Sportswriters offer meaningless opinion on college football

From what I understand through browsing RSS headlines, the Associated Press today released a ranking of NCAA football teams based on the opinions of a set of sportswriters. I haven”t looked at it, because it”s meaningless. From the headlines, I”ve gathered that USC is ranked 1 and LSU is ranked 2, but so what? The Associated Press poll lost all of its relevance two years ago when the AP took itself out of the BCS formula. The AP ranking simply does not matter now.

Yet newspapers and TV network still use the AP ranking as context when they compare teams and promote matchups. That happens, I suppose, because these organizations are all members of the Associated Press. I imagine member media outlets are likely required to make the AP poll their main reference for rankings.

The only full-season human poll that matters is the USA Today / Coaches Poll, which is part of the BCS formula. When talking about Top 25 teams, that is the poll I reference for the simple fact that it”s the one that matters. I don”t particularly like the Coaches Poll (or, more precisely the Sports Information Director / Graduate Assistant / Anybody Other Than The Actual Coaches Poll) and put zero stock in pre-season polls. The herd mentality of human polls means teams ranked high to start the season have an unfair advantage through the season.

Whatever differences exist in the AP and Coaches polls now will fade away through the season as the two groups of biased humans try to get their polls aligned to add “validity” to the results. When the first Harris poll is released mid-season, it will no doubt mirror the AP or Coaches poll. The human Harris voters don”t look coldly at results and competition; they look at the existing rankings in the other human polls. That”s the flaw of humans, and the biggest flaw remaining in the BCS.

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