Here's the final rankings for Week 4:
California Golden Blogs Top 25 - Week 4
|1||Ole Miss Rebels||--|
|T-3||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||1|
|5||Ohio State Buckeyes||1|
|6||TCU Horned Frogs||--|
|8||Michigan State Spartans||5|
|9||Texas A&M Aggies||1|
|13||Alabama Crimson Tide||1|
|14||California Golden Bears||4|
|16||Florida State Seminoles||3|
|17||Oklahoma State Cowboys||7|
|22||Texas Tech Red Raiders||2|
|23||Mississippi State Bulldogs||NEW|
Others receiving votes: Florida Gators, Miami (FL) Hurricanes, Iowa Hawkeyes, West Virginia Mountaineers, NC State Wolfpack, , Memphis Tigers, Toledo Rockets, Boise State Broncos, Duke Blue Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Utah shoots to the top of my ballot, as much due to their destruction of Oregon as due to Michigan's recovery after a season-opening loss. I declined to rank both Oregon and Arizona last week, which means I didn't need to make any changes for this week. I don't feel strongly about many of the relative rankings so far, so after the top 10-15 the ordering isn't very exact. Now that we have 4 weeks under our belt, even though there are still more than 25 undefeated teams, I finally felt like it was time to start considering one-loss teams like Stanford, Alabama, Michigan and Texas Tech, as they've done more so far this season that teams that have run over a very weak early schedule.
So, as seems to be the case every week, four teams have dropped out of my top 25, replaced by four different teams. Oregon drops out after an embarrassing performance at home against Utah; Georgia Tech drops out after its second consecutive loss; Missouri is out after losing to Kentucky; and Arizona is finally out of the top 25 because of the beating they took from UCLA. Replacing those teams are Florida, who moved to 4-0 with a crazy comeback victory against Tennessee; Stanford moves into the top 25 after another victory; USC jumps back in for destroying Arizona State; and Mississippi State moves back into the top 25 after beating Auburn. Yes, Auburn does not look very good, but the Bulldogs only loss is to a really strong LSU team. Not a ton of change as far as positioning on my rankings other than Utah moving up 10 spots from 18 to 8, and Michigan State dropping from 5 to 9 since their Oregon win just does not look overly impressive at the moment.
I'm sorry... do you seriously have Utah EIGHTH (that's a hard word to spell...) behind Baylor, Ohio State et al?
Would Utah beat TCU if they played tomorrow? Probably, though I wouldn't put it past Trevone Boykin to pull a rabbit out of his hat and bail out their crippled by injury defense. At the same time, I'm not going to penalize TCU by dropping them for finding ways to win despite losing five or six defensive starters. Ohio State hasn't been super impressive so far ... but I think part of that is their quarterback carousel. If Meyer would just stick with J.T. Barrett then they're still the best team in the nation. Baylor's offense is ridiculous and I think a game between them and Utah would be awesome. Ole Miss had the best win of the season in my opinion. Their win is better than Utah's, to me anyways, because as well as Utah played, a good football team does not get whipped like THAT at home. If Utah did this to last season's Oregon then I'd put them number one, but it was against THIS Oregon which ranked at the bottom of the Pac-12 in nearly every defensive category BEFORE the Utah game. There are serious problems in Eugene, which is why I have a Utah where they are. For now, I have them eighth. There's definitely room for aggressive upward expansion if they keep winning.
Hmmm. You raise an interesting issue... are you ranking on hypothetical match-ups? I'm doing strictly resume. After four games, I just don't think anyone can say "Baylor has done better than Utah" which is what i think we should be ranking - how have the teams done. This again, goes back to my issue with baked in bias as a result of preseason rankings. What's the point of playing the games if we're just going to make excuses for why we rank someone somewhere?
As far as Utah's win vis-a-vis Ole Miss's win, Alabama was getting whipped like that... yeah they made a game of it, but the game wasn't nearly as close as the final score would indicate. Of course this point both helps your argument about Ole Miss (it was a GOOD win) while reinforcing my point about Utah (it was a REALLY GOOD win) so it gets us nowhere. ;-)
Well, fiat, there's a tradeoff, right? To me, the point of a top 25 is to try and identify the 25 best teams in the country. The farther along you go in the season, the more a team's resume will tell you. Early on in the season, with very few data points, there isn't much of a "resume" to go on; one game here or there isn't necessarily going to tell you that much, especially with varying and difficult to determine opponent quality, so it makes sense to factor in things like past performance and trajectory, returning talent, etc... I totally reject your contention about baked-in biases though; as we see more games each week, those results far, far outweigh any effect that preseason opinions might have. For example, I truly thought Georgia Tech was going to be elite entering this season, but clearly they're having problems, so I didn't even rank them this week, and it's only week 4. I also had teams like Arkansas and Cincinnati ranked preseason, but it was apparent pretty quickly that my belief in those teams was mistaken. But then you also had Arkansas, and even had Rutgers ranked after Week 1 using your results-based methodology, and then the Razorbacks lost to Toledo and the Scarlet Knights went out and lost to Wazzu and got hammered by Penn State. So how is your approach any better than my approach?
That's what I try to do with the top 25. A mix of which teams I think are the best based on what they've actually done and what I think they are capable of doing. At this point in the season, I don't think there's much to separate the top 10 teams. All of them are good teams, which is why I don't think you can say with 100 percent certainty that Utah would beat Baylor. The Utes played at what is likely the peak of their abilities against an Oregon team that hasn't looked this weak in more than a decade. Which is why I'm not going to vault them to the top of the rankings when I don't think they have the best team. They have a good team, just like the rest of the teams in my top 10, but they also have bigger tests than Oregon to come. All of the top teams still have tough games on their schedule, which is when the picture will become clearer as to which teams are truly the very best. Until then, the top 25 rankings are just guess work, projections and the eye test.
Well in a way you're actually proving my point because you do all that "factoring" and then the teams are bad... sooooo, that's exactly what I was saying... I've been saying all along that the first few weeks are meaningless which is why I haven't spent a lot of time on it. Where it DOES show is with mpeters10 who inexplicably, and I really mean that, still has Baylor 4th. If he didn't start out with Baylor ranked so high, no way he would have Baylor 4th... but he did, so they are... and that happens with pollsters over and over. But again, I think he's polling something else, this "would team x beat team y" which i honestly don't think is what the poll should be. The poll should be who has done the best this season, IMHO.
So there you have it. This has been another episode of "You're wrong... No, YOU'RE wrong", with the CGB Top-25 Pollsters! As always, I'm your host, atomsareenough. Have a good week.
Full ballots below: