Embracing CU’s No. 27 Ranking in the USA Today preseason poll

The Amway USA Today Coaches’ preseason poll has been released.

At the top there were few surprises, with Alabama a heavy favorite at No. 1, followed by Ohio State, Florida State, USC and defending national champion Clemson.

Twenty-two teams which were in the final 2016 poll made the 2017 opener.

Three did not.

The highest ranked of the three teams to drop out of the rankings was ranked 15th, with the the No. 18 and No. 25 teams also falling out.

The No. 18 team in the final 2016 poll was Western Michigan. The No. 25 team was San Diego State.

The No. 15 team … the only Power Five conference school to drop out of the poll … was Colorado.

When asked if he felt slighted by being omitted from the first poll of the new season, Mike MacIntyre responded with a question of his own: “Where we ranked last year?”.

As to the No. 27 being motivation for the team, MacIntyre said, “I hope so. I definitely hope so. I think you always need to have a chip on your shoulder in anything you do in life … If you don’t, you get complacent, and people pass you by. There’s a saying I stole from (Duke) Coach (David) Cutcliffe that I still live by, ‘If you are not getting better, you’re getting worse. Nothing stays the same’. I truly believe in that”.

Whether the Buffs can use the drop out of the polls as motivation remains to be seen. After all, this is a team which hadn’t sniffed a ranking since late in the 2005 season before re-entering the polls last fall … so it’s not as if the Buff players are used to seeing their team being ranked.

Does it matter?

You can make an argument either way.

It Just Doesn’t Matter

Enter Bill Murray …

(Side note: If you are not familiar with the genius of Bill Murray from the late 70’s and early 80’s – here in Meatballs – do yourself a favor and rent Caddyshack, Stripes, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters, Scrooged, What About Bob?, etc., etc., etc.).

There’s a case to be made that preseason polls don’t really matter.

Almost half – 12 of 25 – of the teams ranked in the 2016 preseason USA Today coaches poll failed to make the final poll. No. 9 Notre Dame finished 4-8, No. 11 Michigan State finished 3-9 … down to No. 22 Oregon and No. 24 UCLA, which both finished with 4-8 records.

Preseason polls are just guesses, and carry with them biases and presumptions. No one outside of the CU Champions Center saw a ten-win season coming out of the Buffs. There will be other unforeseen resurrections this fall.

and USC and Oregon will still get all the good looking (recruits) anyway!! 

It Just Doesn’t Matter II

The Pac-12 often complains about a lack of national respect. Conference games are often televised after fans (and poll voters) have gone to bed on the east coast, the media favors the SEC and Big Ten, there is a bias against the style of play by west coast teams, etc. …

The 2017 preseason USA Today Coaches poll does, though, tend to bear out some bias against the conference.

In the final 2016 poll, five Pac-12 teams were ranked. In the 2017 preseason poll, only one of the five moved up. USC, No. 5 in the final poll, moved up one spot, to No. 4, in the 2017 preseason poll.

The other four Pac-12 teams dropped:

— Washington dropped three spots, from No. 4 to No. 7;

— Stanford dropped two spots, from No. 12 to No. 14;

— Utah dropped four spots, from No. 21 to No. 25; and

— Colorado dropped 12 spots, from No. 15 to No. 27 … the largest drop of any Power Five conference school.

Meanwhile, other schools – two from the SEC, two from the Big 12 – enjoyed a significant rise:

— Georgia went from No. 36 in the final 2016 poll to No. 15 in the 2017 preseason poll;

— Auburn went from No. 22 to No. 13;

— Kansas State went from No. 26 to No. 19; and

— Texas went from obscurity (and a 5-7 record) to a No. 23 preseason ranking.

Then there is the Big Ten. Four teams are ranked in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll. Two teams moved up from the end of the 2016 season, Ohio State and Penn State, while two others, Michigan and Wisconsin, swapped spots at No. 9 and No. 10. All four are ranked in the top ten in the nation.

Safe to say … the coaches like the top of the Big Ten.

Then there is the case of West Virginia, lately of the Big 12.

West Virginia finished the 2016 season with a 10-3 record, ranked 17th, two spots below No. 15 Colorado.

The Mountaineers lost its quarterback, two of their top three wide receivers, five of the seven top offensive linemen, their top three defensive linemen, five of their top six linebackers, and five of their top six defensive backs.

While Colorado dropped 12 spots due to its personnel losses, West Virginia dropped the most of any Big 12 team … three spots, to No. 20.

It looks as if Colorado, along with the rest of the Pac-12 (which hasn’t produced a national champion since USC in 2004) has some work to do to earn respect in the polls.

But it really does matter

I have to admit to spending an unwarranted amount of time tracking Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets wear black-and-gold, like the Buffs, but that’s not the reason I am keeping an eye on Georgia Tech.

One reason is that I want Georgia Tech, 9-4 in 2016, to do well so that it won’t fire its coach (Paul Johnson) and look to an alumnus (Mike MacIntyre) as a replacement.

I want Georgia Tech to do well … but not too well.

Colorado has spent much of its history as one of the top 25 programs in the nation, and the numbers bear that out.

CU remains in the top 25 in all-time wins, in at No. 25 with 695 victories (North Carolina is No. 26, with 686).

CU used to be in the top 25 in all-time appearances in the Associated Press poll.

After a decade wandering in the desert, Colorado dropped out of the top 25 in all-time appearances in the AP poll, currently sitting at No. 26.

