Last year's final Top 25 is a bit similar to this year's Preseason Top 25. Oh there are changes, to be sure. Auburn has dropped from #2 down to #5 and #6 depending on which poll you're looking, Alabama has moved up, etc, but the teams are the same for the most part even if their places have changed a bit.
No one knows what losses and additions might affect a team. This is particularly true in this day and age of the closed practices where no one really gets to see what's going on unless it's on the field on game day. 2011 Auburn is a good example of a team that dropped significantly from end-of-the-season polls to preseason polls simply due to losses. Sometimes an incoming recruit or transfer raises expectations and a team that finished the previous year strong will be placed higher in the polls at the start of the year. With the exception of the spring game and short "media periods" of practice, no one who is voting in these polls has a clue how practice has gone, what players are struggling, etc. So there's really nothing to base these preseason polls on, anymore.
They'll never go away, though. People will always make that preseason list even if it's "unofficial" and it will affect how they would vote later on even if media outlets held out a few weeks. You'd still have people who said "I know Team A probably isn't quite as good as I'm going to rank them, but I said at the beginning of the season that they would be, and people would question my analysis if I now say 'hey, I was wrong'!"
It's sad, but because of the complete lack of real access to practices, no one really knows what's going on and whether or not a team will be good or bad until they play the games. Alabama is a perfect example. Does anyone outside those with access to their practices really know what's been going on with their QBs? Nope. But hey, they're Alabama, so they'll be just fine! Does anyone outside of those with access to Auburn's practices know what's going on with our edge rushing and how the DBs are playing? Nope. So we won't have the first clue about our defense until we see them perform in a game.
Polls are not directly responsible for deciding who plays in the College Football Playoff as they were in the BCS System, but we all know the committee is going to look at the polls to help with determining those match ups. Along with whatever other arbitrary criteria they want to use. The polls also give us something to hype up match-ups. How many times have you flipped through a schedule of games for a weekend, saw there was only one or two Top 25 match-ups, and said "I think this will be a good Saturday to get that lawn work done" or similar? Polls are obviously never going to go away and therefore preseason polls aren't going away, either.
Preseason polls are annoying, but they're not going anywhere. They're a fact of football life. You know what the best thing about football is, though? Win them all, and the polls won't matter. Unless you're not one of the power conferences, and then even winning them all might not help, but that's a discussion for another day (8-12 teams, people, not 4, but we're getting there). So I'm just going to sit back and just enjoy the fun and stop complaining or even worrying about where Auburn is ranked in which polls. For one thing, it's not like I can have any affect on it, anyway. But mostly because it's just another thing that adds to discussing and enjoying this crazy game we all love so much. So what do y'all think about the polls?
Embrace the insanity, the stupidity, or whatever else you want to call it. This is our last non-game week. Football is coming.