Teams aren't much safer in the top 10. In that same five-year run, 10 of the 50 preseason top 10 teams - 20 percent - plummeted all the way out of the rankings by the time bowl season concluded.
That list includes Louisville in 2007 (preseason No. 10); LSU (No. 7), Clemson (No. 9) and Auburn (No. 10) in '08; Oklahoma (No. 3) and Oklahoma State (No. 9) in '09; Florida (No. 4), Texas (No. 5) and Iowa (No. 9) in '10; and Texas A&M (No. 8) last season.
WVU started this season ranked No. 11 in the AP poll. The Mountaineers have started that high five times - 1998, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008. It doesn't guarantee a healthy end-year ranking.
In '98, WVU started at No. 11 and finished the year unranked. In '04, the Mountaineers went from No. 10 to unranked. In '08, Bill Stewart's first season as head coach, WVU went from No. 8 to No. 23.
Ratto put WVU at No. 23 in his first rankings and lowered it one spot this week. He also had Florida State (No. 3), Michigan State (No. 5), Nebraska (No. 10), Notre Dame (No. 15) and Football Bowl Subdivision newcomer Texas State (No. 16) higher than any other voter.
Trailblazer? Contrarian? I'm sure most in the Mountain State will choose the latter.
Ratto's rankings certainly scream extremist, but I'd rather see someone think outside the box rather than simply slide teams up and down based on wins and losses. We've got league standings for that.
The Bobcats, by the way, opened FBS play by trouncing Conference USA member Houston on the road. Is Texas State eight spots better than WVU? I'm sure this Texas State team is a lot better than the scholarship-less 1991 movie version that starred Scott Bakula, Sinbad and Kathy Ireland, but I'd be a heavy lean to the Mountaineers.
That said, Ratto emailed Deadspin his justification for Texas State's ranking and included this: "Anyone who gets their delicates in a wad over the first week of a non-binding poll probably shouldn't be allowed to watch other people operate heavy machinery."
Ratto's correct. The AP poll isn't even a component of the Bowl Championship Series formula. You could say it has no value.
But the same goes for every other early-season poll.
Contact sports editor Chuck McGill at chuck.mcg...@dailymail.com or 304-348-7949.