It’s BlogPoll ballot time again, and this week’s top 25 represents the last subtle reshuffling of my previous week’s ballot before the resume ranking begins in earnest once everyone has played someone. The timing on this works well, as every team will have three or four games under its belt, and I will have the sort of relaxing Saturday evening that only comes on an autumn weekend on which one’s team is playing a game for which one will not be present. This week, I will be watching a Georgia Bulldogs football game on television for the first time since November 13, 2010, so I should be able to delve into the minutiae with willful abandon.
As for what I watched last week, I saw the LSU-Mississippi State game on Thursday night, saw the Boise State-Toledo game on Friday night, attended the Georgia-Coastal Carolina game on Saturday, and watched the Florida State-Oklahoma game later that evening. Here, from my perspective, are the top 25 teams in the land:
Obviously, a few words of explanation are in order; these are they:
- Neither Alabama nor Boise State deserved to drop in the rankings; the incremental adjustments downward or the Broncos and the Crimson Tide were the unfortunate side effects of the Sooners rocketing to the top after their impressive victory in Tallahassee. The Seminoles slipped only slightly after giving Oklahoma such a good game. Louisiana State stayed put because the Bayou Bengals looked very solid on the road against Mississippi State, and Boise State’s convincing win over Toledo lost some of its luster when the Buckeyes demonstrated against Miami that Ohio State simply isn’t a very good football team.
- Stanford, Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Oregon, Virginia Tech, and Baylor held steady because they held serve, though I considered dropping the Hokies after VPI beat Arkansas State only by a 26-7 margin.
- Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Arkansas, Houston, and West Virginia dropped because I believe that defense wins championships. The Cowboys allowed 33 points to Tulsa, the Cornhuskers conceded 38 points to Washington, the Razorbacks permitted 28 points to Troy, the Cougars gave up 34 points to Louisiana Tech, and the Mountaineers surrendered 31 points to Maryland.
- South Carolina, on the other hand, shot up because the Gamecocks successfully executed a quick turnaround after a tough game in Athens, refocusing in time to take on and tame (relatively speaking) a difficult Navy offense to defend. South Florida sneaked up a couple of spots by throttling Florida A&M, and the Gators leapt from 23rd to 14th, despite the sloppy play of the Sunshine State Saurians, because (a) there was a genuine dearth of quality teams after the top twelve or 13, and (b) the last 21 years have caused me to break out in hives anytime Florida gets to 3-0.
- Michigan State, Arizona State, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Ohio State all were ousted from the top 25 after losses that left them exposed as pretenders. That cleared out five spots that went instead to Clemson (who exposed the Plainsmen), Illinois (who exposed the Sun Devils), Texas (a 49-20 winner over UCLA), Georgia Tech (a 66-24 winner over Kansas), and Miami (who exposed the Buckeyes).
As noted above, the resume ranking kicks into high gear next week, so, if you think there’s an outlier I need to revisit or a contender I’ve overlooked, by all means, let me know. Your constructive criticisms are welcome in the comments below, as always.