ESPN’S Controversial Preseason Power Rankings
By: Larry Burton
Maybe they just want some chatter since it’s slow. Maybe they let Danny Kanell write this list or maybe they just wanted to poke the bear. (No reference intended) But when ESPN came out this week with their preseason power rankings for college football, it left some teams happy and Alabama fan scratching their heads.
In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the order of the top 15 teams:
2. Florida State
7. Ole Miss
10. Oklahoma State
14. Texas A&M
15. Notre Dame
I can tell Kirk Herbstreit didn’t have too much influence on this as his first five were:
Now of course Alabama fans expect to enter the season atop all kinds of lists, including this list, but it’s more from habit and history than hope. LSU is not only number one, but five places higher than the team than utterly crushed and humiliated them just a few months ago and has simply owned them for the last five games in a row. What has ESPN seen transpire in Baton Rouge to have lifted them so highly since losing three of their last five games that included two serious butt thumpings? We’d really like to know?
Do you really think Alabama fears Leonard Fornette after making a joke of him last season and bursting his Heisman hopes? What one weapon does LSU have that remotely makes them superior to their counterpart at Alabama? I research SEC football as much as anybody and I can’t find one.
And Tennessee ahead of Alabama? The same Tennessee that has less seasons with nine wins or more than Vanderbilt in the last five years? Tennessee? The same team than Alabama has flicked off their schedule for the last nine years in a row the same way a person would flick a booger off their finger? Tennessee? The same team that has 4 five win seasons in the last ten years? Who’s high water mark in this entire decade has been nine wins and just done that once? Ahead of Alabama? Did Tennessee send some “Knoxville Dew” to the voters in this poll?
Not that I know everything, but I have in fact out predicted ESPN in every preseason and regular season result for more than a decade now and I have Tennessee to finish behind Georgia and Florida this year and that is with Tennessee playing one of the easiest schedules in the entire SEC. With sure wins all but guaranteed against pitiful teams like Appalachian State, Ohio, Tennessee Tech, kentucky and Vanderbilt and rebuilding teams like South Carolina, Texas A&M and Missouri, there’s 8 almost sure wins. Then figure in a struggling Virginia Tech and there’s their ninth without breaking a substantial sweat. If they don’t win these nine, then the Butch Davis era may be coming to a close. Their whole season comes down to just three teams that could and should beat them, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
But whatever the reasoning behind ESPN’s picks, it is paying off in the most obvious way, we are all wanting to talk about it and in the world of media, that makes it alright.
Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter