To a lot of folks surprise, Clemson is #1. Yeah, the Tigers are really good and have notched some impressive victories over tough competition.
Should it be a surprise former #1 Ohio State fell all the way to #3 even though they remain undefeated? Maybe. Maybe not. The Buckeyes have struggled to eke out wins against teams they should wallop, and their QB situation just got a little dicey. They used to have three that could probably start at most schools. Now one is a receiver and another has been suspended a couple games for, shall we say, conduct unbecoming. Then again, remember last year at this point in the season. Ohio State wasn't even in the conversation when it came to national championship possibilities. How did that work out?
LSU checks in at #2. Those Tigers are pretty good too. And also undefeated.
To nobody's surprise, Alabama is #4. They've already been beaten once, but you just know the pollsters/committee will find a way to include Bama. It's kind of like watching a golf tournament and Tiger Woods. He might not even be there, and still floundering around ranked somewhere south of #100, but they'll find a way to talk about Eldrick, compare other players to him, and show a few of his former highlights. It's almost like it's mandatory, though it's far from objective.
Interestingly, LSU plays Alabama next. Something's gotta give. One of them will reinforce their resume while the other will fall a few spots in the polls, depending on how close the game is.
A few other teams didn't make the Top 5 for various reasons. Baylor was really good too, but their starting QB went down for the year with an injury. The Horned Frogs of TCU can and have racked up a lot of points in their games. Thing is, they also give up a ton. Beating somebody, say, 52-48 is a win, but not an overall impressive one.
Notre Dame is like Bama and Tiger. Media darlings. If there's a way....... But the Irish have already been beaten by the above-mentioned Clemson. Oops.
Michigan State also remains unbeaten, but they fell to #7. Maybe this is what happens when a school with a proven excellent football program just can't seem to get over the Rodney Dangerfield no respect hump. Then again, they're not exactly helping themselves with the early season patsies they continue to schedule. Strength of schedule counts with the committee. Playing in-state minor league competition like Western and Central Michigan, sandwiched around a game against pitiful Air Force is one thing. Who will they put on their schedule next year? Uncle Vinnie's flag team? C'mon guys. If you want to get respect, go play somebody halfway decent in your elective games. But if they just have to pad their win column by playing walkover games, at least clobber such opponents. The Spartans have not, plus they received a last second miracle in their game against the University of Michigan to pull out a game they should have lost.
But like LSU and Bama, the Spartans have a date with Ohio State in a few weeks. Again, something's gotta give. If both remain clean until that game, the winner will be looking good for a shot at the Final Four. The loser will most definitely be out. Early season losses can be overcome, see Bama this year and OSU last year. But late season losses are pretty much a death knell to any title aspirations. It shouldn't matter -- but it does.
The real kicker? Though the media is going ga-ga over the first "championship" poll, it doesn't matter one little bit. With another month left in the regular season, plus conference championship games, it's almost a sure bet the entire deck of "contenders" (and their rankings) will be reshuffled a few times.
In the end, the committee geniuses will secretly meet and determine the Final Four. In the meantime, all the rest is just hype and empty sound bytes for the talking heads to jabber on about. They don't have the faintest idea how things will work out, but when you've got a network with 6-8 channels, a virtual army of "experts" rotating from one stage to the next to say the same things again for a different "show", at least it gives them something to blather on about. Kind of like CNN, Anderson Cooper and their merry gang of breathless reporters dissecting the latest plane crash. They don't have a clue either but, by God, they'll bring you the latest know-nothing updates on a daily basis. Even more incredibly, their ratings go up. So just how dumb are the people that tune in every day only to learn nothing new? Amazing.
Here's an idea. They should all shut up until results that matter are in. We've got WAY too many talking heads with WAY too little information. Wake me up when the Final Four of college football has been decided. And for crying out loud, stop with the conspiracy theories from hell every time something bad happens that causes a loss of human life. Sometimes stuff -- just -- happens. Or maybe those pesky Klingons are back causing all the unrest on planet earth. Yeah, that's the ticket. Makes about as much sense as some of the reporting we hear these days.
Somebody please suggest the Klingon theory to AC. He could probably run with that for at least a couple weeks. And his ratings would be through the roof.