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Polls are as Dumb As First Take

Nate gets all introspective-like on college football's most stalwart tradition and why he hates them.


One of our readers ( @JohnnyBodkin ) messaged me the other day on the facebox and made some really good points about the current state of college football. Specifically, he spoke to his perception that it has become futile to be a college football fan as all the talent pools in one place, and the championships follow. He talked about how there's no "justice system" in talent distribution a la the NFL draft where the worst record earns the best pick. But one thing he failed to mention is how there's no justice system in the only part of the game that really matters: results. The game and its championship (even AFTER the "playoff" starts next year, when polls will still weigh on the selection committee's decisions) are governed by a totally subjective and seemingly random system. There's absolutely no factual basis for anything important when it comes to results in college football; which is something I find extraordinarily dumb.

Whimsical and sensationalist as it may seem, there's a striking "real-life" (as in, things that actually matter) model for the current state of how America begets success on its college teams: our political discourse. Watch an episode of First Take and Hardball With Chris Matthews one after another and you'll see what I'm talking about. Modern American politi-talk involves a lot of shouting; incoherent and quick-drawn sound bytes spewed out onto the air for mass consumption without much thought put in before pulling the trigger. Sound familiar? Even though FT may seem like the worst thing to happen to sports-related argumentation, it's not. It's the pro-this therefore anti-that culture that Mssrs. Bayless and Smith promote that follows the pattern of Matthews and O'Riely. Political talk shows often eagerly jump into this hole to sell you cable subscriptions; but the polls force it upon us. This extreme polarization makes it seem like there's only two sides (who's number one and who's not) and that the question at hand is much simpler than it actually is. Take for example the 2012 title game question. The polls and the media barely gave anyone a chance to consider anything else but a TAHDE/LSU title game, they were automatically bequeathed this honor for no other reason than king ranking said so. If you were against that game in the public sphere of debate it didn't matter who else could be playing for all the marbles or why. You just weren't for that game and that's all that mattered.

Every week it's the same thing, just on a smaller scale. Moses comes down the mountain nine Sundays in the fall with a new set of top ten commandments from Harris Christ, and no one is to question otherwise. It seems almost ludicrous that something could wield that much power over people's opinions, but here we are. So the next time you go online to check the polls, think better of it and talk about who you know to be number one instead. Even if it's your team, ya damn homer.