Before we get to this week's ballot, a quick note: CBKWit has agreed to join Yellow Fever and myself in submitting a ballot every week, so a) feel free to direct complaints in his direction, and b) some of this week's deltas make very little sense, and that's because we have 3 voters now instead of 2.
With that out of the way, here's our preliminary ballot for Week 1:
The top 4 remain the same from last week, while Ohio State moves up to No. 5 only because CBKWit likes them, and he didn't vote last week. None of these teams faced any challenges this past weekend, destroying Virginia, Georgia Southern, Hawai'i, Chattanooga and Youngstown State, respectively, by a combined score of 253-40. If you could find nuanced differences in these blowout performances that tells you which of these teams are better than the others, more power to you. For my own part, I saw no reason to move any of them off of where I had them last week.
Last week, with Clemson at No. 9 and Virginia Tech at No. 10, I wrote this:
Clemson and Virginia Tech? Someone's gotta win the ACC, I guess, though I had VaTech down in the teens somewhere. Personally, I think there's a pretty big dropoff between the top 8 and everyone else.
Well, someone still has to win the ACC, though I a) have no idea who that might be -- Wake Forest?, and b) I won't be terribly impressed by whoever does manage the accomplishment. Clemson and VaTech were both embarrassed this past weekend, and both tumble out of our ballot as a result.
So, I still believe there's a big gap between the top 8 and everyone else, but someone's gotta fill those spots. Texas and Wisconsin, come on up!
More blowouts of inferior competition. Perhaps Texas Tech giving up 24 points to Eastern Washington should be cause for concern, but their Playstation offense once again managed to hang almost half a hundred on the scoreboard. I see no reason to move any of these teams around.
Alabama makes a huge first weekend splash in blowing out top-10 Clemson, and is justly rewarded with a spot at No. 16. They'll move around as we learn more about just how good Clemson actually is, but for now, this feels about right. Speaking of the ACC, Wake Forest was the lone bright spot for the ACC this past weekend, though a lopsided win over Baylor is hardly a new occurence.
Illinois is the only team in our Top 25 to have lost last weekend, but they lost in respectable fashion, dropping a tough loss to Missouri, a top 10 team. Irrespective of the teams involved, the No. 7 team should beat the No. 22 team by a score of about 52-42, and last weekend's results bore that out. Thus both teams remain pretty much where they were in the preseason poll (Illinois actually moves up 2 spots due to other teams falling out of the poll).
The rest of these teams won on Saturday, but in close or ugly fashion. Fresno was scoreless at halftime before pulling away from Rutgers, and South Carolina was nearly as bad, managing a field goal just before the half in an eventual shutout of North Carolina State. I think we all know how well Cal did, though I'm not yet sure how good a competition Michigan State was; at least Sparty can rest easy, knowing Michigan also fell, but at home to unranked Utah. Not a pretty victory for the Utes, but winning at the Big House still lands you at No. 25.
Dropped out: Clemson, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Rutgers
I'd say all four of these teams were, to some degree, embarrassed on national television. Virginia Tech's loss to East Carolina was especially poetic, as the Hokies' traditionally strong special teams had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown for the Pirates' game-winner. Tennessee failed to give themselves much of a halftime lead despite grabbing 4 interceptions from UCLA's Kevin Craft, in part due to a plethora of missed opportunities for field goals, while Rutgers looked so inept in falling to Fresno State that I seriously considered not ranking the Bulldogs either. In the end, I think I just ran out of decent teams to rank.