TCU’s got a lot to celebrate right now with the release of the new AP preseason poll. While Gary Patterson, several reporters and most fans will all (rightly) say that preseason polls don’t matter, there’s two reasons for Frog fans to get excited.
Firstly, this is the highest preseason ranking TCU ever has received in school history. To know that the program has gone from being the school left out from the Southwestern Conference demise to one of the most respected programs in the country is nothing to sneeze at.
Secondly though, and more importantly, is that history says TCU is much more likely to get into a championship game than No.1 Ohio State.
You aren’t crazy - you read that last sentence right.
Historically speaking, the No.2 spot holder in the preseason AP Poll does better than the No.1 spot holder. How’s this for a crazy fact? Since the conception of the BCS, every AP preseason No.2 team has made a BCS or NY6 bowl game.
The No.1 team? Only 70 percent of those teams made it to one.
If you’re into crazy stats, here’s another one. Only two AP preseason No.1 teams finished No.1 at the end of the year (’99 Florida State and ’04 USC - who had to vacate their BCS title following the Reggie Bush scandal), and only six times have the No.1 team made it to the national championship.
But No.2 AP preseason teams? Five titles, and nine appearances in the national championship game.
On average, a preseason AP No.2 team finishes the season ranked in the top-5, with the average place being 4.88 and the median as No.1. Meanwhile, the No.1 team finished the season averaged at 6.29 and the mode as #2 and #3 (both showed up 4 times).
Belittle the preseason ranks all you want, but there’s good omens for the Frogs to open in that particular spot.
By no means should this undermine how excellent Ohio State should be this year. With the first-ever unanimous preseason No. 1 vote in the history of the AP Poll, Ohio State is slated to be one of the greatest college football teams of all time.
But if they do finish at No.1, the team would be breaking a lot of history barriers as well.
For the seven teams that have started out at No.1 with at least 90 percent of the vote, none of them won a national title. For the last nine teams that started with the No.1 spot, only one team made it to the national championship: 2006 Ohio State, who lost to Florida in the BCS Championship.
But for those No.2 teams? They’ve been to the national championship four times since No.1’s last appearance, with 2007 LSU, 2011 Alabama and 2012 Alabama winning it all. 2009 Texas represented the #2 teams with an appearance in the national championship as well.
The No.1 teams haven’t seen such a kind response. 2012 USC infamously dropped out of the final rankings following a loss in the Sun Bowl. 2008 Georgia finished at No.13, while 2011 Oklahoma ended their underwhelming run at No.16.
For those No.2 teams though? With the exception of 2006 Notre Dame and 2013 Ohio State, every No.2 team finished in the Top 10 of the final AP polls, and every one finished in a major bowl game.
Ohio State certainly has the talent and returning star power to make a title defense, but given the history of the No. 1 preseason rank, there's a lot of ground to make up.
For TCU, the pressure is on to live up to the No.2 hype.
And if history is any sort of factor, the Horned Frogs should have a very good year in front of them.
Below are the results for both the No.1 and No.2 AP preseason poll teams.
**No.1 Team Results**2014: Florida State, #5, lost Rose Bowl
2013: Alabama, #7, lost Sugar Bowl
2012: USC, UR, lost Sun Bowl
2011: Oklahoma, #16, won Insight Bowl
2010: Alabama, #10, won Capital Bowl
2009: Florida, #3, won Sugar Bowl
2008: Georgia, #13, won Citrus Bowl
2007: USC, #3, won Rose Bowl
2006: OSU, #2, lost BCS Championship (National Championship)
2005: USC, #2, lost Rose Bowl (National Championship)
2004: USC, #1, won Orange Bowl (National Championship, vacated)
2003: Oklahoma, #3, lost Sugar Bowl (National Championship)
2002: Miami, #2, lost Fiesta Bowl (National Championship)
2001: Florida, #3, won Orange Bowl
2000: Nebraska, #8, won Alamo Bowl
1999: FSU, #1, won Sugar Bowl (National Championship)
1998: OSU, #2, won Sugar Bowl
**No.2 Team Results**2014: Alabama. #4. Lost in Sugar Bowl
2013: Ohio State. #12. Lost in Orange Bowl
2012: Alabama. #1. Won BCS title game (National Championship)
2011: Alabama. #1. Won BCS title game (National Championship)
2010: Ohio State. #5. Won Sugar Bowl
2009: Texas. #2. Lost BCS title game (National Championship)
2008: Ohio State. #9. Lost Fiesta Bowl
2007: LSU. #1. Won BCS title game (National Championship)
2006: Notre Dame. #17. Lost Sugar Bowl
2005: Texas. #1. Won BCS title game (National Championship)
2004: Oklahoma. #3. Lost Orange Bowl (National Championship)
2003: Ohio State. #4. Won Fiesta Bowl
2002: Oklahoma. #5. Won Rose Bowl
2001: Miami. #1. Won Rose Bowl (National Championship)
2000: Florida State. #5. Lost Orange Bowl (National Championship)
1999: Tennessee. #9. Lost Fiesta Bowl
1998: Florida State. #3. Lost Fiesta Bowl (National Championship)