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FanPulse Preseason Top 25: The Poll That U Created

There’s only poll that matters, it’s this one. The preseason Top 25 made by the SB Nation college football and Utah community has been released. Here’s everything you need to know about the only preseason poll being released by anybody this season.

If there is one thing we as a college football community love more than winning, it’s obsessing over which team would hypothetically win against another team. Why wait for a game to be played when we could just debate endless hypothetical scenarios throughout the entire year? Thus, college football’s love of polls was born.

The thing with most major polls is that they are created by an exclusive group of people, and the only part the fans play is reacting to the results and allowing them to determine our self-worth. SB Nation has decided to change that with the new FanPulse College Football Top 25.

For those who are just now learning about FanPulse, the concept is simple: fans are the ones who make the poll. Each week, fans who sign up to participate in the poll will have a chance to vote for who they think are the Top 25 teams in college football. The results are then calculated to determine the SB Nation community’s Top 25.

However, there is an extra wrinkle to the process. Each college site will also receive their own Top 25 created by just that team’s fans. So, for us at BlockU, we will have our own Top 25 rankings each week that are created by all of you who are part of our community. It’s pretty much awesome.

This process allows us to not only see what a nation of fans think, but also how our fellow Utah fans are viewing the college football landscape. It allows for a whole new level of understanding about the University of Utah community and what the fans are really feeling each week about the team.

In order to receive a team specific Top 25, a team site had to have a base number of people sign up before the preseason rankings were tabulated. Utah was one of only three Pac-12 teams (the other two were Washington and Washington State) to reach the minimum number of fans in the preseason, once again proving the strength of the Utes’ fanbase. If you haven’t joined the movement yet, we would love for you to become part of the team. You can sign up HERE and participate in these rankings for the remainder of the season. It’s free, it’s easy and I hear people who do it are cool.

With all those details out of the way, I proudly present to you the first ever FanPulse College Football Top 25 in the form of a very fancy graphic:

Also Receiving Votes: Washington State, Syracuse, Boise State, Stanford, Army, Virginia, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, and Minnesota

I now happily present to you the BlockU Preseason College Football Top 25. We don’t have a fancy graphic yet, sorry about that.

Also Receiving Votes: Stanford, Boise State, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Army.

There you have it. The first ever FanPulse preseason poll. There’s a lot to unpackage from both the national poll and the BlockU and other team site polls. There’s some fascinating information we can get out of just a few teams listed in a numerical order.

What This Means for Utah

The nationwide poll is consistent with other national media outlets in that it slots Utah at No. 15. Most major media outlets have Utah ranked somewhere between No. 11 and No. 19, so the Utes falling in at No. 15 is par for the course.

As for the BlockU poll, the Utes jump up four spots to No. 11, and they are ranked ahead of every other Pac-12 team. Clearly, Utah fans are not lacking for confidence entering the season. It’s interesting to note that every other team specific poll from FanPulse has Utah slotted between No. 15 and No. 17 in the rankings, with the majority of them placing Utah at either No. 15 or No. 16. Only four polls had Utah finish at No. 17. For your information, if you want to start some beef, those schools were: Tennessee, Wake Forest, Purdue, and Rutgers (lol).

All of these polls serve to reinforce how Utah is perceived heading into this season. The Utes are considered an upper tier team nationally, and one of the three legitimate contenders in the Pac-12 with Oregon and Washington. However, Utah is clearly viewed as the lowest of the three as BlockU was the only poll in which Utah was ranked ahead of Washington and Oregon. Every other poll had Utah behind both of the North teams.

While Utah may have been deemed the favorite to win the Pac-12 by the media, they are not actually considered the best team in the Pac-12 by fans or media. The Utes continue to trail the Ducks and Huskies in nearly every preseason poll.

No One Believes in the Pac-12, Including the Pac-12

While it’s safe to say that people believe in Oregon and Washington more than they believe in Utah, these polls also point out the obvious that no one actually believes in the Pac-12. The Top 10 of the national poll consists of four SEC teams, two Big Ten teams, two Big 12 teams, one ACC team, and one Independent/sort of ACC member. The highest Pac-12 team is Oregon at No. 12.

The Pac-12 remains on the outside looking in, and it shows that nationally, fans think that the Pac-12 has a minuscule shot at the playoff. The highest rated Group of Five team is UCF, and UCF is only four slots behind Oregon at No. 16. The nation is telling us that the top of the Pac-12 is only slightly better than the best of the G5 at this point.

The decline of the Pac-12 has been a national storyline all offseason. It’s really the only storyline talked about by media outlets when the Pac-12 is discussed. However, the team specific polls indicate that even Pac-12 fans don’t believe in Pac-12 teams. The highest any Pac-12 team was ranked in a poll was No. 10, with Oregon and Washington both being voted into that spot twice. Washington fans themselves were only confident enough to vote the Huskies as the tenth best team in the nation.

Washington State fans believed that Oregon was the best team in the conference, but only the 12th best team in the country. As mentioned earlier, Utah fans are confident Utah will win the conference, but only by being 11th best in the nation. The rhetoric against the Pac-12 is starting to be believed by not just outsiders, but Pac-12 fans as well.

