Preseason polls are a scourge. They create an unjustified inertia to teams who start highly ranked, prejudicing us against other more worthy teams who may not have started out as high. But, they sell newspapers and generate page views. They satisfy that basic human instinct shared by every football fan: the desperate need to see their team ranked and validated. Well, Dawg fans, get ready to be validated!
The ridiculously early preseason polls are out and things look good for the Dawgs. Tony Barnhart has the Dawgs at No. 1. So does Stewart Mandel. So does Mark Schlabach. So does Thayer Evans of the New York Times. Wow. We were hoping for top 5, but No. 1 works too.
The good news is it is far, far better to start the season at the top. It gives the weight and inertia that makes a loss (or two this year) easier to handle if they happen. Essentially, it keeps you in the title discussion longer.
The bad news is that the season is far, far away. It's certainly flattering to be highly thought of now, but who knows what will happen between now and the first AP poll. My guess is at least one underage possession, a fake ID charge, a transfer to Georgia Military College, and a slew of scooter violations. If that's it, we'll be lucky. Keep your fingers crossed for no injuries and no serious suspensions.
Lastly, just because the Dawgs are sitting on top now, this doesn't justify the existence of such polls. They are still largely bad for college football. But if they are going to exist, and they always will, it's better that they benefit us rather than create an obstacle to overcome.