I honestly didn't change my ballot very much this week; more movement from Yellow Fever and CBKWit caused a lot of these 1- and 2-point moves. After 4 weeks of play, we're starting to get a clearer picture of how good some of these teams are, so wild swings should be less and less common. Only 3 teams move more than 4 spots this week, and only 2 teams move more than 6.
In any case, here's our (preliminary) ballot for Week 4:
The top 8 stay the same this week, with the only movement being LSU and Missouri changing places. LSU moves up after escaping Auburn, while Georgia can't gain ground after a solid cross-country beating of Arizona State? Well, it probably has more to do with the teams above them. Missouri probably got dinged for letting Buffalo (the college team!) hang around for a while, whilst Florida looked dominant in embarrassing a Tennessee team that, frankly, doesn't need much help embarrassing itself right now. At this point in the poll, it's all about style points right now, and this early in the year, it doesn't really matter much anyway.
Lots of shuffling, but no real significant movement. A couple teams dropped out from the top of this range (more on them in a second), so everyone else pretty much gets to move up a couple. Yes, Auburn gets to move up a few after losing at home to LSU; no shame in falling to the other SEC West Tigers. I'm still not a huge fan of their offense, but their defense is better than I gave them credit for last week. As for Penn State and Ohio State dropping? I couldn't say. Troy's a good Sun Belt team, but they're also the sort of team that past Buckeye squads would have put away early. But Penn State was never challenged by Temple, so I don't know why Texas Tech's beating of a I-AA squad (UMass) would move them above the Nittany Lions. Don't ask me, I just work here.
Finally, for those of you despairing about how terrible the Pac-10 is right now, take heart; the ACC is still worse. At least the Pac-10 has one good team. Wake Forest staged a field goal kicking contest at Florida State last Saturday, and it was not pretty. Remember when this was supposed to be a power conference? I say the Mountain West should get their automatic bid this year.
OK, how many of these teams do you think will still be ranked at the end of the season? Two? One? Any of them at all? This far down, we're dealing with suspect résumés here, and the imposters will be found out sooner rather than later.
Oh, East Carolina, how quickly your BCS bubble burst! As meteoric as their upset rise was, the Pirates came crashing down to Earth at NC State, a team, I might remind you, that had yet to score a touchdown vs. a I-A opponent this year. It also hurts that West Virginia really does not look very good, and Virginia Tech doesn't yet look like a Top 25 team. I still say ECU is a Top 25 team, but just barely.
Oklahoma State did nothing to warrant falling off our ballot; it's just how the points worked out this week. Oregon, on the other hand...well, we gave them the benefit of the doubt last week, crediting them with a gutty win on the road (albeit against suspect competition) and giving in to Duck assurances that their QB situation was completely under control, and would be just fine. Well, they nearly managed to come back against Boise State with their 5th-string quarterback, so there's something, but I honestly felt like Boise tried to give them the game back and failed. Oregon may yet be a Top 25 team again before the season is through, but right now, you'll have to forgive me if I remain skeptical.