When it was announced that college football was going to a four-team playoff system with the participants determined by a selection committee of 13, I thought we might have seen the last of weekly ratings and polls.
No such luck. Various media outlets are still publishing these meaningless charades.
None is less informed and more bias than the ratings of 62 college coaches that is carried in USA Today. Some coaches don't even bother to vote, turning over their weekly ballot to the college sports information director.
Many of those who do vote have agendas that lean heavily to the conference they represent and/or the impact on their recruiting.
How else can you explain this week's ratings where the coaches voted Ohio State No. 18 and Virginia Tech No. 19.
Did they miss the fact that the Hokies went into the Buckeyes home and before a record crowd of over 107,000 whipped "The Ohio State University", 35-21.
Of course not.
Part of the problem is the pre-season ratings that tend to favor teams that have done well in the past. Colleges like Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma always end up in the Top 10. Once there, they are hard to displace no matter how they perform the early part of the season.
Prime example this year is Ohio State, which was in just about everyone's top five in August, before the Buckeyes starting quarterback went down with a season-ending injury.
OSU struggled against an unheralded Navy team in its opener and dropped to No. 7 in the coaches poll. So far so good. But then came last Saturday night and the coaches, as a group, decided to ignore the obvious -- Ohio State is at best a mediocre team.
What's more, the Buckeyes are playing in a conference that is populated with mediocrity.
Last weekend the Big Ten lost all four of its games against opponents ranked in the so-called Top 50 Power Index. In addition to the Ohio State defeat, Michigan State lost to Oregon, 46-27; Michigan was routed by Notre Dame, 31-0, and Northern Illinois upset Northwestern, 23-15.
All the other Big Ten teams (actually a misnomer since there are 14 in the conference now) played what most would call "cupcakes" with mixed results. Most noteworthy was Nebraska, which needed a last minute touchdown to beat McNeese State, 31-24.
The Big Ten is now 11-7 against non-conference (mostly unranked) teams. Two weeks into the season, among the five Power Conferences, the Big Ten sits last behind Southeastern, Pac-12, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast.
All this leads to the likelihood that the Big Ten will not have a team in the four-team playoffs in January.
I have been a fan of the USA Today sports section for more than 30 years, but the editors should be ashamed of themselves for publishing the jaded opinions of men, who primarily vote for their own teams, their friends or teams in their conferences.
We continually hear about the long hours coaches put in watching film, developing game plans, leading practice drills, talking to the media etc.
Do they really have time to pay attention to teams that are not on their schedule?
While on the subject, let me add my disapproval of the Associated Press continuing to publish a weekly poll. The sportswriters generally produce more realistic weekly ratings i.e. placing Virginia Tech No. 17, five spots ahead of Ohio State this week.
However, I question the value of any polls or ratings, especially in early September.
They will all become superfluous when the playoff committee of 13 reveals its first weekly Top 10 in late October, after most colleges have played a half dozen or so games.
That timeline is right for a truer sense of which teams belong on top.
With no active coaches on the panel, I am hopeful bias will play no part in the results.