Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you every weekend. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
Today, the Gophers take on Nebraska, a team ranked either 14th or 16th in the nation, depending on which poll you happen to read. The question I have is this: in this age, does anyone really care who the nation's 16th-best team is? Nebraska is ranked above Oregon State in the BCS, but behind the Beavers in the AP poll -- and for the life of me, I cannot think of a reason that it would matter to fans of either school. Perhaps there are some OSU-Nebraska marriages that are split over the topic.
With a four-team playoff set to begin in the 2014 season, I imagine this will only get worse. No one will have a reason to pay attention to any portion of a poll that isn't about the playoff teams. Everything beyond the eighth spot will be completely ignored, as well it should be. In fact, I think it's time for the AP -- for one -- to cut its poll down. There's historical precedent; until 1989, the poll never ranked more than the top 20, and for much of the 1960s only the top ten were acknowledged.
That's the direction I'd like to head in. Let's get all of the polls - AP, Coaches, BCS - down to the top 10. Let the voters focus on the best 10 teams in the nation; maybe then they can put some thought into their ballots, rather than spend their time agonizing over whether Louisville or Louisiana Tech really deserves that No. 19 ranking.
Ideally, I'd get it down farther, maybe to six or eight teams. And in a perfect world, no polls would be released until mid-October at the earliest, to stop voters voting based on "not moving a team up/down" even though that team's previous ranking was ultimately based on nothing more than a pre-season guess. But 10 is a round number, and I suspect the folks at the AP and at all of the other poll organizations won't be able to help releasing polls as soon as they possibly can, so one step at a time here.
And if you think that 10 is too few teams for a poll, consider this. There are 349 teams in Division I college basketball, 25 of which - just over 7 percent - are ranked. Even with a 10-team ranking, football would still have a higher percentage of its 124 teams appearing in the poll.
*On with the links
*If you think that Christian Ponder proved anything with his performance last Sunday, the Vikes Geek reminds you that you really shouldn't.
*In Twins news, we've got the transcript of Ron Gardenhire's conversation with Torii Hunter after the latter signed with the Tigers, as well as the team raising money on Kickstarter to buy some starting pitching. Are either of these links serious? No! Are both of them great? Yes!
*Will Leitch asks an important question: what the heck happened to Rick Reilly?
*You should really read Chris Brown at Grantland, writing about how despite Oregon's vaunted high-speed offense, they're really not doing anything but finding a new way to pound the football.
*Deadspin has the story of how ESPN quit with the journalism and chased Tim Tebow to the bottom of the barrel.
*And finally: here's a representation of how all Blue Jays fans feel right now.