Rejoice, for football season is upon us.
The pre-season Associated Press (AP) poll is out, and it puts Southern California on top, followed by Texas, Tennessee, Michigan, and Louisiana State. But just how accurate are those pre-season projections?
Not very. But not awful, either.
Take a gander at how many teams beginning in the top 5 (any spot, 1 through 5) ended up in the top 5 (any spot, 1 through 5):
Since 1980, the pre-season AP poll has never chosen the five teams that have landed in the top 5 at year’s end. Never have AP voters chosen even four of the end-of-year top 5 teams.
On the other hand, only once did the pre-season AP poll choose zero of the teams that ended up in the top 5.
Eight times, the pre-season AP poll chose three teams that ended up in the top 5.
Ten times, the AP voters chose two teams that ended up in the top 5.
And six times, the AP voters chose one team that ended up in the top 5.
Some other interesting tidbits:
*Over the past 25 years of AP polling, the pre-season #1 won the AP title four times: OU in 1985, FSU in 1993 and 1999, and USC in 2004.
*The pre-season #2 became champs twice over the past 25 years: Nebraska in 1995 and Miami in 2001.
*The champion came from outside the pre-season top five entirely 14 times over the past 25 years.
You can’t exactly blame the AP voters for their less-than-sparkling record. Often, a pre-season poll merely reflects how a team ended the previous season. Also, sometimes team mature throughout the season, getting better each week, while other teams “bonk” because of a key injury, or a scandal, or some other unforeseeable distraction.
But the odds are pretty decent that only about two of the teams in the pre-season top 5 will be there at the end of the season. Something to think about as you settle in for the NCAA football season.
The AP poll, incidentally, is no longer part of the controversial Bowl Championship Series (BCS) formula, after formally withdrawing earlier this year.
Will Franklin trivializes at WILLisms.com.