No. 25 on the list?

You guessed it … Georgia Tech.

Heading into the 2017 season, Georgia Tech has been ranked 307 weeks; Colorado has been ranked 302 times.

The Buffs were ranked in nine polls last season, making up ground on the Yellow Jackets, who failed to make the rankings during the 2016 season.

In the Coaches poll, CU just missed out on earning another week in the rankings, coming in at No. 27. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, came in with enough votes to be ranked at No. 42.

A similar result in the Associated Press preseason poll, due in a few weeks, is anticipated.

The 2017 season, therefore, gives Colorado a chance to return to the Top 25 in all-time poll rankings.

Where the Buffs belong.

Want more reasons to care about the preseason polls?

In Eugene, the Ducks are lamenting Oregon failing to make a preseason poll for the first time since 2007, coming in this year at No. 34 (for the record, Oregon has been ranked in the preseason polls 13 times … CU has earned that distinction 16 times).

In Salt Lake City, the drinks are on head coach Kyle Whittingham. The Utes snuck into the preseason poll at No. 25 (despite having more personnel losses than Colorado, but that’s another story). By earning a spot in the preseason poll, Whittingham earned a $15,000 bonus.

Not bad.

At the end of the day, perhaps it is only stats geeks like myself who care about where Colorado is placed in preseason polls. Still, perception is important, be it by sponsors, season ticket buyers, or networks deciding which games to televise (all of which can be roughly translated into $$, $$ and $$$).

If Colorado can take care of business against its non-conference opponents, there is a strong likelihood that the September 23rd game between Colorado and Washington will be a matchup of undefeated, ranked teams.

Such a game will garner Colorado national attention, perhaps even a GameDay visit.

So, while I would have preferred CU to be ranked in the preseason USA Today coaches poll, sitting at No. 27 isn’t all bad. It gives coaches bulletin board material, it gives players added incentive … while still giving fans reason to believe that Colorado will be ranked again this season.

I’ll take it.



5 Replies to “Embracing No. 27 Ranking”

  1. I would take any ranking! #25 would be awesome for our program! So it pisses me off when I see Texas randomly in there when they havent done squat since 2013. The only argument I hear is that they recruit well. Big friggin whoop. CU has not had a “highly ranked” recruiting class lately and we just had a 10 win season! Which shows that they are excellent at player development. Now if CU was able to win with 2 star recruits by developing them, and we just had an exodus on defense with talent, it is logical to assume that beneath them we have been developing talent as well. We have our whole offense other than the QB, but that doesnt concern me. Its just the same political b.s. that kept us out of the rose bowl last year and that is all. Lets win the south again and shut everyone up again!

  2. Well sht howdy! Backwards VK’s on fire.

    Here’s how I see the season playing out:
    CSU – Win
    TX St. – Win
    UNC – Win
    UW – Win – my qualifier. Tough one. I know I’ll put money on the Buffs w/ my brother, but… whether this one, or USC, they’ll beat someone nobody (or very few) outside the program thinks they will
    at UCLA – Win (5 and 0? Why not?!)
    AZ – My little vk voice says they may give one up somewhere that they shouldn’t; but… not this one. W.
    at OSU – Win – this could be one that scares them; but, at the right time
    at Wazzu – Many people are picking the Cougs in this one. Martin’s tough to play in. Buffs get the W though.
    Cal – W
    At ASU – I’ll give this one the loss that shouldn’t have happened. L
    At USC – since I said they’ll beat UW, and I think they’ll split these two, this one is the L. It’s on the road.
    At UT – W and? Because it’s the crazy Pac 12 gauntlet, our Buffs beating the Utes puts them back in the Pac 12 championship game. Rematch w/ UW or Wazzu. We crush them.

    Get into the playoff. Lose to ‘Bama, who then loses to FSU.

    That’s how it’ll go. Or something like that.

    Go Buffs.

    1. Ooops, my own rationale vs. USC is wrong! Oh well. There goes my ability to predict the future.

      Or? They’re going to go 11 and 1 through the regular season.

      Go Buffs.

  3. Well let’s Go Buffs.

    So USA today says the Mighty Buffs=======->

    4-5 in conference.

    I call “ol Kodger Krappola” on that. (And that is a large amount of krappola)

    The Buffs will totally whip Cal, AZ OSU, ASU. Home or away. The Buffs are past that phase. I would bet the “ol rogder lodger” rusted “bells” on that.

    So they are telling me the Mighty Buffs are not gonna beat one of those teams? Not one among Brunees, Huskeyettes, cooginees, uteees, or troojaneez?
    KODGER KRAPPOLA for sure.

    2 at Folsom. Wash and Usc. No upset here? Really? One early, one late eh?

    3 on the road. UCLA, WSU, Utah. Beating any of those 3 is not a frigging upset. Road game or not those should be wins.

    4-5 in the conference. I just wanna go be like the “the summer of 55 guy” and tell them writers to “GET OFF MY LAWN” and leave my “bells” alone.

    I mean Really, what the hell is going on out there.

    7-5 and 4-5 is a big slide down. Coaches best not let that happen. Seriously

    Dang Nab it Just getting riled up a bit.

    If it truly is a reload year and not a rebuild year as “MickeyMac” says, then
    8 and 4 (5-4)at a minimum. ………….. 7-5 (4-5)is rebuild and not pointing up.

    Buffalo UP

    Note: $4 Mill waiting to be earned.

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