ESPN released it's Way-Too-Early Top 25 for the 2022 College Football season on January 10, almost immediately after the Georgia-Alabama National title game. We couldn't even allow the Dawgs fanbase to let their first national championship in 41 years soak in before shifting the focus to the next season.
I get it. College Football is the second most popular sport in the country, trailing only behind the NFL. But damn, do we really need a poll that's even more meaningless than the meaningless preseason polls we get right before the season kicks off in the fall? By week 4, the real rankings won't look anything like the useless Top 25 that we're seeing now.
The perfect example is last year's UNC team. They had all the media hype one can dream of: a returning "dark horse Heisman contender" at QB, a top-12 preseason ranking, and all the Mack is Back talk about Mr. February Mack Brown. They were expected to run the ACC's coastal division en route to challenging Clemson for the league's top spot. Was the supposed "sleeping giant" finally awake in Chapel Hill? The answer was a resounding no. Instead, they finished the year 6-7 and winless on the road. Not to mention, the season finale giving up a 9 point lead with 2 minutes left to the Red team in Raleigh (You love to see it). That's just one cautionary tale of drinking the preseason Kool-aid.
But why do I care so much? That's easy: we're now seeing the media hype up my alma mater--NC State--in the same way they did the Heels last season. Just stop already. Realistically, the Wolfpack are gonna be a good to be potentially really good football team in 2022. We may even be a top contender for the ACC title. However, ESPN has us at 8th(!) in the country in this way-to-early poll. C'mon man.
Again, NC State will likely be a good, experienced team next year. The defense returns basically everyone and Devin Leary has proven that he's "that dude" under center. I believe in the program that Coach Dave Doeren has built in Raleigh and want him to be here for a long time. But I'm sorry if we in Wolfpack Nation are a bit gun-shy. At this point, we've earned the right to be. Time and time again, a known phenomenon known as "NC State Shit" has reared it's ugly head. It happened again this past bowl season with known scumbags UCLA and Chip Kelly backing out the morning of the Holiday Bowl, and packing up before alerting the Wolfpack that it was running scared back to LA. And don't even get me started on the "Omaha Screwjob" in the College World Series last summer. El Pres, Dave Portnoy summed it up best when he said "the Wolfpack are getting fucked right now."
It's fine to be excited and optimistic at the prospect of next year's football team. I know that I am. The program is in a really good spot and we're going to compete for the division. A part of me actually appreciates the positive media coverage we're FINALLY getting. Usually, we get nothing but disrespect from the National Media. But let's not pump out pieces putting us in the top 10 in freakin' January. That's just crazy.