by Travis Normand
In case you missed it, Stanford defeated USC 21-14 on Saturday evening 15 September 2012, marking the fourth straight win for the Cardinal over the Trojans (and the fifth win in the last six years).
Yes, the Stanford Cardinal defeated USC in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and now 2012. With such success on the field, one might think that Stanford would be considered a preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 Conference — but they weren’t.
Would it have been unreasonable (back over the summer) for someone to claim that Stanford was a preseason favorite to win the national championship? Probably so. However, I would argue that it was unreasonable to claim USC was a preseason favorite to win the national title. Unfortunately, what I think doesn’t really matter and a majority of those people with a vote in the AP poll voted USC number one.
The Coaches poll had USC at number three, however USC received more first-place votes (19) than number one-ranked LSU (18).
2012 Preseason Top 25 Polls:
- AP Poll – USC No. 1
- Grantland Rice Poll – USC No. 1
- Athlon Sports Poll – USC No. 1
- USA Today / Coaches Poll – LSU No. 1, Alabama No 2, USC No. 3
- ESPN.com’s Power Rankings – USC No. 1
- The Sporting News – LSU No. 1, USC No. 2, Alabama No. 3
- WhatIfSports.com Poll – USC No. 1
- NationalChamps.net – LSU No. 1, Alabama No. 2, USC No. 3
Do those voters still appear competent to you?
I normally don’t criticize a voters ballot due to the fact that hindsight is always 20/20. However, in this case, there were far too many people drinking the USC flavored Kool-Aid.
So, how does this happen? Easy, upsets just happen. However, in this case, I also think there are simply too many people trying to manipulate the national championship picture. Before the season started, there was plenty of talk about how some people thought it would be best if the SEC didn’t win another national title. After all, a team from the SEC has won the last six titles and they currently have at least two teams who looked poised to possibly win it again.
The idea of having a non-SEC team win the national title had apparently swept the media and others off their feet, and they had all fallen in love with USC — the same USC that has been on NCAA probation the past couple of season.
In the end, selecting USC as the preseason number one border lines on the moronic. Last year we saw both LSU and Alabama play in the national title game and both squads return a good portion of their talent for 2012.
I can understand someone not wanting to vote LSU (2011 SEC Champions) as their number one team heading into 2012 as the Tigers didn’t have a proven quarterback. However, what I can’t understand is someone being conflicted between voting for either the defending national champion (Alabama) as their preseason number one or a team (USC) that has lost to Stanford the past three seasons as well as Arizona State in 2011.
Maybe its a good thing we are moving to a four-team playoff system (Whoa! Make a note, as I can’t believe I actually just said that). Why? Because as long as we have a poll system, there will always be those who vote for the team who they want to be number one instead of voting for who should be number one.
Oh, and a “big thank you” to the Stanford football team for exposing all the uninformed voters who shouldn’t have a vote in the first place.
*Photo of T-Shirt: Our75AreBetterThanYour85.com – Unless you are Stanford, in which case, never mind.