Fans of college football teams in the West know that in the polls, their teams don't get the respect that teams from the Mid-West, East, and South get.
I took a look at this season's USA Today Preseason Top 25. Keep in mind, if a team starts out low in the polls, or unranked, it becomes that much more difficult for that team to make it into a major bowl game at the end of the season.
Here's a listing that shows a team's preseason ranking, and in parentheses, their ranking at the end of last season and last season's record.
Note: Teams from the "Far West" (further west than Texas, or should I say, states that either straddle the Rocky Mountains or lie west of them) are highlighted in bold, showing an interesting pattern.
Teams from the West who are starting out ranked higher than they were at the end of the season ("Far West" teams in bold):
#2 Texas (#3, 13-1)
#3 Oklahoma (#5, 12-2)
#11 Oklahoma State (#18, 9-4)
#12 California (#25, 9-4)
#22 Nebraska (not ranked, 9-4)
Teams from the West who are starting out ranked lower than they were at the end of the season ("Far West" teams in bold):
#4 USC (#2, 12-1)
#14 Oregon (#9, 10-3)
#16 Boise State (#13, 12-1)
#17 TCU (#7, 11-2)
#18 Utah (#4, 13-0)
#24 BYU (#21, 10-3)
#25 Oregon State (#19, 9-4)
Now, teams from the East, South, or Mid-West who are starting out ranked higher than (or even with where) they were at the end of the season:
#1 Florida (#1, 13-1)
#5 Alabama (#6, 12-2)
#6 Ohio State (#11, 10-3)
#7 Virginia Tech (#14, 10-4)
#8 Penn State (#8, 11-2)
#9 LSU (not ranked, 8-5)
#10 Mississippi (#15, 9-4)
#15 Georgia Tech (#22, 9-4)
#19 Florida State (#23, 9-4)
#20 North Carolina (not ranked, 8-5)
#23 Notre Dame (not ranked, 7-6)
And teams from the East, South, or Mid-West who are starting out ranked lower than they were at the end of the season:
#13 Georgia (#10, 10-3)
#21 Iowa (#20, 9-4)
Sure are a lot of teams from the East, South, or Mid-West that the pollsters think are better than they were at the end of last year. Only one team from the Far West is ranked higher than they ended up last year -- California.
LSU, unranked at the end of the year, was voted into the top ten (at #9). Based on reputation, I guess.
Notre Dame went 7-6 last season and finished unranked, but they start out at #23. I mean, it's Notre Dame, right? Gotta vote for 'em.
Does a bias exist against Western teams? If you're in a Rocky Mountain State, or to the west, here's yet another example of what folks have been saying for years.