What do recruiting, preseason rankings and the NFL draft have in common?

Yes, they are all very, very connected to the idiocy that is the system of college football. Rivals.com is probably one of the big players in recruiting. They rank players, give them stars, all that junk. Well, we know that a lot of how programs are ranked is by how they recruit, right? How can you rank someone in the preseason? Base it on last year’s performance, how many players left, and the caliber of players recruited. Well, the NFL draft tells us what kind of players these guys really are. Who is at the top? Not the same faces as 4 years ago.

1. Ndamukong Suh- Rivals ranked him 6 at his position and 51 overall. He was considered a four star recruit. Most people put him as the number one NFL prospect.

2. Jimmy Clausen- Rivals ranked him as the best prospect of his class. Five start recruit, top quarterback, was the best coming out of high school. Did he do the best in college? Aren’t some people thinking Bradford and McCoy will go before him?

3. Sam Bradford- Ranked 12 at quarterback, didn’t even garner a national rating and was a three star prospect. Won a Heisman and will likely be the top QB drafted.

4. Gerald McCoy- Ranked 4 overall by Rivlas, and projected as a top 5 pick this year. Actually got this five star recruit on the money.

5. Russell Okung- A three star recruit, rated 31 at his position and no national rating. Going to be a top ten draft pick.

6. Bruce Campbell- Off everyone’s radar until the combine. Now projected first rounder. Four star recruit, no national rating, ranked 17 nationally at his position.

7. Eric Berry- Another top recruit, five start athlete, played well in college, projected top ten pick.

8. Anthony Davis- Four star recruit, ranked 68 nationally. Likely top ten pick.

I think you all get the picture. It is pretty clear the preseason rankings are completely bogus. They are based on recruiting classes, and those are based on what appears to be pretty bad judgment on somebody’s part. A lot of guys who go at the top of the draft were not necessarily top recruits out of high school.

Now I know what you are thinking. Well, maybe Ndamukong Suh just wasn’t a great college prospect, but he is a great NFL prospect. I say BS. Certain positions change from college to pro. What doesn’t change is Ndamukong Suh does nothing but try to kill quarterbacks. He could do it in high school, he could do it in college, he will do it in the NFL. The truth is a lot of guys who these “scouts” miss develop into top talent. A lot of guys they say have what it takes simply don’t. And we lay the foundation for the rankings of entire seasons on the stock we give their “analysis?”

Just look at last year’s preseason AP Poll. Oklahoma started at number 3. They finished unranked. Cincinnati started unranked and finished number 8. A total of seven teams ranked in the preseason poll did not finish the season ranked. What I really don’t understand is that the BCS rankings don’t come out until week 7 of the season. Why do they wait? Because there simply isn’t enough data for the computer rankings to work. Oh, the complicated mathematical formulas and algorithms don’t have enough to go on before the season even begins, but the brilliant sportswriters and journalists of the country do?

I say enough preseason rankings. Enough human bias influencing how our beloved sport is run. Enough favoritism to certain conferences and teams. Why is it so hard to make the sport fair? How is it that the NCAA has made basketball incredible, yet can’t seem to figure anything out with football? Why do they feel a playoff is necessary for all other levels of college football except the level most of the country cares about?

Plain and simple: conference champions go the the playoff plus five at large bids, decided exactly the same way March Madness is. It is the only fair way to do it with so many conferences and teams. Those sixteen teams participate in a tournament where higher seeds get home field. How difficult is that to implement? How could more high profile games not bring in more money? How would that not give every team and every player a chance to be a champion?

One day we will have a fair system. Let’s just hope we live to see it.

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