Unless everyone being polled is able to watch every snap of every game, their opinion is pretty questionable. In addition to not being able to take into consideration all of the facts, the people being polled are overly biased towards the teams they’ve actually seen play.
Despite this, polls are the best. They let us know how the country perceives the top teams, they give us fodder to argue over while we wait for next week’s games, and they build anticipation between Saturday and Sunday night while you wait to see who moved up and who dropped down, and by how much.
Polls are also the worst. They are inaccurate because every pollster can’t possibly watch every play of every game. They are inaccurate because every pollster covers a specific set of teams and has particular biases for those teams and their rivals. They are inaccurate because pollsters provide a list one week, and then feel compelled to keep their lists as close to the same as possible to prove they were right no matter the results of the games.
And honestly, I’m fine with polls being both the best and the worst. It is the inaccuracies that allow us to spend hours arguing with friends, it is the inaccuracies that allow a top ranked team to get blown out by an underdog, and it is the inaccuracies that allow us to show that we know more than those trusted to vote in the polls.
What we cannot have however, is for these polls to have any bearing on who is selected for postseason play. The BCS showed the follies of this and, after two years and some potentially questionable calls, the playoff committee appears to be just as swayed by the media as we are. This means the committee may also be equally as swayed by the polls as we are and we’ve shown that that should not be the case. Polls should not be allowed to control the system that decides the fates of thousands of young men. They deserve better.
For ideas on how to create a more accurate system read A Call for Justice, Humility, and a 12 Team College Football Playoff