of sports.  The atmosphere is often electric, the rivalries are historic (until realignment screwed that up), and the individual traditions are unlike any others.

But, one tradition that needs to be done away with is giving an advantage to teams based on previous year's results.

Let's focus on the present and give all teams a fair shake and let what is done on the field be the deciding factor.

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