On The Beat with Mike Griffith: Georgia football No. 4 in preseason ‘beauty pageant’
ATHENS — A football beauty pageant. That’s what I think of preseason polls.
Who did what last year and how many do they bring back from that team?
It’s flawed logic, of course, because who is to say the next guy coming into a vacated position won’t do better? Or, what if some of the guys returning aren’t really that good?
But in this era of closed practices and scrimmages and vanilla spring games, there’s not much else to go on when picking one team over another.
Of course we fall victim to a school’s tradition, and the name on the jersey, or the conference affiliation.
Some of it’s conscious, some of it subconscious. All of it is subjective.
Every voter is his or her own judge and jury, applying their own rationale, justifying why this team is better than that team right now, even though neither has played a game.
Clemson is my number one team because I think the Tigers have a great defensive line, a strong quarterback situation and an incredible football staff.
Alabama is not my number one because the quarterback situation and potential locker room division has me nervous.
Stop the presses, College Football Hall of Fame lock Nick Saban might actually have the No. 2 team in the country, not No. 1!
Why Ohio State at No. 3? Because the Buckeyes are loaded with talent, and Urban Meyer is a very good football coach.
Ohio State deserved to be in the College Football Playoff last year as a conference champ, so my thought is there has been added incentive this offseason.
Then there’s Georgia, the team I cover. For all the talent I see, and as good as this football staff appears to be, there are unanswered questions. The defensive front, specifically.
My current rankings do not necessarily reflect where I expect these teams to finish.
This is just my pecking order at the start of the season.
Take Washington at No. 10, for example. The Huskies will surely finish higher than that if they are the class of the Pac-12, as I suspect.
But I believe there are three teams in the SEC and three teams in the Big Ten that are better than Washington right now.
Right now — that’s all this is. Once a team gets momentum and wins seven or eight in a row, synergy takes place. An 8-0 Washington is better than an 0-0 Washington or a 6-2 Auburn, for example.
But for now, everyone is undefeated.
Things will change in my poll after Week One, perhaps drastically.
I will use transitive properties to some extent, and I will take note of conference and schedule strength. I will reflect on programs’ recent histories, trends and, yes, head coach’s track record.
Polls are opinions, and they are fun to do and even more fun to discuss and debate.
Here’s the FWAA-NFF Super 16 ballot I submitted this week, have at it.
Mike Griffith ballot 8-20-18
3. Ohio Sate
8. Miami (FL)
9. Penn State
11. Notre Dame
13. Virginia Tech
14. West Virginia
15. Michigan State
16. Southern Cal