It is probably fair to say that preseason and early season polls in college football are silly. However, there is some utility in baking in prior results, since we have such a small sample size in a sport with 12 regular season games. Even with a weak schedule to start the year we know Alabama is pretty good, it doesn't require a huge look past the Duke and Southern Miss games.
Well, most of us know that Alabama is good. Don't count The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel among us, though.
The longtime columnist has released his own Top 10, and it looks absolutely nothing like what just about any other writer will have. The Crimson Tide are not present, nor is Tramel's major focus—Oklahoma—or even Ohio State.
Instead, he is completely focused in 2019 results and 2019 results only. And as a result, he has Auburn at No. 1, on the strength of wins over Oregon and Texas A&M away from home.
Then Saturday, Ohio State blitzed Miami-Ohio 76-5 and Auburn won 28-20 at Texas A&M. The Buckeyes played an exhibition game. The Tigers won a showdown at Kyle Field.
And what did the AP voters do? They moved Ohio State up one slot in the rankings. And they moved Auburn up one lost in the rankings. The Buckeyes went to No. 5 (jumping past Oklahoma) and Auburn went to No. 7.
On what rational basis is anyone ranking Ohio State ahead of Auburn? Or OU ahead of Auburn? Heck, not even Clemson or Alabama should be ranked ahead of Auburn.
You can make an argument that Auburn has the most complete resume, but I think most would take LSU's win over Texas or Georgia's against Notre Dame over the Tigers. Tramel does include those two in his top 10, but the rest is going to look very foreign to those aware of the current polls.
On paper, this seems good, but if you don't use some previous results as background, how do we know that a win over Texas A&M or Oregon actually means much? Even in trying to clear the slate in order to build from the ground up, you're still bringing in the inherent biases about certain teams over others to make these 2019 judgements.
Again, we could probably go without rankings for the first month or so of the season. They don't accomplish anything outside of serving as fodder for us to write about each week. But even the more analytics-based data, like ESPN writer Bill Connelly's SP+ as well as its Football Power Index, bake in previous results because they make rankings more accurate until we get through a good chunk of the season.
Like the regular polls, it does provide some good fodder, so if Tramel wants to keep pumping these out, I support that as well.