Here is this week's Top 25:
California Golden Blogs Top 25 - Week 9
|TCU Horned Frogs
|Ohio State Buckeyes
|Michigan State Spartans
|Oklahoma State Cowboys
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish
|Alabama Crimson Tide
|Florida State Seminoles
|North Carolina Tar Heels
|Ole Miss Rebels
|Mississippi State Bulldogs
My ballot didn't change much from last week to this week. I didn't drop Duke out of the top 25, because to my mind they actually won that game against Miami (FL). Temple clings onto a spot with a close loss to Notre Dame. North Carolina beat Pittsburgh and so I replaced the Panthers with the Tar Heels. I moved a few teams up a bit, like TCU, Oklahoma State, Houston, and Wisconsin. Otherwise, a lot of the top teams had bye weeks, and there wasn't a lot of movement.
The poll is less and less fun each week because the top teams have extremely backloaded schedules this year. Look at this past week: we had a whopping one game between ranked teams (Notre Dame at Temple). Baylor, Iowa, TCU, Ohio State, and Oklahoma State are undefeated but they still haven't played anyone noteworthy.
I 100% agree with fiat that it's utter nonsense that Alabama is in the playoff committee's top four. They haven't even beaten a top-25 team. Their recent narrow victory over a bad Tennessee team certainly didn't inspire much confidence. I'll change my tune if they beat LSU this weekend, but I still may not include them in the top four.
So, Alabama is in the playoff committee's top 4. Perplexing. For what it's worth, if I were power ranking, I might have Alabama in my top 4. I think they're probably one of the four best teams in the country. But they have a loss, and they don't have any one particularly impressive win. Sure, wins over Wisconsin and Texas A&M are solid, but they're not any better than wins notched by a variety of other 1 loss teams like Florida, Stanford, or Utah. I don't think Bama being in the top 4 matters much at the moment because there's so much left to sort out, but it was a good way to grab attention.
I'm not really sure what to do with AAC teams. It doesn't help that the AAC schedule is so backloaded as well, but when you look at resumes like Memphis and Houston, you see maybe 1 or 2 decent wins and . . . a schedule that any half decent Power 5 team would trounce. I'm rewarding them in my poll for now, but I have a sneaky suspicion that there isn't much there to back it up in terms of on field results.
Also, for whatever it's worth (exactly nothing!) Duke stays in my poll, and I'll be treating the Miami game at least as if it didn't happen, and maybe even as a win.
A pet peeve of mine (for anyone keeping track!)
"Duke stays in my poll, and I'll be treating the Miami game at least as if it didn't happen, and maybe even as a win."
Come on, like there were no calls in the game that helped Duke out. I guess if it was our coach I'd want him to do, I think... but their coach came off as a totally entitled whiner. Duke lost. Miami is AWFUL. You should be knocking them out of your poll that it was even close and THEY needed a last second score to "win" the game, had they won.
Well, I certainly wouldn't argue that Cutcliffe was whiny about the whole incident, but if I were punishing teams in my poll for having whiny coaches then Baylor, Michigan and Northwestern would all be unranked (if only). But Duke lost only in the most technical sense of the word. If the refs call that play correctly, nobody is paying the least bit attention, Duke is 7-1, and they are probably ranked in every single one of our ballots. Last week, Duke received votes at 20, 23, 24, 24, 22, and 21. Are we saying that one bull moose ref screw up is enough to take a team from the top 20 to unranked?
And I do recognize that the game was close enough to basically be a coin flip, so I did dock Duke a bit for that. But we're talking about the end of the ballot, when every team has pretty significant flaws. It's either Duke or a 2 loss team like Mississippi St or Wisconsin. I suppose we could segue this into a deeper discussion of margin of victory and how much we want to factor it in to differentiate between teams.
In all honestly, Duke was only in my previous ballot because I needed to include 25 teams. They play a lousy non conference schedule, lose to the only decent team, and need 4 - FOUR - OTs to beat an at best mediocre VaTech.
Also, it's Duke.
Full ballots below: