1. Alabama. The SEC’s clearcut No. 1 team. Who happened to take 55 minutes to score an offensive touchdown at home. Not a vintage year for the league, I’m thinking.
2. Florida. As the Gator D bails out Meyer’s sputtering Wundermachine yet again, it’s time (again) to hail Charlie Strong as the best assistant coach in this conference.
3. Arkansas. It’s not like the Hogs didn’t know Alex Tejada was shakier than a bobblehead at the San Andreas. If you don’t replace him or get him closer than 35 yards, that’s what you get.
4. LSU. Tigers en route to one of those 2006 Auburn-style “We’re not all that good, but somehow we ended up winning 11 games anyway” kind of seasons.
5. South Carolina. If this team could actually score touchdowns in the red zone, they’d be in the national championship hunt right now. For reals.
6. Kentucky. Who knew that playing Florida and Alabama in back-to-back weeks could distort how good a team actually might be?
7. Tennessee. Vols managed to bounce the check Kiffin’s mouth wrote to Meyer, but don’t forget he had some words for the Coachbot, too. And coachbots have no capacity for mercy.
8. Georgia. Recovering from midseason devastation is still kind of Mark Richt’s thing, isn’t it?
9. Ole Miss. Time for the Rebels to play their every-third-week game against real competition, and quite possibly accept their every-third-week defeat.
10. Auburn. So, Dr. James Andrews, that offseason stuff you did for Chris Todd’s shoulder worked like a charm. You got anything similar for the middle of the season?
11. Mississippi St. Underrated Bulldogs vs. overrated Gators with an ex-Gator on the MSU sideline? Upset’s out of reach, but this looks like one exceedingly likely cover.
12. Vanderbilt. Can anyone give me one good reason Vandy shouldn’t be running the option? Hell, didn’t Johnson himself oversee the option back at Furman?
On to …
|Last week’s ballot|
Dropped Out: Nebraska (#12), Auburn (#18), Kansas (#22), Wisconsin (#23), South Florida (#24), Arkansas (#25).
Let’s get this wad of madness out of the way:
1-4: Wins vs. Arizona, at Penn St., at Wisconsin, three teams that have combined for two losses to all other teams. Yes, Iowa’s more deserving of No. 3 than the ‘Horns, and it’s not even close.
5-6: TCU gets a boost from Clemson and Virginia both looking like solid wins again. Routing a decent Colorado St. team by 38 points doesn’t hurt, either.
7-10: Southern Cal has better wins than the two ACC teams in front of them, but their loss doesn’t look nearly as understandable these days. Miami likewise doesn’t have the overall resume of Tech, but head-to-head keeps them ahead of the Jackets. As for Boise, one home win and a bunch of chaff doesn’t cut it in the top 10 anymore.
11-13: Houston has dealt Okie St. and Texas Tech two of the only three losses those teams have suffered, and the other was to Texas.
14-20: WHEEEEEEE two-loss brigade! You could shuffle these teams into just about any order you wanted–I tried to get them as close to correctly in line as I could based on the quality of their wins and the quality of their losses. Note that the difference between these teams and the two two-loss Big 10 teams at the back of the ballot (and the horde just outside it) was that all of these have more than one worthwhile win. (Why the boost for ND after a loss? The Nevada, Michigan St., and Purdue wins all got better while a close loss to USC isn’t all that damaging.)
21-22, 24: All one-loss teams with one good win to their credit. Neither Florida St. nor Oklahoma doing BYU any favors these days.
23, 25: Keeping Michigan behind the ND team they beat head-to-head makes me a little itchy, but M’s second-best win is Indiana and the loss to Mich. St. is worse than either of the Irish’s. I looked at a dozen different teams for the No. 25 spot–Georgia, West Virginia, Arizona St., Utah, Nebraska, the cupcake-masters at Penn St. and Ole Miss, even Auburn (who frankly still has a better overall resume than WVU)–but decided that wins over Wisconsin and Navy along with a loss to a top-10 team gave the Buckeyes the best argument.
Weekly poll gripe: It pains me to see teams like Penn St. and Utah ranked so highly by virtue of beating absolutely no one, but at least they haven’t been exposed yet by losing to an inferior team. Kansas, meanwhile, has beaten Northern Colorado, UTEP, Duke, Southern Miss, and Iowa St. That’s weak-sauce enough, but then in their first actual test of the season, they laid an egg and lost to previously 1-4 Colorado.
And, somehow, no wins + a bad loss = the No. 21 team in the country to the coaches and No. 24 in the AP. I hope Oklahoma beats them by 50.