I defer to no one in my disdain for preseason polls, but I think Chris Low is off the mark with this observation:
… this is the first time in history, dating back to the advent of the AP poll in 1936, that a defending SEC national champion has been left out of the top 10 in that next season’s preseason poll.
The closest was Georgia in 1981. Coming off their unbeaten national championship season in 1980, the Bulldogs were ranked No. 10 in the 1981 preseason AP poll.
For what it’s worth, they finished 10-2 in 1981 and won their second of three straight SEC championships.
The Auburn players have continued to shrug off the lack of respect they’re being showed in the polls and predictions. They were picked fifth in the Western Division at the SEC media days.
I’m wondering how many of those teams lost both a Heisman Trophy winner and a Lombardi Award winner from one season to the next. Or went into the following season with the greenest team in D-1. Or played what Phil Steele says is the second toughest schedule in the conference (and ninth toughest in the country).
I don’t think Auburn’s going to implode this season. But given the above, it’s not a sign of disrespect to expect a significant drop off from a perfect season, either.