|2.||Texas||7-0||2||52||at (22) Oklahoma State|
|4.||USC||6-1||4||12||at (8) Oregon|
|6.||Georgia Tech||7-1||8||11||at Vanderbilt|
|7.||Oregon||6-1||9||10||v. (4) USC|
|8.||Virginia Tech||5-2||10||4||v. North Carolina (Oct. 29)|
|9.||Oklahoma||4-3||7||43||v. Kansas State|
|13.||Penn State||7-1||13||79||at Northwestern|
|14.||Boise State||7-0||20||54||v. San Jose State|
|15.||Miami||5-2||5||13||at Wake Forest|
|16.||Houston||6-1||14||97||v. Southern Mississippi|
|17.||Oklahoma State||6-1||21||100||v. (2) Texas|
|18.||Notre Dame||5-2||23||17||v. Washington State|
|19.||South Carolina||6-2||18||36||at Tennessee|
|20.||Ohio State||5-2||24||46||v. New Mexico State|
|23.||Ole Miss||5-2||NR||65||at Auburn|
|25.||West Virginia||6-1||NR||77||at South Florida (Oct. 30)|
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
My top 10 this week is comprised of nine of the same 10 teams as last week, with Miami disappearing and Cincinnati making an entrance.
At several times yesterday, however, that possibility appeared to be in serious jeopardy. Alabama needed divine intervention in the shape of Mt. Cody to beat the visiting Vols. Florida and USC had moments of trepidation.
And, then, there is Iowa. The Hawkeyes needed something much more powerful (and predictable) to stay undefeated: the Sparty anti-clutch.
Speaking of things changing and staying the same: The coaches, players, and opponents can change all they want in East Lansing, but there is always one constant, Michigan State’s ability to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.
TCU and Boise State get a bit of a bump this week, and rightfully so. Their previous rankings have surely seemed low to anyone reading this blog, but placing either team inside the top 10 is a little hard for me to stomach.
If TCU wins out—meaning an undefeated season with wins over Clemson, BYU on the road, and Utah—they will earn a place in the top 10. Maybe. No promises. Same goes for BSU.
This is the bad kind of award, right? I took a bit of a ribbing a few weeks ago in Brian’s weekly treatise other’s rankings of others, for a couple of reasons. But before I get to that, let me say that this is simply a response and not a retaliation. I have plenty of respect for Brian and his extremely comprehensive blog and without him I would not have the opportunity to vote every week. So, consider this my reply brief.
For a little while, I was the only voter to place Oregon ahead of Boise State, a team who—say it unison—“beat them the opening week!” Blah, blah, blah. If voters were not able to rank one team ahead of a team that defeated them, the poll would stop making sense after the midway point of the season.
Simply put, I believe Oregon is a better team than Boise State right now, and would beat Boise State if they played this weekend. I don’t think that is such a big deal.
But he had a real problem with my placement of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, relative to one another, for which I was awarded Week Six’s Mr. Bold:
"This week the top spot goes to Buckeye Commentary , forcing me to remember my vow not to taunt Ohio State fans for as long as they can put a FOR SALE sign at Michigan Stadium. This is extremely difficult when 3-2 Oklahoma finds itself the No. 8 team in the country, up eight, and previously No. 10 Oklahoma State falls 13 places. Oklahoma beat Baylor by a lot. Oklahoma State squeezed by A&M. Did Buckeye Commentary confuse the two? Don’t make fun. Be respectful. Don’t make fun. Yes. Yes, it appears so. Why would you have either team in the top ten? I don’t know. Sir."
Well, if Brian did not like that ballot he is certainly going to hate my new—dare we say, bolder—one. OU is hanging out at No. 9 while the Cowboys are still partying in the late teens.
Why do I have it that way? Because my ballot is not a meritocracy and my vote does not matter. The Coaches and Harris polls play a major role in selecting the teams that play for the MNC.
Essentially, their ballot is always a referendum on who deserves to play for the MNC, not a listing of the two best teams at that point in the season. And, if my ballot carried that weight, I might alter my voting style. It doesn’t, and I don’t have to.
The Sooners’ three losses are by a combined five points. If you believe in Texas, then you need to believe in Oklahoma, who played the Longhorns toe-to-toe with their ersatz quarterback.
It was virtually the exact same outcome against Miami (the good version). I watched those games and thought OU looked like a top 10 team. It seems most folks disagree. And, while we are on the topic, why is OU ahead of Miami?
Because the most sacred tenet of my voting philosophy is to rank the teams based on how they are performing at the moment (I ask myself who would win on a neutral field this Saturday) and the Hurricanes cannot be trusted week to week.
They were great against OU and GT, but their defense took a nap for 60 against Clemson. That loss eroded some trust for me, while OU’s loss to Texas did not. But I digress.
Oklahoma State has been playing an easy schedule without much to show for it. The opening week show against Georgia was nice, but suspensions and injuries have robbed the offense of any rhythm and reduced the once feared passing game to the likes of Nebraska, Indiana, and Stanford.
Finally, it should be noted that any perceived chasm between spot No. 10 and No. 20 is not very large in my world. The parity-flavored icing is pretty thick on this cake, and if I could group the teams in tiers, I would. But the laws of the Blog Poll universe demand that I put one team next to each number.
So, yeah, Oklahoma is still in the top 10 with three losses and eight spaces in front of their in-state rival, but that does not mean I would expect that game to be a blowout this weekend. On the contrary, I would expect a Sooner victory by a TD or so, with an over/under of about 43.
There are some new faces in the poll this week: Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Utah are making their first appearances. Let’s see how long that lasts.
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