I hope everyone had as happy a Labor Day weekend as I did; although I did some relatively minor grousing about Saturday’s game between the hedges (the gist of which was to highlight the slim distinction between mere excellence and sheer perfection), I had a great time in Sanford Stadium on Saturday and enjoyed thoroughly the first full weekend of football action.
Now it is time to revise my preseason top 25 to reflect the present reality. I have already set forth a preliminary top 18 and, although I am a firm believer in resume ranking, I nevertheless intend to phase in gradually the resume ranking approach, as we simply have too little available data after each team has played only one game (if that).
In other words, at this point, I started with the final version of my preseason ballot and tweaked it according to the first weekend’s outcomes. If I was given no particular reason to move a team up or down, I left it more or less alone. If, however, a team was less dominant than anticipated, I dropped it down a notch or two; I did this across the board, as Georgia, Missouri, Auburn, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas Tech all got dinged.
Of these, only the Tar Heels dropped out altogether, however. This is because the A.C.C. stinks and no team from the league made my top 25. When the best performance turned in by a team in your conference is a win over Baylor, Stanford and Vanderbilt are closer to earning a top 25 ranking than you.
Is this presumptuous of me? Sure it is, but we’re all working almost entirely on presumption at this point, anyway. Accordingly, the adjustments to my BlogPoll ballot were incremental only, although I have my eye on teams like Utah, which is No. 20 with a bullet right now. While the Utes suffered from the stigma of beating what is apt to be a mediocre (or worse) Michigan team, they may well be better than the next three or four teams ranked above them and, when more sweeping changes are made next week, they very well may move up a notch or two.
I mention that because I wouldn’t want anyone to think I had failed to give the non-B.C.S. conferences their due; nothing could be farther from the truth. Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about the extent to which I have shown the mid-majors some love, inasmuch as I told you a month ago that Fresno State would beat Rutgers convincingly, I called Louisiana Tech’s victory over Mississippi State, and I saw both Utah’s win over Michigan and East Carolina’s triumph over Virginia Tech coming.
But enough with patting myself on the back. Here is my top 25:
What I Watched: On Thursday night, I suffered through the affront to college football that was N.C. State-South Carolina before flipping over to watch the remainder of Oregon State-Stanford. On Friday night, I fought back the urge to vomit several times while sitting through the travesty that was Rice-Southern Methodist while keeping Army-Temple on the flipback. On Saturday, I attended the Georgia-Georgia Southern game with my son, who wanted to leave early, so I listened to part of the game on the radio. When we got home, I watched the first half of Southern California-Virginia, the last part of Michigan-Utah, the entirety of Alabama-Clemson, and the fourth quarter of Illinois-Missouri. On Sunday, I endured the crime against sport which was the Kentucky-Louisville game before taking in the second half of Colorado-Colorado State. On Monday, I caught bits and pieces of Fresno State-Rutgers before settling in for Tennessee-U.C.L.A. Today, I will rest go back to work and wonder where the weekend went.
Teams Receiving Consideration: Brigham Young and Oklahoma State.
Teams Not Receiving Consideration: Kentucky (of whom Chris Low’s characterization was charitable to the point of absurdity: the Wildcats didn’t "force" five turnovers; the Cardinals just flat coughed it up), South Carolina, or the Atlantic Coast Conference as a whole. Seriously, if Boston College, Miami (Florida), and Virginia Tech went back to the Big East and said they had their fingers crossed when they made the deal, do you think the more legitimate B.C.S. league would let them back in at this point?
Conference Homerism Watch: Yes, I have five S.E.C. teams ranked in the top 13, but Hawkeye State has five in the top eleven, so I’m not alone. Besides, did you read what I wrote about Kentucky and South Carolina? No false accusations of extreme S.E.C. homerism, please.
Ancillary Observation from the Tennessee-U.C.L.A. Game: In extreme close-up, Norm Chow looks like a "Star Trek" villain. I’m talking about the original series, of course, not one of the later incarnations. It’s not at all difficult to imagine Coach Chow’s visage, lit from below, on the Enterprise view screen as he trades barbs with a young William Shatner ere the exchange of phaser fire and photon torpedo barrages commences.
There is, as always, room for reasonable disagreement, so, by all means, have at it in the comments below.