Here at ScoreBoredSports, we know we’re one of the new kids on the block (Joey McIntyre, if we get to choose) and that it would be wise to withhold judgement of long established sports reporters, but when a piece seems as off-the-mark as this one, we can’t help but take notice. Paul Myerberg is a national college football writer for USA Today, and he recently authored a piece which provides his ranking of all 128 Division 1 football teams. After reading, and re-reading the article, I must assume one of two things to be true: either Paul Myerberg has some Adam Schefter-level inside knowledge of college football, or Paul Myerberg is like that annoying friend on Facebook who makes wildly lofty predictions and considers himself a genius when 1 out of 100 comes to fruition.
Below are what I consider to be the most egregious of Myerberg’s Not-stradamus predictions/rankings.
I didn’t have to read too far into it before my WTF alarm started ringing. Baylor is going to be strong team this year, no doubt, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish in the top 10, or even top 5 if they run the table. However, Myerberg must believe that Baylor is good enough to win the SEC West, as they are ranked ahead of perennial powerhouses Alabama and Auburn (#3 and #4, respectively.) It’s not that I don’t buy the Baylor hype, it’s just that there are programs they haven’t surpassed who are ranked below them, specifically those SEC teams, Oregon, and Michigan State. With tough road games against in state rivals and facing Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in consecutive weeks, Baylor could easily lose three games and be destined for the Guns & Ammo Bowl, which I don’t think exists but totally should.
#5 Boise State
Boise as a playoff/possible NC contender? What year is it? Their out of conference schedule is still weak, and even if they finish the season with a goose egg in the loss column, I don’t see Boise cracking the top 5, at least until they string a few really strong years together like they did when they rose to prominence earlier in the millennium. Not even the Kellen Moore/Doug Martin/Chris Petersen roster garnered top 5 hype preseason, and this years team hasn’t even named a starting quarterback.
#8 Arizona State
ASU is getting better, but they are an underdog in their own season opener against your #47, Texas A&M. Makes sense to me.
Based on, what, exactly? Between ASU, Boise, USC at #17 and this, I assume Myerberg just picked the PAC12 teams out of a hat and put them into vacant spots.
I think he may have meant that Texas will start 2-5. Ranking the Longhorns ahead of LSU (#27), Tennessee (#33), and Texas A&M (#47) reeks of the benefit-of-the-doubt bias often afforded to proud programs like Texas, who have fallen on harder times.
#35 Western Kentucky University
Now, being a graduate of a MAC school, I have a lot of love for my Non-AQ conference brethren, but this is a stretch. The Hilltoppers went 8-5 last year, with quality losses to such college football stalwarts as Florida (Atlantic), Louisiana (Tech), and Alabama (Birmingham). Not to mention their heartbreaking loss in a triple-overtime thriller against rival maybe Middle Tennessee State. I assure you that my cynicism has nothing to do with the fact that WKU stole last year’s bowl game win out from under my alumnus, Central Michigan. Fans of programs such as Florida (#69), South Carolina (#40), BYU (#38), Utah (#43), NC State (#44), and Cal (#49) will have to get used to their view of the new NCAA football landscape from behind the mighty Hilltoppers.
#48 and #56 Temple
Temple got ranked twice. Who are they, Grover Cleveland? And even on a bad day, the Owls are better than Pitt (#59), Iowa (#60), and Michigan (#64)? C’mon man.
It is only fair that I preface this by saying that I am a Michigan fan, but WHAT THE HELL MAN? I know the program has been bad, but this is unjust. According to Myerberg, the Wolverines are the third best team in the state, with the Broncos of Western Michigan coming in at #55. At least we are ranked ahead of our bitter B1G rivals, Maryland (#71) and Rutgers (#76).
Feel free to peruse the original post for your own favorites, there are so many that I couldn’t possibly include them all. Still. there is a chance that this will all come true, and perhaps at that time I will write an apology to Mr. Myerberg. Or, perhaps pre-season rankings are inherently meaningless and I am putting too much thought into this. You be the judge.
edit: The article has been modified, at the very least replacing Temple with San Diego State at the #48 spot.