"Er, Notre Dame, Penn State—I like that Paterno; plays tough but never beats me—UCLA, Alabama and, er, Washington State."
"Darn right. We got to play them next week. Tough."
"What about Texas and Arkansas?"
"No! Not Texas and definitely not Arkansas, damn his funny jokes."
"That's only 12 teams, Coach. UPI wants you to vote for 15 this season."
"They want 15? What sort of way is that to pick a Top 20! I've got to get ready for Washington State. You fill in the other ones."
At about the same time, a letter arrives at the home of a reporter. It is from Charley, a friendly sports information director. "Hi," it begins. "Hope you and yours had a wonderful summer. This is just to remind you that we were 11-1 last season and that we have all 22 starters back plus a walk-on soccer-style Norwegian placekicker. We look forward to another outstanding season and hope you will remember us kindly in the AP poll."
The reporter crumples the letter but decides this is as good a time as any to make his preseason choices and send them to the AP bureau chief. He rattles off Ohio State, Michigan, USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas, LSU, Alabama, Notre Dame and Penn State, even though he can't name five players on the whole lot of them and is not all that familiar with their schedules. That's 12 teams, and more years than not the national champion will be one of them. Now he picks Maryland from the ACC and Arizona State from the WAC, then remembers that Arizona State is now in the Pac-8, er, Pac-10, starts to erase and then figures that Frank Kush can produce a winning team in any conference.
That's 14 teams. One to go. "O.K.," he decides, "I deserve one for myself. I pick Tulsa. Why not? Tulsa has a fair offense and it has five patsies on the schedule. I live in Tulsa and, most important, I went to Tulsa. If I don't vote for Tulsa, who will?"