1. Alabama. Sure, holding LSU to 3 points is impressive. Holding Arkansas and Ole Miss to a combined 10 is more impressive.
2. Florida. Hello role reversal: to date, Alabama’s been the explosive, dominant-in-all-phases team and the Gators have been the grind-it-out, clock-killin’, defense-driven possession masters. Do they give Heismans to game managers?
3. Arkansas. Yep, they’re No. 3, until we see some evidence that LSU or Ole Miss have a prayer of keeping up with Ryan Mallett and his merry band of mischief-makers … or that what looks like the team’s second straight mid-year defensive renaissance actually isn’t.
4. South Carolina. Is the Cocks’ wriggle out of Kentucky’s grasp–in Columbia–evidence that Kentucky’s that good or SC’s not that good?
5. LSU. 1. Narrow escape in Seattle 2. Wheeze past Vandy 3. Cupcake 4. Even narrower escape in Starkville 5. Narrow escape in Athens one week before Crompton Comes Alive 6. Double-digit home loss. I’m not sure why we’re supposed to think the Tigers are all that good.
6. Auburn. No, I don’t believe Auburn is the sixth-best team in the league. But they have to prove Saturday’s no-show was more fluke than rule before they move back up.
7. Tennessee. The rest of the league had best pray Crompton Comes Alive was a one-week engagement, because that defense and that running game paired with a competent quarterback is … well, just ask Georgia what it is.
8. Ole Miss. Between Snead, McCluster, Bolden, and Nutt, who’d have predicted that the Rebels would become yet another set of all-defense no-offense SEC grinders? (Well, assuming they ever start actually grinding.)
9. Georgia. Last two weeks the Dawgs have been outgained by a combined 325 yards by one team that was outgained by Miss. St. by 111 yards and one that outgained Ohio by 59 yards.
10. Kentucky. Nagging feeling that Hartline’s absence and subsequent bigger role for Randall Cobb might be blessing in disguise for Rich Brooks.
11. Mississippi St. I knew after that 2007 season in which horseshoes and rabbit’s feet rained from the Bulldog sky that State wouldn’t catch many breaks for a while, but what Dan Mullen’s endured so far this year still seems over-the-top, Football Gods.
12. Vanderbilt. When you say “this is the worst Vanderbilt team I’ve seen in quite some time,” you’re saying something. But after the ‘Dores couldn’t put an offensive touchdown on the board against Army, what else can you say?
Before we get to this week’s BlogPoll ballot, a note about the way I vote in each of these polls: true to its name, I treat the SEC Power Poll as a “power poll,” and vote according to which teams seem to have the most “juice” right at this moment, who would win on a neutral field, that kind of thing. (Though there’s no real difference in teams 4-6 above: Auburn just has the most embarrassing loss.) The BlogPoll is mostly resume-based–who you’ve played and beaten and what your team’s record is counts for a lot more there.
And so Auburn ranks ahead of Arkansas and Carolina below, and below them above. Moving on …
|Last week’s ballot|
Dropped Out: Stanford (#18), Michigan (#23), Georgia (#25).
1-4: Watching Texas flail around for three quarters against Colorado (at home!) and only break the game open on a punt return and brainless pick-six vs. watching Virginia Tech feed Boston College through the wood chipper makes the choice for No. 3 easy.
5-10: Nothing new here other than LSU’s departure.
11: TCU gets a slight bump from Virginia suddenly looking like a worthwhile win again.
12-21: Trying to figure out exactly how to rank this many one-loss teams is a giant pain. As short as I can make it: Nebraska (finally) and Oregon have good wins and the most explainable losses; Ga. Tech has no standout victory but the most decent ones; 15-19 each have two worthwhile wins and one loss and are ranked by roughly how impressive the two wins are and how explainable the loss is (Auburn vs. SC, West Virginia/at Tennessee is currently more impressive than vs. Ole Miss / at Duke victims N.C. State); BYU has only one impressive win and a horrible loss; Notre Dame is Ga. Tech with a worse loss.
22-24: Kansas and South Florida have been undefeated long enough that it doesn’t matter much that neither one has beaten a soul. Wisconsin’s beaten half-a-soul in Michigan St.; this week, it’s enough to stay in the poll.
25: Find me another team with a victory half as impressive as beating Auburn by 21. Pitt? With their loss to N.C. State and best win a three-point home squeaker over UConn? Nope. Missouri? Their wins are Illinois, Furman, Bowling Green, Nevada. Right. Utah’s are even worse. West Virginia will get there, but Colorado and Syracuse aren’t nearly enough just yet.