Lots of movement in this week's ballot, especially outside the Top 10. I fully admit that I submitted another controversial ballot, and Yellow Fever had an intriguing vote as well. I don't know if we'll win the BlogPoll's "Mr. Manic Depressive" award, but it would surprise me if we weren't at least in the running.
Here's my 'controversial' position of the week: the Pac-10 is the deepest conference in the nation. They may not have the best team in the country, and they certainly won't be putting anyone in the mythical National Championship Game, but name me one other conference that goes six-deep with such quality teams. Even the 12-team super-conferences don't go that far. Heck, the Big XII is Texas, maybe Oklahoma State (maybe), and basically nothing else. The SEC has Florida and Alabama, but beyond LSU (whose major accomplishment at this point in the season is close losses to Florida and Alabama), there isn't a whole lot of depth. And the ACC? Georgia Tech has kept it going this year, but Virginia Tech and Miami have both stumbled repeatedly, and the Atlantic Division (yes, I had to look that up, the ACC's divisions are WAY too arbitrary) is about to be won by a Clemson team that earlier this year lost to Maryland (whose only other win was an overtime victory over I-AA James Madison).
TCU jumps a couple spots after thoroughly spanking Utah and proving that they are the class of a pretty good Mountain West. Of course, much of that jump is due to Yellow Fever's sudden decision to vote the Horned Frogs #1. Personally, I don't think it's a terrible vote, but I don't think I could write a convincing justification for it myself. Your thoughts?
Did anyone else notice that LSU only managed to beat 3-7 Louisiana Tech by 8 last Saturday? I sure missed that. A top 10 team ought to be able to put away such lesser competition by the time November rolls around. In case you were wondering, that's the same 8-point margin that LSU managed to escape 3-7 Washington by, and one point more than their 7-point victory over 4-6 Mississippi State (who, unlike Maryland, at least managed to defeat Middle Tennessee State). Meanwhile, I think Oregon benefits when Stanford demonstrates that their pasting of the Ducks was no fluke, following that performance by handing Pete Carroll his worst loss in his tenure for the second time in three weeks.
Well, well, 'Furd, where have you been all season? It's been a while since this team lost at Wake Forest, scoring just 17 points in the process. The Cardinal scored just 24 in beating UCLA three weeks later, and haven't put up fewer than four touchdowns in a game since then. Who else is ready for the Big Game?
Elsewhere, Ohio State is officially better than Iowa, but only just, and Oklahoma State rises for no reason that I can fathom. Texas Tech is a nice win, I guess, but their wins over the 6-4 Red Raiders and 6-4 Georgia are their best on the season. They got pounded by Texas, lost to Houston (who just lost at Central Florida -- not Florida, or South Florida, but Central Florida), and have yet to play a 6-4, Bradford-less Oklahoma. Heck, the Cowboys have even managed to miss the two "best" (can we really use the word "best" in this context) teams in the Big XII North, Nebraska and Kansas State. Personally, I like Oregon State's résumé (wins over 7-3 Stanford and 7-3 Cal, close losses to 7-3 USC and 10-0 Cincinnati) better, and I most certainly like the Cardinals' record better..
I don't drop USC that far for losing to Stanford, instead moving the Cardinal up above them. Penn State's best win is still over Northwestern, and Virginia Tech must still be riding the wave of beating Nebraska and Miami (neither of whom appear in our ballot this week) back in September, because their four wins since then consist of an okay Boston College squad, Duke, East Carolina, and and abhorrently bad Maryland team. Perhaps Utah should fall farther, but who below them deserves to move up? Surely not Wisconsin (best win: 6-5 Michigan State, or 6-4 Fresno State in overtime?).
|Last week's ballot|
Here it is: I not only voted for Cal this week, I slotted them in at #17. Some skepticism (sanity?) on the part of Avinash and Yellow Fever dumps them down to #23, but I still say all six Pac-10 teams deserve to be ranked right now. Surely Arizona and Cal are at least as impressive as Clemson or Houston, don't you think?
Dropped Out: Miami (Florida) (#9), Navy (#25).
It's not often a team drops from the Top 10 to completely out of our ballot in November, but I suppose losing to North Carolina will do that. I actually still voted for the 'Canes this week; although the ACC's overall profile isn't great, I still think Miami is pretty comparable to Virginia Tech at this point, to say nothing of North Carolina and Boston College.
8-3 Navy did everything they could in defeating Delaware last week, but wins by Cal and Clemson were definitely more impressive, which is why the Midshipmen got passed up. With games at Hawaii and Army coming up, the Middies have a very good shot at a 10-win season this year.