I'm dying for the start of college football season. I am a die-hard, dyed-in-the-wool Miami Hurricanes fan. You will never convince me - nor should you try; I'll just make you look foolish - that they aren't the most dominant team of the last 25 years. I bleed Orange and Green and I piss Orange and Blue and shit Garnet and Gold. (Sorry. I mostly keep the blog clean, but sometimes profanity is called for and this is one such occasion.)
First of all, let me just say that I am sick to death of reading about, hearing about and seeing Matt Leinart and USC. I was just perusing ESPN's [so-called] experts' picks for the Rose Bowl (this year's BCS Championship game) and all 12 picked USC as one of the contestants. Now, this could happen - because USC's highest-ranked opponent this year is #19 Cal. USC doesn't play anybody. Because the PAC-10 sucks. They didn't play anybody last year - except Cal, who came within a play of beating USC (they did beat the Men of Troy two years ago). But it's as least as likely that USC won't make it to the title game as that they will.
Second, USC are not going for a "three-peat". LSU were National Champions in 2003 NOT USC. Yeah, I know. The AP voted them champs in their poll. Guess what? Nobody cares. Everybody knows that - for better or worse - the winner of the BCS championship game is the National Champion. Punto. End of discussion.
I guess I should widen my scope here a little bit and say that, while I love college football, I hate the pre-season polls.
Take this year's poll (please). Texas is the consensus number two team. Texas? Based on what? The fact that Mack Brown had to lobby to get them into last year's Rose Bowl (over a far more deserving Cal team) and even then they only beat Michigan by one? I wouldn't even think of putting Texas in the top 10 until they've beaten Oklahoma. Or how about even making it a game. The last time the 'Horns won the Red River Shootout it didn't matter. Texas is turning into the Michigan of the college polls - perenially overranked.
Except that Michigan is this year's Michigan. What the hell are the Wolverines doing ranked number four? They have promising sophomores at quarterback (Chad Henne) and running back (Mike Hart) and a great junior wide receiver (Steve Breaston - you can keep Ted Ginn, Jr.; I'll take Breaston) to make up for the sting of losing Braelon Edwards. On the other hand the Maize-and-Blue lost a lot on defense. And let's not forget Edwards, too. Michigan will be lucky to finish in the top 10.
I think that college football should ban anything resembling an official pre-season poll until at least October. It's too hard for teams to live up to or live down to a particularly high or low ranking. Take last year's Auburn Tigers. They started the preseason ranked at something like 17th. Now we all know how this story ended. Auburn finished the season undefeated but because of their low preseason rank, they really stood no chance of catching Oklahoma in the BCS standings. (Conversely, you can pick almost any Michigan team from the '80s and '90s and see how much of a crutch their high preseason rankings were to them.)
What this all really boils down to is that not enough sportswriters recognize and pay tribute to the dominance of...