Preseason polls have been rendered largely meaningless. Or, at least, everyone likes to believe preseason polls do not matter. Everyone wants them to mean nothing, but a lot is set before the season begins.
The expectations created in the preseason top-25 polls do carry over. They effect how fans and administrators perceive the season. And it is clear some teams are favored because of their reputation more than others.
Raised expectations, especially before a team even plays a game, means there is a chance for a major letdown. And each year it seems the same teams tend to let their fans down.
None more so than Georgia in the last 10 years, according to Jason Lisk of The Big Lead. The Bulldogs were ranked in the preseason of each of the last 10 years but were ranked at the end of the season after bowl games in only six seasons. And that is with just two SEC Championship Game appearances and zero SEC titles.
“Mark Richt has moved on to Miami, and there is a chance that program garners its first preseason ranking in the top 25 since 2010 (let that sink in),” Lisk writes. “But, recent Richt history is not kind to that optimism. The Bulldogs were perennially ranked, and rarely matched expectations.”
The Bulldogs have always carried some major expectations and have not been able to perform.
Lisk tried to be objective in his approach. He took where a team was ranked at the beginning of the season and subtracted where they ended up in the final poll after bowl season. So if a team started the year at No. 5 and finished the year at No. 15, they received a -10 score.
Georgia has been good, but has often been overrated from the beginning of the season. And clearly results have not been as expected. That is why Mark Richt is now coaching at Miami.
The Bulldogs were not the only SEC team on the list. Florida and LSU also cracked the list.
The Tigers were the No. 7 most overrated team of the last decade. That is easy to believe as LSU is often a favorite at the beginning of the season. But having to compete with Alabama every year, it is easy to see why they might falter. When you are at the top, there is typically only one way to go by the end of the season.
Florida also made the list at No. 9 as the team faltered plenty during the Will Muschamp era with a ton of talent that failed to perform on the field.