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.
|2012||USC (AP) / LSU (Coaches’)|
Now here are the final rankings for each of the preseason number ones (AP final ranking on left, Coaches’ on right).
|2012||USC (Not Ranked) / LSU (#12)|
|2006||Ohio St (#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.