THE THREAD: SPURR-IOUS ARGUMENTS
So the coaches' poll is out now, and there's very little surprising about the ranks, except the fact that nine voters looked at Florida and said, "Replacing a four-year starter at QB and almost the entire defense? No biggie."
I'll put Florida No. 1 even if only Laura and Barney support me.
The other USC starts out at No. 1, followed by LSU and the Gators. Texas and Michigan round out the top five. West Virginia, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Ohio State are in the top 10. Also of note: Rutgers is No. 16, UCLA is No. 17, and midmajors take 22-24 (TCU, Boise State and Hawaii, respectively.)
Going beyond the official rankings, South Carolina tied Notre Dame for 29th with 90 points, far short of the 209 garnered by No. 25 Texas A&M. Memphis got five points (!) and Kentucky drew one, as did Duke.
Which brings us to a controversy over Steve Spurrier's habit of reserving the 25th spot on his ballot every year for the school that provided his first job as a college head coach. This is using the term "controversy" loosely, because it mostly seems kicked up by USA Today, which trotted out a deputy managing editor to slam one of the voters in a poll run by ... USA Today. Journalists usually don't like to be a part of the story; apparently, USA Today now feels comfortable initiating a story by blasting Spurrier.
Said Jim Welch, USA TODAY deputy managing editor for sports: "It's clear that what once might have seemed quaint has begun to lose its charm. We're hopeful that before next season the coaches association can prevail upon Coach Spurrier to find another way to salute his former team — or that Duke gets better in a hurry."
Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, whose members vote in the poll, said Thursday that he plans to discuss the vote with Spurrier.
First, as long as there is one person ranking Memphis No. 21 or several people ranking the Tigers somewhere, C&F would argue that the poll has bigger fish to fry.
Second, seeing as how this is a preseason poll that has little or no bearing on or resemblance to reality, C&F can't imagine what the problem is. If Spurrier were putting Duke No. 1, then there would be a problem. But a tip of his cap to a team that he will remove as soon as it loses -- which, let's face it, should happen the first week of the season -- doesn't damage the "integrity" of the poll.
At least we're aware of Spurrier's vote and the reason for it. For all we know, somebody could be ranking the other USC No. 1 because they like the uniform or making Ohio State No. 10 because, gosh darn it, they just love Jim Tressel's sweatervests.
Nice duds. Here's 16 points.
Preseason polls have little, if any, validity. They're hocus-pocus, a mix of what a team did last year, how many returning starters it has, recruiting, rumor, news reports and scheduling. Actual performance? Eh, not so much -- a key reason C&F would not miss preseason polls if they disappeared.
When Spurrier voting for Duke costs someone a shot at a BCS bowl or a national championship, you've got a point. Until then, it's just sanctimonious whining from someone who obviously takes their poll a lot more seriously than do the rest of us.
--The president of the Univeristy of Texas will stand by his Mack, despite the slightly negative publicity generated by a Longhorn crime spree. Brown? He's "disappointed," and apparently at his football students, not just the press.
--Three South Carolina players are leaving or not even joining the team. Dakota Walker and Matt Raysor are bolting for greener pastures while Arkee Smith's appeal fell on deaf ears.
--Ryan Perrilloux is back at LSU. I've got 3-to-1 odds that he gets suspended again.