Pollsters get it right - this time

Published On:
Friday, September 5, 2008
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All summer long, we’ve been hearing the same thing: The No. 1 Georgia football team is coming to town.

This sentiment of exuberance and anticipation was the same among fans and Sun Devil faithful alike.

An obvious sellout, the Bulldogs are coming, and we were going to have that undeniable classic matchup against an SEC team ranked first nationwide.

And then came Tuesday, when a fanatical group of Associated Press voters took some of the matchup’s luster away.

Deciding it was better to move the Bulldogs down a spot to No. 2 and place USC atop the poll, these zealous writers took away Georgia’s No. 1 ranking. This occurring, despite the fact that both teams were victorious in their season openers.

I never thought I would argue with the advancement of the Pac-10 Conference. I have always been its fan, its benefactor. I’ve always fought for it and tried to get the conference acknowledged.

The East Coast isn’t normally this aware of what goes on out west. It took a USC team that traveled, you guessed it, east to Virginia to get the recognition it so deserved.

Isn’t it ironic, however, that when that East Coast bias finally loses some its strength, it’s the one time people in Tempe don’t want it to?
Who remembers last year when ASU couldn’t seem to garner a vote or any respect from the media?

Who remembers last year when the Pac-10 and even USC (which actually lost its No. 1 post to the SEC’s LSU, despite a victory) were seemingly ignored by everyone from the BCS to those very voters?

So why when our Arizona State Sun Devils are slated to face the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs do they decide to do what is right?

Why couldn’t it have been last year, when USC would have actually benefited from a first-place vote?

Why couldn’t it have been last year when we could have benefited from a vote or two from the AP’s guesswork that is a poll?

How does the East Coast bias always seem to come around to bite us in the ass? It’s like we can’t win here.

Understand, I would never argue that USC doesn’t deserve this honor, but of all the times for the press to recognize it, why now?

At least it does make sense. There are a lot of things that aren’t handled well in this sport.

USC went across the country to face a relevant Virginia team in a matchup that many predicted would resemble a football game.

But all it resembled was a beating, as the Trojans did what they usually do to their enemies, winning essentially on their first drive.

And in classic fashion, the other top teams played painless Football Championship Subdivision opponents at home — ASU included — enjoying at least that one easy win of the season.

To be fair, the top team in the nation now has to play No. 3 Ohio State on Sept. 13.

And while everybody should be cheering for the conference and thus the Trojans, this might be ASU’s best chance to reclaim their matchup against the No. 1 team in the nation.

That would be if Georgia didn’t lose too, as they still have to go on the road and play a tough South Carolina team a week before facing ASU.

No matter what ranking the Bulldogs have when ASU plays them, it shouldn’t change too much in the long run. The game won’t become unsold-out, and you can bet people will still be whispering words like “what if” and “championship” that Saturday evening.

And you can also bet the circus will still be coming to town.

This is easily the biggest nonconference game since No. 1 Nebraska came to ASU in 1996. This has been a game that has been on the minds of everyone around the program since it was announced, well before the rankings ever came out.

So while I’m disappointed, my demeanor hasn’t changed. I wonder, though, has Georgia’s?