This week's Top 25:
California Golden Blogs Top 25 - Week 8
|Mississippi State Bulldogs
|Florida State Seminoles
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish
|TCU Horned Frogs
|Michigan State Spartans
|Alabama Crimson Tide
|Kansas State Wildcats
|East Carolina Pirates
|Marshall Thundering Herd
|Ohio State Buckeyes
|Arizona State Sun Devils
|Oklahoma State Cowboys
|Minnesota Golden Gophers
Next we have East Carolina and Oklahoma, who had decent-ish wins. Oklahoma was less than dominant against Texas, so I didn't give them a ton of credit, but I guess anything can happen in a rivalry game. K-State and Utah were on byes this week. Marshall floated up slightly after another expected blowout win. I'm still the only one with Kentucky ranked, and they play LSU next week, so we'll see if they're for real. If they win in Death Valley, I'm sure you guys will have them ranked too. Right now their only loss was in triple overtime on the road at Florida, which isn't that bad a loss.
Stanford and USC show up, right behind a no-longer undefeated Arizona in the next tier. Stanford's defense is too impressive for me not to rank them. Their offense looked able to do just enough against Washington State to have a comfortable win, but that defense is almost otherworldly, which makes me really annoyed. I have no idea whether USC and Oklahoma State are actually any good, nor Washington or Clemson for that matter. I was really having a tough time finding teams to rank toward the bottom of my poll this week. Iowa? Nebraska? No thanks. Minnesota's resume is good enough I suppose.
FiatLux: I continually go back to how preseason perceptions bake this stuff in. I've got both Miss State and Ole Miss super high based on their impressive wins, but you do have to ask yourself, just how impressive are the wins. Particularly in the case of Miss State where two of the teams they have beaten were clearly over ranked (aTm and LSU).
I've got Oregon above Michigan State because of the head to head AND because I think Oregon has better other wins.
atomsareenough: That's a fair question, but then I don't think we had either Mississippi State or Mississippi ranked pre-season, so they've at least moved up the ladder by winning games against credible opponents.
Nick Kranz: My top 5 are obviously the 5 undefeated major conference/Notre Dame teams, roughly ranked by my opinion of their strength of schedule.
Why do I have both Mississippi teams at 1 and 2? Because the seven teams in the SEC West still have not lost a game against anybody outside of the SEC West. If and until that happens, undefeated/one loss teams from that half of the SEC will continue to strongly, strongly get the benefit of the doubt. Georgia at Arkansas next week will be interesting for that very reason.
For every single 1 loss team, I wrote down a chart on paper listing their best win and their one loss, and judged teams accordingly. TCU ranked very highly by that measure, because their win came against Oklahoma and their one loss was a very close loss on the road to Baylor. Ohio State, for example, fared more poorly because their best win is a road win over Maryland and their loss was at home to 2 loss Virginia Tech. Oklahoma St. and Kansas St. also fare poorly because their best wins are at home over Texas Tech. At least they have impressive losses to keep them in the poll, for now.
Marshall, as always, is tough to deal with. A bunch of blowout wins, with a win over Middle Tennessee as the best of the bunch. At yet that win over MTSU might end up being the toughest game Marshall will face in an absurdly bad Conference USA. Only a season ending trip to UAB might trip up the Thundering Herd. They just simply don't have the schedule strength to climb higher than 20 or so.
Berkelium97: I'm having an easier and easier time each week determining who gets placed in the ballot. The exact order is a little tougher, but this thing is much easier to fill out than it was a few weeks ago.
With three consecutive wins over top SEC West foes, Mississippi State easily earns first in my ballot.
Although one could make a compelling argument that Baylor's 61-58 win over TCU is an embarrassment and one that will make the Big 12 a national laughingstock, I rewarded Baylor with the number 3 position. I'm surprised, however. Before the game I though TCU would win this one.
I'm not quite sure what to do with Oregon. Jake Fisher's return helped key a blowout win over a suspect UCLA team, but I'm still not sufficiently convinced that Helfrich can bring them into the playoffs. I would not be surprised if they suffer another upset or two this season.
The return of Taylor Kelly to practice bodes well for ASU and I feel more comfortable ranking them this week.
atomsareenough: Interestingly, after all our discussion of them the past few weeks, I seem to have dinged Baylor more than the rest of you guys did. They played a really good TCU team, and Baylor's offense is clearly legit, so I didn't drop them that far, but even though the Bears' defense was really strong in the 4th quarter, which allowed them to come back, and even though I think TCU's a very credible opponent, I guess I had thought Baylor's defense was better than that, so that caused them to drop a little bit for me. Still though, they won, so I have them at #6 above TCU at #10.
FiatLux: Looks like we're all pretty consistent with Oregon over Michigan State, which is good to see.
It really is hard to argue with Miss State at #1 because I actually think if we had NO weighting what so ever going into the season, they in fact have the best resume.
atomsareenough: How about that. It turns out that the more data we get, the more our assessments start to merge. Still not sure how Washington made it all the way up to #12 on your ballot, or why your love affair with UCLA continues unabated, but I'm sure it'll shake itself out soon.
Other odds and ends: Kentucky actually tied with Minnesota for #25, but as I mentioned earlier, that was entirely because I have them up at #18; nobody else had them ranked. Minnesota was on 3 ballots instead of just mine, and I didn't want 26 teams, so I left out Kentucky for now. Perhaps we'll see them next week!
FiatLux and I were the only ones who ranked Washington - apparently Nick and Berkelium are not willing to give the Huskies too much credit for Cal shooting themselves in the foot last week.
There's a lot of disagreement over Marshall and East Carolina, the only non-power conference schools (minus Notre Dame) on the ballot, but other than that, there was a lot of agreement this week. Probably our most cohesive poll yet.
Also, I unfortunately wasn't able to get to it this week, but hopefully by next week I'll put together a fancy new presentation of the poll using some data visualization software. SO EXCITING!
As always, full ballot below: