Before we get to this week’s poll, let me clarify for any newcomers via CBSville: this is how I vote.
These teams are ranked based on how good I believe them to be at this moment, not two weeks ago, and not how I think they will finish. The test is whether I believe a team would defeat the team immediately ahead of them on a neutral field this weekend. Obviously, I take into account the action that previously transpired this football calendar but there are no transitive properties in college football so subjective judgments often the rule of the day.
Also, this sounds apparent, but someone has to be ranked in each spot. There are no ties. I know there are vagaries that make it difficult to determine who is truly better than whom, but I try to make decisions without bias (as best anyone can).
Finally, the ranking are always subject to change. Teams may jump five or ten spots in one week, or may drop even when they win. Likewise, teams may rise when they lose. I take injuries and suspensions into consideration, so a team may and lose its best player (see Oregon 2007) and drop regardless of result. This poll will not rank teams simply based on a previous week’s ranking.
So, without further ado:
Buckeyes back?: I know many of you are probably wondering how the Buckeyes could still be ranked sub top-15 after the carnage that was Week 5. First, I believe they are improving and with Beanie back they are a markedly better squad. But they still do not play to their strengths and defense is only good, not great. Sure, they looked good against Minnesota but that was the third spread offense they have faced in four games. They should look good by this point. When I watch elite defenses, however, I see bone-jarring hits and a palpable intimidation absent from the Silver Bullets. I am not saying they cannot get there, but they are certainly not residing there now.
How the mighty have fallen: There was an unprecedented collapse of Top 10 teams not seen since, well … Week 12 last year. You may have noticed that the victims did not fall in mechanic way they did in the AP or Coaches Polls.
Of the losers, Florida maintains the highest rank because their blemish is the least egregious, losing to a team that, quite frankly, could be 5-0, and has two close loses to ranked opponents. Southern Cal plays to the opposing jersey and lost to an Oregon State team that had little pulse. Still, I watched them dominate Ohio State in a fashion commensurate with a more elevated rank. Georgia pays a bit of a price because it was owned, at home, while using every motivational ploy in the book. Can they ever wear the black jerseys again? Finally, Wisconsin is lucky to still be residing in the cozy confines of my ballot. I had to double check to make sure there was not a little known clause in the BlogPoll by-laws prohibiting a team from being ranked after losing to a bad team who turned the ball over 5 times in the first half! Ick.
The rest of the rest: Oklahoma State halved its ranking this week on the back of a wicked offense. In case you missed it, they defeated Troy 55-26 last weekend. As Ohio State fans, we have no choice but to employ the “jar” theory; we loosened them up for them…I have no idea why I ranked Oregon ahead of Boise State, the team that defeated them two weeks ago. I need to fix that…Michigan State makes their debut this week at #15 and it is probably a week too late. Javon Ringer should be ranked all by himself at this point.