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Opinion

Rant, Rave

By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 14, 2003

Preseason polls a product of flawed thought process

The problem with preseason college football polls: In ensuing weeks, too many voters are incapable of making fresh judgments. The polls do not adjust to reflect how teams actually play.

Too many voters are unable to base their rankings on performance. Instead, they "lock in" to their preseason ranking - which is an educated guess before teams actually play - and are burdened by three dead-wrong codes: a team can drop in the rankings only if it loses; a team that loses must drop; and teams that win must stay put or move up.

Those flawed codes were in effect after the Miami-Florida game in the Orange Bowl, a thriller decided with about 10 seconds left. The 'Canes eked it out, and since it was only the second game of the season, it should carry a lot of weight in the rankings.

Florida entered ranked No.18 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, Miami was No.3. Florida clearly outperformed its ranking in almost clinching the upset, yet, inexplicably, the Gators dropped to No.20. Miami, meanwhile, moved up. Ordinarily Miami's move up would be bogus, but in this case it is okay since then-No.2 Ohio State did not play near the level of its ranking in barely beating middling San Diego State.

Preseason polls are not necessarily bad. But if the pollsters won't base their subsequent rankings on what actually happens on the field, then maybe the preseason polls need to be eliminated.

Opponents aside, 'Noles are dominant again

Florida State is Florida State again.

Go ahead, scoff that North Carolina is as soft as its powder blue uniforms. Snicker that Maryland lost at Northern Freakin' Illinois. Smirk at Georgia Tech's depleted roster and true freshman QB.

Then start listening for the war chant, because the 'Noles are back.

We're talking on the field. Bobby Bowden's inane denial of his team's off-field problems and his misdirected anger is subject for another story. On the field, between the lines, the Seminoles are roaring back to prominence. The defense is sneering and hyperaggressive once more, the offense is layered with game-breaking skill players with brute force (Greg Jones), whippet quickness (Lorenzo Booker, Chris Davis) and pure speed (Craphonso Thorpe, P.K. Sam).

The only thing possibly holding FSU back from national title contention, besides injuries and bad luck, is its biggest problem from the past two years: quarterback. To minimize Chris Rix's mistakes, the coaching staff has severely simplified the play calling, working around his mental limitations and limiting turnovers. It hardly holds FSU back, though, since the skill guys are so good and the new offensive line is solid.

With Miami appearing vulnerable, a new favorite for state supremacy in 2003 has emerged. Meet the new 'Noles, same as the old 'Noles.


Baseball

  • MLB acts the bully with Expos
  • AL: Chisox ride Colon's stamina
  • NL: Marlins thrill a packed house
  • Penny injury less serious than feared

  • Boxing
  • Sugar gets sweet win vs. De La Hoya

  • College football
  • 'Canes inconsistent but still cruise to win
  • Gators shake off doubt, slow start
  • Technical difficulty
  • Clarett expected to stay at OSU
  • 'Canes contain big plays
  • Freshman Harris out until second trial
  • Special teams a bit more so
  • UF By the numbers
  • UF Game balls
  • 'Noles seek new nonconference foe
  • Defense makes stand when it counts most
  • FSU By the numbers
  • FSU Game balls
  • Buckeyes extend streak by inches
  • Wolverines devour Irish

  • Conferences
  • Big East: Big third helps Pitt pull away
  • SEC: Georgia stifles South Carolina
  • State: UCF needs record day to rally, hold off FAU
  • Big Ten: Wisconsin stumbles, fumbles away game
  • Pac-10: Trojans click in all phases
  • Big 12: Hogs upset 'Horns
  • C-USA: Golden Eagles punish Tigers' errors
  • Nation: Air Force finds it can pass, rush
  • ACC: Boilermakers don't fall short this time

  • Golf
  • Dent's 65 within a stroke of his age
  • Sorenstam, Pettersen strike a blow at U.S.

  • Gotta minute?
  • Rocco Baldelli

  • Horse racing
  • Congaree frozen out in warmup

  • In brief
  • eBay item has James agitated

  • Motorsports
  • M. Schumacher wins F1 pole
  • NASCAR remains a family business

  • NFL
  • Picks, Week 2
  • Same Tuna, different diversion
  • Things make you go hmmm

  • Opinion
  • Rant, Rave

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report
  • Preparation vital ahead of a storm

  • Preps
  • Kotchman, Quick can't catch King's Bowerman
  • Biladeau never looks back as Jesuit wins
  • DQ aids Plant girls at relays; Jesuit tops boys
  • Jesuit's Biladeau runs away with title
  • King's Bowerman cruises to victory
  • Lecanto has strong showing
  • PHU gets best of Seminole
  • Practice as targets pays as PHU wins at Keswick

  • Soccer
  • This won't be a party like it was in 1999
  • Letters: Ex-Seminole should have been kicked out
  • Rays
  • Rays detect no signs of a Yankees decline
  • Lou's worst club still inspires hope
  • In upside, this OF is peerless
  • Rays tales
  • Bucs
  • Hitting the high spots
  • A shutout as only Rice can see it
  • Waitress's joke hard for Sapp to swallow
  • Carolina blueprint should look familiar
  • Kickin' back with Thomas Jones
  • Sideline
  • Letters: Eagles fans reach the ultimate low
  • Lightning
  • Lecavalier, Stillman highlight first day
  • Success depends on growth
  •  


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