The epic game of the year actually turned out to be a dud, as first Ohio State's star running back Beanie Wells can't play, and then the rest of the team is overwhelmed by Trojans. However, that's about the only bright spot for our favorite left-coast conference, however. Most of the significant movement in the ballot this week involved Pac-10 teams, and almost none of it was good.
Say what you want about the validity of conference pride, but if the Pac-10 once again fails to place a second team in the BCS this year, this weekend will probably be looked back upon as the cause of that. Not only did Cal sleepwalk through most of its game at Maryland, but Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, and UCLA all fell to Mountain West foes, with UCLA doing so in spectacular fashion. Right now, I'd venture to say that the Mountain West winner is quite likely to make a BCS game, and furthermore, the conference as a whole might be better than the Big East at this point (Jeff Sagarin doesn't quite agree with me, but he says it's very close).
Enough with the conference bragging right talk already. Here's our ballot for Week 3:
USC's performance last Saturday night was scary-good; they absolutely shut down Ohio State, and I honestly didn't watch much of the second half because Auburn's baseball game with Mississippi State was much more compelling, at least in a 'cripple fight' sort of way. The top 5 doesn't really change this week, though we switched Florida and Georgia following the Dawgs' less-than-convincing win over South Carolina. It wasn't a bad win, and the Dawgs and Gators will settle who is better on the field anyway, so it's not really a big deal. Actually, I think the points are very close, and the switch occured because I moved up Oklahoma on my own ballot. Beating Washington isn't a big deal, but the Sooners looked good doing it, so for now, they're firmly in our #2 slot.
Not much movement here either, except to move up into the vacuum created by Ohio State's tumble. Neither Oregon nor East Carolina looked impressive in eking out wins over teams they were favored to beat, so Penn State jumps them both into the #9 slot.
One of the toughest parts of filling out my own ballot was figuring out what to do with Ohio State. I mean, getting slammed by USC in the Coliseum doesn't really tell me much other than they're not Top 5 material, but then, neither of their wins (Youngstown State, Ohio) impress me very much. 15 seems like a good compromise, though I reserve the right to move them around wildly based on future results.
Meanwhile, a week after BYU escapes a bad Washington club with a controversial win, the Cougars hand UCLA their worst loss since the Great Depression. Damn you, Karl Dorrell, you've worked your mustachioed magic once again! How does he do it, folks?
If one team beats another at home with a long-distance, last-second field goal, I'd say those two teams are pretty close to dead-even, talent-wise. South Florida gets to be on top by virtue of the win, but Kansas is right behind. Meanwhile, Auburn kicks just one field goal all day and still manages to win. Ahhh, SEC football...gotta love it!
...and then we needed some other teams to fill out our ballot. First of all, Fresno loses at home to Wisconsin, but still doesn't drop. The way I see it, the #8 team in the country should beat the #23 team, at least by a slim margin. Fresno's good, the Badgers are better, and I see no reason to change our rankings from last week.
Now, it may seem odd for TCU to enter the poll after beating Stanford at home, but when I went looking for new teams to rank, their record (solid win at New Mexico, blowout of Stephen F. Austin) is about as impressive as any of the other 3-0 teams not ranked above them.
Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt? Also 3-0. I assume they're good because CBKWit and Yellow Fever, respectively, voted for them, but I couldn't tell you how good. This far down on our Top 25, there's no reason to be too picky.
Arizona State's loss to UNLV at home will probably end up being the bigger blot on the final season résumé, but neither the Sun Devils nor the Bears looked anything like a Top 25 team last weekend, so neither gets to be one on our ballot this week. It's just one loss, and a non-conference one at that, so there's still plenty of time for each team to bounce back. If ASU comes back and beats Georgia this weekend, I think we'll all write off the UNLV loss as simply a matter of getting caught looking ahead on their schedule. Until such time, however, I remain skeptical.
And West Virginia? Well, the did nothing to warrant falling from our ballot, seeing as how they didn't play at all. They simply got passed by a couple other teams on their way up, and will almost certainly sneak back in the rankings in a week or two as long as they can put together a couple wins, however impressive (or not). Barring an implosion, Pat White's name will keep them in voters' minds this year.