Pat Dooley’s Friday Fivesome August 13th

The Friday Fivesome comes at you after five days in the Panhandle and a couple of days this week going to bed at 9 p.m. I think they are related.

  1. For the Fivesome today, we are going to talk about the coaches’ poll and only because every year when either the coaches’ poll of the AP poll comes out, there is a segment of the football fan population that loses it. They jump up and down and hold their breath and when they let it out they scream, “We don’t need a poll until the middle of the season!!!!!” There are a lot of things we don’t need, but we still like having them, like doggie doors and a good wireless mouse (still looking). The preseason polls are just candy, peeps. They are harmless. The argument against them is that they influence the polls that really count, the ones put out by the College Football Playoff committee, especially the one at the end of the season. But you know what really influences the committee? How you play. Who you beat. The preseason poll is just for kicks and certainly adds to the buzz about games we already knew were big.
  2. So, let’s go back to 2016 and check out the preseason poll. Clemson was No. 1, Alabama No. 2. They ended up playing for the national title. Does anybody think those two things have anything to do with each other? In 2017, Alabama was No. 1 and Ohio State was No. 2. Ohio State wasn’t in the playoff because it lost twice during the regular season. Alabama played Georgia, which was No. 15 in the preseason poll. Georgia made the playoffs because it lost only one regular season game and won the SEC title game over the Auburn team it had lost to earlier. That’s all.
  3. In 2018, Alabama and Clemson were 1 and 2 (as they are this year) and they played for the national title. So, maybe you are now understanding why we are headed to a 12-game playoff. The following year, it was Clemson and Alabama again, but LSU spoiled the party with a generational team. LSU was sixth in the preseason.
  4. And then last year it was Clemson and Ohio State being 1 and 2. And Alabama was third. And Alabama played Ohio State for the national title after the Buckeyes knocked off Clemson in the semifinals. My point is that college football is a capitalist game where the rich get richer and it’s hard to break into the champions’ club. But it has nothing to do with preseason polls. They are just bright, shiny toys for our enjoyment. If fans want to get angry, play better. Or play better opponents. Or come to the SEC. Never mind, we’re full.
  5. I saved this for last and that is the way Dan Mullen has been able to do better than where the polls ranked the Gators in the preseason in two of his three years. In 2018, Florida was also receiving votes, unranked and unloved. And the Gators finished No. 6. In 2019, Florida was preseason No. 8 and finished seventh. Unfortunately, last year, thanks to the three-game losing streak to close the season, the mighty Gators started eighth and finished 12th. Now, here’s where someone who doesn’t like the preseason polls could rail about how Florida would not be there if the Gators weren’t in the top 10 to start. But we all know that you don’t get penalized too badly when you have three of your losses to Nos. 1, 4 and 6 in the final poll.

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