(The above photo is not an example of gratuitous anything. This is simply a photo of Alabama cheerleaders - the Crimson Tide are a college football team and this blog post is about college football.)
The AP preseason college football rankings mean nothing, but they usually lead to something.
TCU is ranked No. 2 in the preseason college football poll, which looks great and it has the Horned Frogs set up to finish in the top 4 and make the College Football Playoffs. All they have to do is just not lose. At least according to this preseason poll, TCU will play but two ranked teams - No. 4 Baylor in Fort Worth, and No. 19 Oklahoma in Norman. Yes - the AP voters hate the Big 12.
By Week 3, the entire preseason poll will look like garbage but there is a very good chance that by the end of the season TCU will have had a fantastic year.
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Looking back at the last 20 preseason Top 25 polls, the team ranked No. 2 has normally done quite well. Six times that team won the national title, and 12 times that No. 2 team finished in the top four. The only real preseason No. 2 dog was Notre Dame in 2006; that team finished the season 17th.
The top four is the new priority now; make the top four and TCU will qualify for the college football playoffs. Of course, the AP rankings are not the College Football Playoff rankings, but it’s at least a decent indicator of how things should go.
A look back at the last 20 teams that were ranked No. 2 in the preseason poll.
2014: Alabama. Finished 4th. Lost in Sugar Bowl
2013: Ohio State. Finished 12th. Lost in Orange Bowl
2012: Alabama. Finished 1st. Won BCS title game
2011: Alabama. Finished 1st. Won BCS title game
2010: Ohio State. Finished 5th. Won Sugar Bowl
2009: Texas. Finished 2nd. Lost BCS title game
2008: Ohio State. Finished 9th. Lost Fiesta Bowl
2007: LSU. Finished 1st. Won BCS title game
2006: Notre Dame. Finished 17th. Lost Sugar Bowl
2005: Texas. Finished 1st. Won BCS title game
2004: Oklahoma. Finished 3rd. Lost Orange Bowl
2003: Ohio State. Finished 4th. Won Fiesta Bowl
2002: Oklahoma. Finished 5th. Won Rose Bowl
2001: Miami. Finished 1st. Won Rose Bowl
2000: Florida State. Finished 5th. Lost Orange Bowl
1999: Tennessee. Finished 9th. Lost Fiesta Bowl
1998: Florida State. Finished 3rd. Lost Fiesta Bowl
1997: Florida. Finished 4th. Won Citrus Bowl
1996: Tennessee. Finished 9th. Won Citrus Bowl
1995: Nebraska. Finished 1st. Won Fiesta Bowl