And here we go. Keep in mind that trying to seriously parse the differences in team’s schedules at this early date is rough going … and so this may be kind of insane:
And your weekly explanation:
1-6: So, so many top-shelf teams have essentially the same resume this week: one dominant win over legitimate competition, two blowouts over lesser competition. (Oklahoma is the lone exception: they’ve got the dominant win, then a close win over a team I’m guessing is at least semi-legitimate in Air Force, but then a squeaker over their cupcake.) I went with the Tide because even though Penn St. hasn’t done much–a blowout win over a I-AA tomato can, a shutout of Kent State–that’s still a little more valuable win than Tennessee, and the Tide were more dominant against them than the Bucks were vs. Miami.
From there, Oklahoma actually has that second decent win, TCU wasn’t quite as impressive vs. Oregon St. as the other teams were vs. their actual competition, and Nebraska has been very impressive … but Washington (and their loss to a sorry BYU team) may, in fact, be horrible.
7-10: Iowa showed against Iowa St. they’re not bad and Arizona throttled their cupcakes, so up the Wildcats go. The Gamecocks hold steady despite the devaluing of the Georgia win thanks to So. Miss cruising past Kansas. I dropped Texas out of the top tier despite the win in Lubbock because when Northwestern beats Rice more convincingly than you did and Boise obliterated a team you trailed 7-6 late in the second, you haven’t accomplished much else … and I’m not sure Tech is going to be all that exciting in the end. Boise needs more from Va. Tech to stay this high.
11-16: Stanford’s obliteration of UCLA looks a lot better after the Bruins handled Houston, and they made Wake Forest look like a I-AA squad. Florida, Auburn, LSU, and Michigan all have multiple wins over passable opponents … and are more-or-less ranked according to the current quality of those opponents. I cut the Gators a little slack for being the Gators. Arkansas has just the one win … but on the road at Georgia, it’s a very nice win.
17-19: Nevada has the one sterling win but nothing else … and not much a track record of sustaining things. We’ll see. Utah should maybe be higher, but we still don’t know anything about Pitt. Wisconsin I’ve giving the benefit of the doubt, but man, they don’t look so hot.
20-25: Whatever, they haven’t lost, and they all have wins against BCS competition. After seeing both Va. Tech and Georgia immediately absorb a second loss after I left them in the poll with a loss, it may be a couple of weeks before another team with a loss makes the ballot.
On to the …
1. Alabama. No. 1 in the country in offensive yards-per-play. Sigh.
2. Arkansas. The lack of a second win holds them down in the BlogPoll, but where the Power Poll is concerned, has any SEC team done anything as impressive as lead Georgia by two TDs on the road in the fourth quarter? Does any team have the Hogs’ upside if the defense really is this competent?
3. South Carolina. Sleepwalked past Furman. But ‘Cocks have always been dedicated sleepwalkers when it comes to I-AA competition.
4. Florida. A little strange to look at Florida sort of wheezing past the same Tennessee team Oregon destroyed and think “Gators were a lot better this week,” but here we are.
5. Auburn. Lose to South Carolina, the wins over State and Clemson were “lucky” thanks to opponent errors. Beat South Carolina, and there’s no excusing a 5-0 start, right? Yeah, it’s a bit of a big game.
6. LSU. In 2009, LSU finished dead last in the SEC in total offense. After three games, including a home date against Mississippi and a trip to Vandy, the Bayou Bengals have shot all the way up to … 10th.
7. Kentucky. If Mike Hartline is actually this good … and Locke and Cobb stay healthy … the old Andrew Woodson days might have been just the beginning for Joker Phillips’s offense.
8. Georgia. Still probably the best 1-2 team in the country.
9. Vanderbilt. Don’t look now, but between nearly beating Northwestern and a two-touchdown SEC win on the road … isn’t Vandy kind of playing better than any of the three teams below them?
10. Tennessee. Is it encouraging Vols looked so much better than against Oregon … or discouraging they couldn’t push Florida any harder than Miami did, even at Neyland?
11. Mississippi State. Did not expect the Bulldogs to drop this low in the poll this year, but then again I also didn’t expect Dan Mullen’s quarterbacks to throw an interception every four passes or so.
12. Ole Miss. 1-2 with a 14-point win over Tulane and two home losses, one to a I-AA team and the second by two touchdowns to Vanderbilt. Meaning that Ole Miss is probably the 12thiest 12th it’s possible to be. Maybe we should just go to 13 this week?