The 2020 Rankings Reveal More of the Same for the Group of Five

This season has been all over the place – this is not news to anyone. It seemed like things were normalized once we reached a point where about half of FBS teams were likely to play the 2020 season, and when teams like the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns popped into the rankings it looked like this might be the year where at least the bottom half of the AP and Coaches’ polls could wind up littered with G5 teams throughout the season.

Over the past two weeks, the status quo has suddenly shifted to everyone but UConn, UMass*, New Mexico State and Old Dominion playing somewhere between seven and eleven games, and suddenly everyone was eligible to be ranked in the polls.

For a split second, I thought “boy, this will really throw a wrench into things once the season really gets going” since all of the recently announced conferences were starting their seasons on either October 24th or Novemner 6th, a full month or more from now.

Then I quickly remembered how absurd and weird poll voters can be, especially when it comes to the AP poll. That’s how you have a situation like UCF winning 25 games in a row and not cracking the top four because voters have them ranked anywhere from fourth to seventeenth.

Sure enough, the shenanigans began this week. UCF won to push their record to 2-0, and they managed to move up in the rankings to 11th in the AP Poll and 12th in the Coaches’ Poll. Cincinnati did the same, but dropped a spot to 15th in the AP Poll since two teams above them got replaced by three.

The biggest insult, however, came for the Cajuns. They survived to beat Georgia Southern on a last-second field goal, but that pushed their record to 3-0. Their reward was to drop from 19th all the way to 26th in the AP poll as they got passed by not one, not two, but six teams that won’t play a single snap of live football for at least another month.

Hell, in a bit of in-state schadenfreude, the Cajuns are still behind LSU sitting at #20 in the AP Poll, despite the fact that the Tigers are currently 0-1. Meanwhile, the Memphis Tigers, who haven’t played in three weeks because they’re struggling to get their COVID cases in check, sits at 25th in the AP Poll and 24th in the Coaches Poll.

As for the rest of the Group of Five:

  • SMU is 3-0 and sits at 31 and 28 in the respective polls, but UTSA is also 3-0 and doesn’t even have a single vote in either poll. I don’t care who you’ve played, that’s a bit silly.
  • Marshall is 2-0 and sits at 32 and 33 in the two polls; Louisiana Tech is also 2-0 but only garnered two Coaches Poll votes
  • Arkansas State is 1-1 and has had two games in a row postponed because of COVID numbers, but still has enough votes to sit at #35 in the Coaches Poll, while 2-1 UAB, 2-0 Coastal Carolina, and 2-1 Army have exactly three votes each.

All I ask is for a little common sense from the voters. It’s absolutely logical to rank teams who haven’t played a game yet based on their potential for the coming season, but that’s what preseason rankings are for. As soon as teams start their season, it’s nearly unheard of for them to win a game and drop seven spots.

I’ll even compromise. If you would like to rank the teams of the Big 10, Pac 12 and so forth based on their upcoming potential season going into the week of their first game, I could agree to that. These teams don’t play for another month, which is an eon when you factor in all of the practice time and potential injuries that could torpedo an entire side of the ball for these teams.

All I’m saying is rank Louisiana, you cowards.

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