|1.||Alabama||5-0||1||54||at Ole Miss|
|6.||Ohio State||4-1||6||31||v. (24)Wisconsin|
|7.||Virginia Tech||4-1||9||11||v. Boston College|
|8.||Miami||3-1||16||1||v. Florida A&M|
|10.||Oklahoma State||3-1||11||119||at Texas A&M|
|14.||Penn State||4-1||14||72||v. Eastern Illinois|
|17.||Nebraska||3-1||22||84||at (23)Missouri (Oct. 8)|
|18.||Houston||3-1||10||93||at Mississippi State|
|19.||TCU||4-0||20||97||at Air Force|
|21.||Georgia Tech||4-1||25||14||at Florida State|
|22.||South Carolina||4-1||NR||60||v. Kentucky|
|23.||Missouri||4-0||19||111||v. (17) Nebraska (Oct. 8)|
|24.||Wisconsin||5-0||NR||66||at (6)Ohio State|
After 5 weeks, any transitive analysis has gone by the wayside. The subjective nature of voting has to be called upon more heavily as teams are rounding into shape (Oregon) and others are demonstrating a pronounced ability to play poorly (UNC). There are teams with two losses that look much better than a handful of undefeateds (Georgia and Oklahoma).
Explain thyself: Let’s start with the non-AQs of the world. Boise State drops 8 spots after defeating UC-Whatever. Why? Because I think they are lesser of the triumvirate with Houston and TCU. Houston lost inexplicably to UTEP and because of the perception of non-BCS conference teams they have to go away now. Yet, the Cougars possess the best pair of wins of any non-AQ team. That’s just it, the Broncos are incapable of matching those wins even while going undefeated.
As Braves and Birds so eloquently explained in a longer rant about SI’s Stewart Mandel’s confusing shift in philosophy:
The Broncos are like a fantasy football team that has a big total because all of the team’s players put up numbers in the Sunday 1 p.m. time slot. Boise has no remaining opportunities to pick up points, whereas other teams (including TCU) have a number of opportunities to impress.
For those of you counting, that is 6 SEC teams in my ballot - four in the Top 10. Auburn jumps up twelve spots to #9 and South Carolina lands freshly at #22. There is little debating the merits of the top three SEC teams, although only LSU has played a formidable schedule. It gets interesting this weekend with a potentially Tebow-less Gators squad traveling to Earthquake Stadium. The game may have huge implications on championships - conference and mythical - but the teams’ respective rankings may not change greatly depending on the outcome.
Georgia actually moved four of spots after their defeat to LSU. The Hawkeyes were listless but even the worst performances of alleged Top 15 teams should result in poundings of Arkansas State. Penn State was fine against Illinois but they do not have any characteristics that engender confidence.
Finally, what to do about Cincinnati? I am not sure if they have a wonderful communications department but their P.R. machine has convinced voters nationwide that they are Top 10 material while playing the 109th ranked schedule. Every other team with a SOS in that region has genuine credibility (Florida) or have defeated a good team (Oklahoma State). So far, the Bearcats have beaten teams with a combined record of 8-15 and only two of those teams have actually have victories against other FBS schools (Rutgers and Oregon State have 2 each). I will be surprised if they navigate the remainder of their schedule with less than two losses but if they do, they will have earned a spot in the Top 10.
Newbies: South Carolina and Wisconsin make their first appearances of the year. The Badgers season will largely be shaped by their next two games, which could account for a short stay in the grid. SC appears to have more staying power as their schedule is a little more spaced out.
Comments, criticism, adulation and everything go in the comments. The official ballot must be submitted by Monday.