Some journalists (*cough* Wilner and Ratto *cough*) love to point out about how Cal is consistently overrated by the media at the beginning only to fall through at the end. My first thought is if everyone knows about Cal's propensity to collapse, why rate Cal high in the first place?. But that's college football polls for you.
I thought I'd take a quick look and see if this phenomena is true for Cal. I decided to only look at the Tedford era, well because Cal football hadn't played since the the Synder days. Major thanks to AP Poll Archive, who has all the AP polls for the major NCAA sports since the '30s!
Many folks claim that the AP Poll should not begin ranking teams until the further into the season. I thought it would be interesting to see if that had any difference in how Cal performed ranking wise, so I also considered Cal's ranking at Week 3, Week 5 and Week 8 of the season.
|Pre-Season||Wk3||Wk5||Wk8||End of Season||Post Season|
* NR = Not Rated
Now for the deltas...
|PS to Final||3 to final||5 to final||8 to final||end to final||PS to end||3 to end||5 to end||8 to end|
* PS = Pre-Season
So for the most part Cal has been unranked. 2004-2006 seemed to be the best years for Cal in the AP Poll. However most of the time when Cal has been ranked we've fallen disastrously short. 2004 and 2006 were exceptions.
I personally think this says more about the poll than it does about Cal. It's not Cal's fault that people aren't good at predicting what happens.
In the delta table I looked at the difference from one of the starting positions to the final poll (i.e. Post Season). Also because one can perhaps claim that the polls are meant to be for the end of the season and not post-season I also looked at from the starting positions to end of season. Also interesting to see is how the media did from end of season to post-season.
In general it seems that the pre-season guesses are not as good as the rest (with an odd anomaly for Week 5 which generally correlate to the first few Pac-10 games). But what's interesting is that by Week 8 the media is more reliable as to how they think Cal will perform by the end of the season.
In the grand scheme of things, this isn't very useful because you can't really draw any conclusions from it. Nonetheless it is interesting to see.