Top 25 Picks – Week 1

I know I’m a day late with these (missed South Carolina and USC), but here are the remainder of this weekend’s top 25 games.

Week 1 doesn’t usually see a lot of even matchups, so most of my picks are for the favorites. I wanted to pick Clemson at home, but I just can’t quit the SEC. (Ole Miss at Vanderbilt was about as good as it gets to an opening night game, by the way.) I didn’t include any games versus I-AA teams (despite the Towsons of the world).

Upset of the week: TCU over LSU. It’s basically a home game for the Frogs and G.P.’s defense is going to be ready to go.

Here are the picks (picks in bold):

No. 1 ALABAMA vs. Virginia Tech
Buffalo at No. 2 OHIO STATE
No. 5 GEORGIA at No. 8 Clemson
Rice at No. 7 TEXAS A&M
Ohio at No. 9 LOUISVILLE
Toledo at No. 10 FLORIDA
No. 11 FLORIDA STATE at Pittsburgh
No. 12 LSU vs. No. 20 TCU
Mississippi State vs. No. 13 OKLAHOMA STATE
Temple at No. 14 NOTRE DAME
New Mexico State at No. 15 TEXAS
Louisiana-Monroe at No. 16 OKLAHOMA
Central Michigan at No. 17 MICHIGAN
Wyoming at No. 18 NEBRASKA
No. 19 BOISE STATE at Washington
Nevada at No. 21 UCLA
No. 22 NORTHWESTERN at California
Massachusetts at No. 23 WISCONSIN

Tell me why I’m wrong in the comments.

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Preseason #1 and the National Championship

With the recent releases of the preseason AP and Coaches’ polls, I began to wonder if being ranked #1 by a preseason poll was any indicator of national championship success. Below are the preseason #1s for the last 11 seasons.

Year Preseason #1
2012 USC (AP) / LSU (Coaches’)
2011 Oklahoma
2010 Alabama
2009 Florida
2008 Georgia
2007 USC
2006 Ohio St
2005 USC
2004 USC
2003 Oklahoma
2002 Miami

Now here are the final rankings for each of the preseason number ones (AP final ranking on left, Coaches’ on right).

Year Final Rankings
2012 USC (Not Ranked) / LSU (#12)
2011 Oklahoma (#16/#15)
2010 Alabama (#10/#11)
2009 Florida (#3)
2008 Georgia (#13/#10)
2007 USC (#3/#2)
2006 Ohio St (#2)
2005 USC (#2)
2004 USC (#1)
2003 Oklahoma (#3)
2002 Miami (#2)

Now here is what I found extremely interesting. Looking at the last 11 years, before the inception of the stand-alone BCS national championship game, the preseason #1 played for the national championship every season (2002-2006). However, since the BCS added a separate national championship game following the 2007 season, not a single preseason #1 has played in the national championship game.

Furthermore, with the exception of the 2004 USC team who vacated their win due to NCAA violations, during the last 11 seasons, no preseason #1 has won a national championship.

From 2002-2006, the preseason #1 (excluding 2004 USC) dropped, on average, 1.25 spots from the preseason to the final poll. But since the stand-along BCS NCG, the preseason #1 (excluding the catastrophe that was the 2012 USC team) has dropped an average of 7.9 spots from the preseason to the final poll. Overall over the last 11 years, the preseason #1 has dropped an average of 5.1 spots by the end of the bowl season.

Under the old system, the Crimson Tide would play in the national championship in the Rose Bowl and probably lose. But to all those who are growing weary of Alabama, worry not. Due to the addition of the separate NCG, the preseason #1 ranking will be a curse to them. In all likelihood, they will finish around #9 in the polls and a different SEC team (Georgia?) will be the final BCS national champions.

Sources: ESPN, Wikipedia