Like it is:

Polls keep debates lively before kickoff

By: Wally Hall
Published: Thursday, August 9, 2018
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) speaks to media before a NCAA college football practice, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) speaks to media before a NCAA college football practice, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

None of the polls will matter eventually, but that's what football fans have to judge their teams on right now.

Of all the polls, there's one thing in common: Alabama is No. 1, and rightfully so as the defending national champion.


More headlines

That's despite the fact Pick Nick Saban has only 10 starters back, three on defense, and a quarterback controversy caused by the media, according to him, after he refused to name a starter.

One of the more interesting polls is the CBS Sports 129.

The good folks at put their heads together every preseason and come up with a ranking for all the teams, this year it is 1-129. Just to end the suspense, Texas-El Paso is last.

Bama, of course, is first. The SEC had five teams in the top 25 with No. 3 Georgia, No. 9 Auburn, No. 16 Mississippi State and No. 25 Florida, which was a little surprising, although the Gators do have 19 starters back from a team that went 4-7.

Florida head Coach Dan Mullen did a great job at Mississippi State, but he didn't finish above fourth in the SEC West until his fifth season. In fact, Mullen was 36-7 against nonconference opponents and 33-39 in SEC play, but he was on death row -- the Western Division of the SEC.

The SEC fared well in the next 10 spots with No. 28 Texas A&M, No. 30 LSU, No. 32 South Carolina and No. 35 Missouri.

Then the bottom fell out because there is no parity in the SEC right now.

Ole Miss was ranked No. 62, No. 64 was the University of Arkansas, No. 74 Tennessee, No. 80 Kentucky and No. 86 Vanderbilt.

You don't have to like it, but it is hard to argue with those rankings.

Anytime a team goes up in the SEC, such as Mississippi State, a team goes down, such as Arkansas, which has been falling for six seasons, although Bret Bielema appeared to have found a safety net in 2015 when the Hogs went 8-5, but a 7-6 season followed and last year it was 4-8.

Data are used in all the polls, but once the College Football Playoff poll is released, it is the only one that matters.

Football season is the most exciting time of the year in America, but the most critical time for football is during recruiting.


The CBS Sports 129 had the Arkansas State Red Wolves at No. 54. Blake Anderson has 12 starters back and is picked to win the Sun Belt West and play in the first Sun Belt Conference championship game.

While the Red Wolves look good to make their eighth consecutive bowl appearance, they need to come out of their second game healthy.

On Sept. 8, the Red Wolves will play at Alabama.


In an unprecedented move at a time when salaries in college athletics usually are outrageous, Tulsa University has announced that Athletic Director Derrick Gragg, who was a candidate for the AD job at Arkansas; head football Coach Phillip Montgomery; and head basketball Coach Frank Haith will take a pay cut.

Specific numbers were not given. Tulsa is a private school.

The Golden Hurricane play both Arkansas State University and Arkansas this year. They were 2-10 last season but have 15 starters back.


In surprising news, the NCAA has announced that college players who attend the NBA combine and go through the NBA Draft but are not drafted can return to play in college.

The key to that legislation is the players must be invited to the NBA combine. That is not an open camp, but a chance to audition in front of every NBA coach and general manager. Invites are hard to come by.

Sports on 08/09/2018


Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.