Damn, I’m good.
OK, so this hasn’t been the best financial start in the history of Weekend Predictions. But I’ve hit most of my major picks so far, and after nailing South Carolina’s upset of Mississippi Thursday night, I think I’ve finally stumbled upon the winning formula for this season: Just pick against one overblown highly ranked team every week.
The Rebels began the season as an overrated No. 8. They rose to a really overrated No. 4 through attrition. But when they lost to the Gamecocks, 16-10, in Columbia, it was the fourth straight week a top 5 team has lost since the preseason rankings came out. They have been, in order: No. 3 Oklahoma (to No. 20 BYU), No. 5 Oklahoma State (to unranked Houston), No. 3 USC (to unranked Washington), and No. 4 Ole Miss (to unranked South Carolina).
Overall, seven top 10 teams and 10 top-15 teams already have lost, and we’ve bare touched Week 4.
The fact that three top-5 teams have lost to unranked teams is the really disturbing part. Are you starting to get the feeling that early-season rankings don’t mean anything?
It has been said before but it’s worth re-stating: Early season rankings should not exist. The Associated Press writers’ poll and the USA Today coaches’ poll should forget about pre-season rankings. They shouldn’t come out with opening polls until at least — at least – early October, after most teams have played five games. That would eliminate so much of the goofiness.
Now, the argument against this is that fans and media debate rankings from the time the pre-season polls come out in August. Debate is what makes college football special. The problem is that you have teams that are either significantly overrated or underrated in the pre-season. That can have poll ramifications for the rest of the season. For example, LSU was a preason No. 11 and now is at No. 7 because other teams have lost. But it’s conceivable if the poll didn’t come out until October, the Tigers would open with a top-5 ranking.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, whose team has dropped from No. 15 to out of the rankings, said it best: “I do not care about the polls. That is ridiculous anyway. I can look and see so many different things that do not make any sense. How can Oklahoma be ranked ahead of BYU or Oklahoma State sitting ahead of Houston? Teams that have beat teams head-to-head are nine spots behind them. Right now, this time of year, the poll does not mean anything.”
They’re fun to argue about. But they I think we can do without the arguments in September.