Voters from other conferences tended to slot teams from their conference higher in the rankings. The conference’s top teams were higher in the rankings and more teams from the conference made the Top 25. The Pac-12 didn’t see the same bump for the top teams in the conference. The only teams that got a bump were Washington State making Utah’s poll at No. 25 and Stanford making Washington’s poll at No. 25. The data tells us that even Pac-12 fans don’t actually believe in the strength of the conference. One other telling thing from these polls is the fact that only three Pac-12 sites had enough members sign up and vote for inclusion in the poll (it is surprising Addicted to Quack did not have enough, Oregon is expected to be good and it is a relatively large community).

Understanding the Poll as a Whole

The fascinating thing about participating in a fan poll is that we see every fan has two inherent desires in making a poll, the desire to be right and the desire to vote against teams they don’t like. The desire to be right is evident from every poll voting Clemson and Alabama into the top two spots in the poll. Every poll except the ones made by Oklahoma fans and Georgia Tech fans had Georgia at No. 3. Every No. 4 spot in the polls was filled by either Oklahoma, Georgia or Ohio State. Not even Michigan fans could bring themselves to vote the Wolverines into the Top 4.

The rest of the Top 10 in every poll also remained consistent. Aside from a few Pac-12 teams occasionally making the Top 10, each poll’s Top 10 consisted of some variation of these 11 teams: Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, LSU, Texas, Florida and Texas A&M. There were very few anomalies in any of the Top 10, and no fan base got crazy with their voting.

If anything, a poll is just a massive illustration of groupthink within the college football community. We vote a certain way because everything else we have read has voted these teams the same way. Those people seemed smart, and we also want to be correct, so we are also going to vote in a similar fashion. It’s not a criticism of the voting process, but an acknowledgement that we use other people’s votes to inform our own in making a poll.

Being Petty is Good

The only time a group of fans escaped from this massive college football groupthink was by either voting their team higher than the national consensus or purposely voting their rival teams lower than they deserved.

This is a good thing. This is a poll made by fans, and nothing defines college fandom more than being slightly delusional about our own team and being really petty when discussing a rival team. The polls showed some fanbases that are likely in for a reality once the season starts. I also had some laughs over some fanbases that are intentionally harming their rival by voting them significantly lower in the polls.

Here are some fanbases that are soon to get a reality check:

· Syracuse fans voted the Orange as the No. 18 team in the country. Sure.

· Northwestern fans putting the Wildcats at No.17. Northwestern had a great season last year, but the Big Ten West will be better this season so don’t expect a repeat. This isn’t because I’m still bitter about the Holiday Bowl, I am, but it’s not affecting Northwestern’s placement here.

· Oklahoma claiming to be No. 3, and therefore better than Georgia, despite missing a key piece from their team: a defense.

· Iowa ranked themselves as No. 14 and I’m pretty sure there’s a law Iowa can’t be ranked higher than No. 18 at any point in a season.

Here are some examples of fanbases being extremely petty in their voting:

· Georgia Tech dropped Georgia all the way down to No. 6 in their poll, the only poll to not have Georgia in the Top 4.

· Michigan State fans dropped Michigan all the way to No. 10. Ohio State voted Michigan at No. 6. Therefore, Michigan State fans are pettier than Ohio State fans.

· Florida State fans can have small joy in knowing they dropped Florida all the way to No. 13 when the rest of the nation had them at No. 6. Florida fans can have great joy in knowing nobody voted for Florida State at all.

There were strong examples of being a major homer and plenty of examples of hating your rival. However, there was one fanbase that was both incredibly delusional about themselves and also used the poll as a way to attack their rival. This was Texas A&M. Of course.

Texas A&M fans voted that the Aggies were the No. 6 team in the country. They are not. They also dropped Texas all the way down to No. 15 in their poll simply because they can. Shout out to the Texas A&M fanbase for staying on-brand with their poll results. Maybe the Aggies fanbase is just trying to forget they were ever in the Big 12.

Ultimately, this poll gives us a clear picture of each team and each conference’s reputation entering the season. The Pac-12 continues to stay down, but people also forget the ACC is garbage because they have Clemson as the face of the conference. The next true ACC member in the poll is Miami at No. 22. The SEC, as usual, is the dominant force in college football with the Big Ten still a considerable distance behind. The Big 12 just really needs Texas and Oklahoma to be good.

Utah is in a good position overall. They still lack the national reputation of Oregon and Washington, but the amount of respect the team is getting is growing. Rarely has Utah received the benefit of the doubt entering a season, but that has changed this year. Expectations are high and we’re only two weeks away from seeing if the Utes can live up to their lofty rankings. And now you know that even if Utah falters, you can still vote them as high as you want in next week’s poll.

Thank you all for reading and thanks to all of you who signed up to help us create this poll. Once again, if you haven’t signed up yet, we would love to have join is creating the poll for next week. Imagine how powerful you will feel. Click HERE to sign up and join us in this season long adventure. You’re a superstar.