FanPost

The Predictability of Preseason Polls


The Associated Press poll went from ranking the Top 10 to the Top 20 in 1968 and to the Top 25 in 1989.   How accurate are preseason polls?  I'll use a Consensus Preseason Poll to compare with the BCS standings from this past Sunday (Week 13), listing teams by BCS standings with Preseason consensus ranking in parentheses. 

  1. LSU (5)
  2. Alabama (1)
  3. Arkansas (13)
  4. Oklahoma State (10 T)
  5. Virginia Tech (8)
  6. Stanford (7)
  7. Boise State (6)
  8. Houston (NR)
  9. Oklahoma (2)
  10. Oregon (3)
  11. Kansas State (NR)
  12. South Carolina (14)
  13. Georgia (18)
  14. Michigan State (20)
  15. Michigan (NR)
  16. Wisconsin (16)
  17. Clemson (NR)
  18. Baylor (NR)
  19. Penn State (NR)  
  20. TCU (17)
  21. Nebraska (12)
  22. Notre Dame (9)
  23. Georgia Tech (NR)
  24. Auburn (NR)
  25. Texas (NR) 

The top 10 is fairly predictive with only Houston as a preseason unranked team.  Houston and Michigan are the other major surprises to pollsters.  Through #16, the teams can be considered somewhat predictive.  From #17 to #25 (9 plcaces), there are only three ranked with six unranked preseason teams.  

Here are the preseason favorites in order who are not ranked with consensus preseason ranking and current record in parentheses. 

  • Florida State (4th, 7-4)
  • Texas A&M (10T, 6-5)
  • Ohio State (15, 6-5)
  • Missouri (19, 6-5)
  • Mississippi State (21, 5-6)
  • Florida  (22, 6-5)
  • USC (23, 9-2)
  • West Virginia (24, 7-3)

  • Arizona State (25, 6-5)

Why USC is not favored by the computers is a mystery.  The AP has them at 10th.  ND and FSU don't have a realistic chance of reaching their preseason ranking, but USC and West Virginia may very well finish near or above their preseason rankings.  Still, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Missouri, Mississippi State, Florida, and Arizona State are major misses, hovering around .500.    

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