BYU Football was not ranked in the Preseason AP Top 25 after finishing 11th in the Final AP Poll in 2020.
Dear AP Poll voters,
Getting familiar with all 130 college football programs is a very difficult task. I will not pretend to know the ins and outs of the Indiana, South Florida or the San Diego State football programs. On the top of my head I can only name eight teams that will have a new quarterback this year. I understand that voting in the AP Poll is not your main job, but rather part of your job. I also recognize that once games do get started that it will be easier to get a read on teams.
That being said, DO YOUR JOB.
Your job is not to hand out rankings to the “popular kids” just because they always get a ranking. Do you truly believe that Texas is a Top 25 team? Would you feel the same way if we had the same players, coaches and staff but put the name ‘Toledo’ in place of Texas?
Can you really look at me in the eye and say you are confident that Penn State is a Top 20 team? If so, I’d love to see why you think that. Sure, these teams have the talent and players to get there, but why crown them now when they haven’t shown it?
Many fans brush the AP Top 25 Preseason Poll as irrelevant and meaningless, but you and I both know that isn’t the case.
For the sake of this argument, lets take North Carolina and BYU. If we compare the two schedules, one could make a strong argument for BYU actually having a tougher schedule than UNC. However, North Carolina is in a spot to lose a game or two and be in a position to still make a NY6 bowl. BYU Football on the other hand has to start, at worst, 6-1 to get into that conversation, and they can’t lose a game from then on. Let me say this again, North Carolina can finish 10-2 and be comfortably in the NY6 discussion while the Cougars have to go 11-1 just for a shot, and much of that is because of where you ranked them in the preseason.
Don’t believe me about the schedule? Let’s compare schedules:
BYU: USC, Utah, Arizona State, Boise State, Virginia, Baylor, Washington State, Arizona, Georgia Southern, South Florida, Utah State, and Idaho State
North Carolina: Notre Dame, Miami, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Wake Forest, Duke, Pitt, GA Southern, Georgia Tech, and Wofford
Voters, I’ve seen some embarrassing votes in the past including voting for teams with a 1-2 record. I’ve seen polls come out where an undefeated team from a G5 conference goes from ranked to way outside the Top 25 after losing to a P5 team. I’ve later seen another P5 team lose to that same P5 team and drop only a spot or two.
Why is this? Why is it that G5 teams, and even some of the lesser known P5’s, have to fight so hard just be ranked, while it seems like certain P5 teams have to lose three or four games to fall out?
Is there a motive to protect the P5 Powerhouse teams? It sure seems like it. Why is it that Minnesota had to start 7-0 in 2019 to get ranked while Wisconsin was able to start 6-1 with a loss to Illinois and still remain ranked higher than the Gophers?
It is okay to admit that you don’t dive in-depth on every team around the country. But stop giving out free passes. Stop just assuming that certain teams should or should not be ranked.
BYU Football is returning one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Of their “skill positions” they lost Zach Wilson and WR Dax Milne. But guess who they got? Three and four star transfers Samson and Puka Nacua as well as TE Dallin Holker and WR Chase Roberts back from LDS missions. While nobody is expecting the next BYU QB to be great, both Jaren Hall and Baylor Romney have starting experience. Even without Zach Wilson, anything short of 35 points per game will be disappointing.
While the Cougar defense will not likely be as good as last season, the Cougars only gave up 14.3 points per game. In case you are wondering, against UCF and Boise State they gave up a combined 23 points against the starters. Even in the most extreme examples, expecting the Cougars to give up more than 24 points per game would be shocking.
But did you know that? Probably not.
Did you know that BYU is projected by ESPN FPI to finish with an 8.1-3.9 record and is favored in 10 of their twelve games? Did you know that Indiana is projected at 7.1-4.9? What about LSU who you’ve got at 16? They are projected to go 7.2-4.8. They are only favored in three SEC games.
Did you know that? Probably not.
As you rank teams, if you are uninformed about them, don’t just drop them from the Top 15 to unranked. Northwestern, BYU, and Liberty all went from being in the Top 17 to being unranked for no reason other than YOU DIDN’T DO YOUR JOB.
While it is fair to assume that these teams will have a drop off this year, it is nothing short than baffling to drop them completely out of the Top 25 while allowing teams who had losing records into the Top 25.
Again let me ask you, are you more confident in Penn State who went 4-5 last year or BYU who finished 11-1? What about LSU who went 5-5 and just lost their starting quarterback Myles Brennan or Northwestern who finished 7-2?
Voters, what you have essentially done is made the path for teams like BYU, Liberty, Northwestern, App State and even to an extent Cincinnati to the NY6/CFP virtually impossible. You have created a condition that says “If you lose one game, you are done!” while giving other teams the grace of losing a few games.
On what merit? You tell me, I’d love to know.
We all love college football, we just want this to be a fair game, and not one that gives the ball to certain P5’s at the 50 yard line.
I hope to see changes in the coming weeks and years,
Adam Gibby (and all of Cougar Nation and probably every G5/smaller P5 fan base)