1. Alabama. Much as I hate to say it, the guess here is that getting their cruddy performance out of the way early will help the Tide Saturday.
2. Florida. What’s stunning about the Gators-‘Noles rivalry is not the UF domination, but that FSU can’t even stay on the same field with them. When an 0-8 Vandy puts up a better fight than you do against one of your most bitter rivals … uh, yeah, there’s problems there.
3. LSU. One clock meltdown vs. Ole Miss from 10-2. A handful of plays vs. Miss. St., Georgia, and now the Hogs from 6-6.
BRING ON THE PARADE OF MEDIOCRITY
4. Georgia. And when all is said and done, the Dawgs have as good an SEC record as any team not in the top 3 and the conference’s most impressive non-league victory.
5. Arkansas. Where would the Hogs be with a competent kicker? (Well, in LSU’s slot, most likely.)
6. Auburn. Yep, sixth. Tigers and Hogs are only 3-5 teams that didn’t get to face Vandy, and West Virginia win is at least as impressive as beating Clemson, losing to UCLA, etc.
7. Ole Miss. This just in: Rebels coached by Houston Nutt.
8. Tennessee. Easy to see Vols taking some big strides next season … if they weren’t going to start a true freshman string bean at QB.
9. South Carolina. Full marks for beating up on Clemson, but three home wins over Ole Miss, Vandy, and Kentucky by a combined 12 points is the weakest in-conference resume by any team in the league other than Vandy.
10. Kentucky. You have to feel for the ‘Cats: that’s twice they’ve taken the Vols to overtime in Lexington, and twice the streak has stayed intact.
11. Mississippi St. Great–yet another team to worry about in the SEC West. With the Big 12 South’s demise, this is the toughest division in the game by a mile and a half.
12. Vanderbilt. Basketball season! Awesome!
|Last week’s ballot|
Dropped Out: Mississippi (#15), North Carolina (#16), Clemson (#17).
— Ga. Tech gets a soft cushion thanks to the Hokies, who they can’t fairly go behind, what with beating them head-to-head and having the better record.
— I don’t like Southern Cal any more than you do, but they’ve beaten Ohio St., Oregon St., and Cal. No one behind them has that kind of set of scalps.
— Yep, Ole Miss drops all the way out of the poll. Three of their losses are to 3-5 SEC teams and those two I-AA wins means you can’t give them full credit for being 8-4. (Same argument applies to UNC, by the by.)
— After Houston, though, really, it’s a total crapshoot.
— Just saying for the record: don’t rule out Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. First, some seriously weird things have happened in that game before, and second, the only other defense remotely as stout as the Huskers’ that Texas has faced–Oklahoma’s–gave them fits. If Nebraska can find a defensive or special teams score without giving the ‘Horns the same (which they’ve desperately relied on all season, right up to and including the game-changing kickoff return vs. the Aggies Thursday), they can win this game and set up a TCU vs. SEC title game which, frankly, would make for 10 times the drama as seeing the ‘Horns get punked by the SEC survivor.