Well, we've now played two weeks of football, so we should know twice as much about which teams are good as we did last week. Which still isn't much, frankly. But it's a start.
Is USC the best team in the country? I don't know. I certainly have my doubts. But I do know that the Trojans have the best win so far this year, and for now, that gets them the top spot in our poll.
But what about Florida? Since the Gators still haven't played anyone with a pulse (and hosting Tennessee next week isn't going to change that), we not only remain skeptical, but we punish them (a bit) for an embarrassingly weak opening slate for a defending national champion. Texas is in pretty much the same boat; yes, they did play on the road, but Wyoming was still widely picked to finish last in the Mountain West, hardly worthy competition for the 2009 Fiesta Bowl Champions.
Oklahoma State takes a tumble (the SI cover curse strikes again!), and everyone else gets to move up. Cincinnati followed up a convincing beating of Rutgers by hanging 70 on Southeast Missouri State. Impressive, though I'm skeptical that this warrants a place in our Top 10. I blame Avi for this, and you can too.
As Okie State falls, Houston rises up to (almost) take its place. It's a great win for the Cougars, but its value 6-8 weeks from now will depend on the Cowboys putting the loss behind them and competing in the Big XII South. Ohio State doesn't fall much after losing to a Top 5 team, while Michigan debuts in the Top 15 of our poll after taking down Notre Dame. On reflection, this seems a bit high, but I don't particularly feel like a lot of teams below them have better wins or deserve to be above them (UCLA, for example, beat Tennessee, but it's pretty obvious that, right now, Notre Dame is better than the Vols).
Georgia Tech wins a thriller Thursday night over conference rival Clemson and moves up two spots. This, honestly, disappoints me. I thought the triple option was ineffective most of the night, Tech's defense was surprisingly porous, and they were very lucky to win that game. I didn't include them at all in my Top 25, but Avinash and Yellow Fever overruled me. I can't say why Virginia Tech fell (probably due to some random shuffling), but Miami (FL) definitely took a hit after their only win (Florida State) nearly was upset at home by I-AA Jacksonville State.
|Last week's ballot|
The last 5 are always pretty dicey. Utah doesn't look so hot after struggling with a San Jose State team that USC blasted just the week before. Okie State is lucky to remain in the poll (how much is that Georgia win worth, really?), and North Carolina is lucky to still be undefeated, needing a safety (holding in the end zone -- ugh) to complete a 12-10 comeback victory. Color me unimpressed. Oregon State needed a last-second field goal to win at UNLV, but simply winning on the road in September is huge for them. This week's Mr. Irrelevant is Kansas; the Jayhawks are 2-0 and have accomplished basically nothing. We'll probably pick someone else next week.
Dropped Out: Notre Dame (#16), Georgia (#20), Florida State (#21), Baylor (#24), Navy (#25).
Notre Dame lost and Florida State nearly did so against lower-division competition, both justifying their exit from the poll. Georgia suffers after Oklahoma State gagged vs. Houston, and Baylor and Navy simply get passed over by other teams with more impressive résumés. No big deal; they'll be back if they keep winning.
Finally, as a measure of full disclosure, here's all three of our individual ballots:
|1. USC||1. USC||1. USC|
|2. BYU||2. BYU||2. Florida|
|3. Alabama||3. Alabama||3. Alabama|
|4. Florida||4. Boise State||4. Texas|
|5. Texas||5. Cincinnati||5. California|
|6. Penn State||6. Houston||6. BYU|
|7. California||7. Florida||7. Mississippi|
|8. Ohio State||8. Texas||8. Boise State|
|9. Oklahoma||9. LSU||9. LSU|
|10. Mississippi||10. UCLA||10. Penn State|
|11. Virginia Tech||11. Michigan||11. Georgia Tech|
|12. Boise State||12. Cal||12. Houston|
|13. Cincinnati||13. Penn State||13. Oklahoma|
|14. TCU||14. Georgia Tech||14. Oklahoma State|
|15. LSU||15. North Carolina||15. Cincinnati|
|16. Utah||16. Ohio State||16. Michigan|
|17. Michigan||17. Miami (FL)||17. Miami|
|18. UCLA||18. Utah||18. TCU|
|19. Miami (FL)||19. Oregon State||19. Ohio State|
|20. Houston||20. Virginia Tech||20. Virginia Tech|
|21. Oklahoma State||21. Ole Miss||21. UCLA|
|22. Nebraska||22. TCU||22. Utah|
|23. Kansas||23. Oklahoma||23. Kansas|
|24. Texas Tech||24. Oklahoma State||24. North Carolina|
|25. Oregon State||25. Georgia||25. West Virginia|