…courtesy of USA Today:
- The last five preseason No. 1 teams have reached the Bowl Championship Series title game. The flip side: Their combined record is 1-4, with Southern California getting the win at the end of the 2004 season.
- USA TODAY took over administration of the Division I-A football coaches’ poll in 1991. The preseason No. 1s in that span are 10-6 in bowl games.
- USC is opening No. 1 for the third time, all in the last four seasons. Florida State, with four, has the most preseason No. 1 appearances in the USA TODAY poll but none since 1999. USC started first and finished there in 2004. Florida State did the same in 1993 and ’99. Those are the only instances a preseason No. 1 became national champ.
- The national champion has come from outside the preseason top 10 three times, all since the BCS began. Oklahoma started 20th in 2000, the lowest ever for an eventual title team. Ohio State was 12th in 2002, and LSU was 15th in 2003.
- The lowest a preseason No. 1 has finished in the post-bowl rankings is seventh (Florida in 1994 and Nebraska in 2000).
So, in sixteen years, the preseason #1 has never finished lower than seventh in the final standings, and there’s less than a 20% chance that a team outside of the preseason top ten wins the MNC. Nah, that deck’s not stacked at all.