Another week, another Top 25. For those interested, here's the conference representation counts:
SEC - 6
Big 10 - 5
Pac-10 - 4
ACC - 3
Big XII - 2
Mountain West - 2
WAC - 2
Big East - 1
After the jump, we'll have opinions/justifications for this ballot. Feel free to chime in and disagree!
The biggest jump for me this week is, unfortunately, Stanfurd. Going on the road and soundly defeating the Irish doesn't impress me that much anymore, but their 35-0 shutout of UCLA in the Rose Bowl looks all the more impressive after the Bruins go to Austin and beat the Longhorns by nearly as many points (22) as they had passing yards (26).
Perhaps Wisconsin deserves more credit than I gave them last week for needing a blocked extra point to survive ASU's upset big; the Sun Devils have proved more feisty than I gave them credit for, giving Oregon all it wanted before dooming themselves with turnovers.
Alabama is still #1, surviving on the road vs. a good Arkansas team, but they will be probably be tested again vs. a Florida team that I still have no feel for how good they actually are.
Nevada takes out BYU (remember when we thought the Cougars were good? they're now 1-3), and given the state of the rest of the WAC, I fully expect the Wolfpack to meet Boise State on November 26th with both teams undefeated.
* Oregon, TCU, Nebraska, Oklahoma all had mediocre to poor showings, but I can’t seem to find anyone else to move ahead of them. I did drop Oklahoma a few spots because their only impressive win has been over Florida State (which was quite impressive). Otherwise, they’ve barely shown any vital signs.
* Boise State won’t stay at 3 for long, but for now they have two very strong wins (but they’ll be the only strong wins this season until they play Nevada).
* Texas is gone. No one embarrasses themselves like that against UCLA and still stays in the poll.
* Stanford's defense is going to be exposed next week against Oregon.
* I can’t find much reason to drop Arkansas despite their narrow loss to ‘Bama.
* It pains me greatly to have Auburn at 15. It wouldn’t be surprised if they have a painful second half of the season.
* Florida broke into the top-15 after finally showing that they can properly snap the ball.
* USC still isn’t in the poll. They’ve yet to show signs of being a sliver of the team they were under Pete Carroll. I could see them losing 5 of their next 7.
-Boise St., and to a lesser extent, TCU, have their fates tied to Oregon St. They will both drop quickly unless the Beavers turn their season around.
-I struggled mightily to rank Auburn, Oklahoma and LSU. All three are undefeated with lots of close wins against average opposition. All three could easily be 2-2 right now, but the opponents they each have beaten are still generally stronger than most teams.
-I hate my ballot after #20. None of those teams (except MAYBE Kansas St., if you think UCLA is for real) have a valuable win. They all sneak in on the basis of a best wins/least bad losses amongst a host of teams with paper thin resumes.
-I think you could easily make a sensible justification for ranking Oregon, Arizona and Stanford in just about any order you please. Stanford's schedule has been the weakest, but they also don't have any close games like Oregon and Arizona have had. I gave Oregon the nod essentially for style points.
-Utah drops because suddenly beating Pitt at home in overtime doesn't look nearly as impressive.
I've probably got USC too low. Might have bumped Stanford up too high. Other than I don't think the rest of it should be terribly controversial. I dropped Penn State on the basis of their lackluster performance against Temple, and Texas for obvious reasons.