In the ESPN/USA Today Pre-Season Football poll, Maryland found themselves ranked...45th, aka "Others receiving votes." In the ACC, the Terps start out the season ranked behind ACC foes Clemson (#9 - only ACC team in the Top 10), Virginia Tech (15th), Wake Forest (23rd), Florida State (#30), Boston College (#31), and Virginia (#38).
Wait, what? VIRGINIA is ahead of us? FLORIDA STATE? BOSTON COLLEGE?
I can understand Maryland being behind Clemson, Va. Tech and Wake, but to be behind FSU, BC and UVA? That is...stupid. Pop quiz about those 3 teams - who is their quarterback for 2008? Don't know? That's because either their coach hasn't decided OR they've never been a starting QB for their team! Maryland might still be deciding between Turner and Steffy (although, I also think Turner is going to be the guy), but at least both of them have been a starter and are capable of leading the Terps offense. But, as was discussed in a previous post, Maryland enters the season with one of the best receiving corps, led by Heyward-Bey, a fantastic offensive line, and again will have a solid running game. Maryland's biggest question mark is defense, and justifiably so. But defensive skills in football are something that you can teach a lot easier than a position such as quarterback, so I personally would have given Maryland the edge over UVA, BC and FSU, but that's just my opinion. I'm not saying Maryland is going to win the ACC, but I am saying they'll probably finish with 8 wins, +/- 1. And I guarantee they'll finish with a better record than BC, UVA and FSU.
This bring me to another point - the BCS rankings. Suppose Maryland went undefeated this year, including winning the ACC title game. They probably wouldn't have a shot at playing in the National Championship game. And why? Because they didn't start the season out in the top 25. This is one of the major flaws in the BCS system - stupid things like the USA Today Coaches poll and the AP Poll can kill a team's chances of winning a national title before players even step food on the field for the first game of the season. This just shows why we need a playoff in College Football. Sticking with the scenario of Maryland being undefeated (it's nice to dream), if we had a 4, 6 or 8 team playoff, Maryland would be able to show they should be National Champion. If a team were to go undefeated, they would be ranked fairly high, so they should get into a 8 team playoff. You could even have a rule saying that if an undefeated team was not in the top 8, they get an automatic berth in the playoff.
You could take the major bowl games (Orange, Fiesta, Sugar, and Rose) and each would host a playoff game. Two of those 4 would then host the semi-finals, and one of them would host the National Championship game. The games could then rotate between each of the 4 bowls as to who hosted what game each year.
This would eliminate "joint" national champions in football, give us much more football to watch, and create so much more buzz and excitement around the bowl games, leading up to the national title. And most importantly, it would hopefully put every team worthy of playing for the National Championship in position to be able to actually win the national championship.
Currently, I can only compare it to the NCAA Men's basketball tourney before they allowed at-large bids. Maryland lost to NC State, who was #1, in the ACC tourney finals and since there were no at large bids, was left out of the NCAA tourney, even though they were ranked #2.
Something crazy is going to have to happen before school Presidents change their mind on this. Lets hope something happens this year to that puts a football playoff in place.