Due to conflicting personal and professional obligations, I was unable to cast my weekly BlogPoll ballot in a timely manner. Nevertheless, as a dutiful voter, I compiled my top 25, and, although it will not count toward this week’s rankings, I have elected to share them with you. These are they:
- Florida Gators (6-0)
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-0)
- Kansas St. Wildcats (6-0)
- Oregon St. Beavers (5-0)
- Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0)
- Ohio St. Buckeyes (7-0)
- Oregon Ducks (6-0)
- Oklahoma Sooners (4-1)
- LSU Tigers (6-1)
- South Carolina Gamecocks (6-1)
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-1)
- Louisville Cardinals (6-0)
- West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1)
- Texas A&M Aggies (5-1)
- Florida St. Seminoles (6-1)
- Ohio Bobcats (7-0)
- Mississippi St. Bulldogs (6-0)
- Cincinnati Bearcats (5-0)
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-0)
- Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (5-1)
- TCU Horned Frogs (5-1)
- Georgia Bulldogs (5-1)
- USC Trojans (5-1)
- Clemson Tigers (5-1)
- Northern Illinois Huskies (6-1)
The Sunshine State Saurians have the two best wins of any undefeated team, a three-point road victory over once-beaten Texas A&M and an eight-point home triumph over once-beaten Louisiana State. Though the Irish have no similar marquee victory, neither does Notre Dame have a win over a weak sister, as the Golden Domers have beaten four AQ-conference opponents with winning records (Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, and Stanford) and a pair of .500 squads (Navy and Purdue).
K-State, like Notre Dame, walloped the Hurricanes, and the Wildcats also claimed close road victories over once-beaten Oklahoma and twice-beaten Iowa State. Oregon State’s trio of triumphs over winning teams includes narrow wins over UCLA and Wisconsin, both 5-2. ‘Bama looks dominant, but the Tide have rolled over as many losing teams (Arkansas, Florida Atlantic, and Missouri) as winning ones (Michigan, Ole Miss, and Western Kentucky).
The Buckeyes are similarly situated, having bested four losing teams (California, Indiana, Miami (Ohio), and UAB, three of them in fairly tight games), but their three victories over winning teams include a conquest of Nebraska. The Ducks also are akin to the Tide, inasmuch as Oregon has steamrolled a slate that includes no Division I-A victims with records more stellar than 4-3, but four of five Division I-A wins have come against squads that were .500 or better.
Bob Stoops’s troops were the highest-ranked among the once-beatens, due to quality wins over Texas Tech and Texas, coupled with a respectable loss (by five to my No. 3 team). Louisiana State had a loss of similar quality (by eight on the road against my No. 1 team), but, while the Bayou Bengals’ two-point win over the Garnet and Black gave heft to LSU’s resume, the Tigers were weighed down by victories over two-win North Texas, one-win Auburn and Idaho, and Division I-AA Towson.
South Carolina, like Louisiana State, had a quality win (over Georgia) and a quality loss (to LSU), so it stood to reason that the Gamecocks would be ranked right behind the Tiger team to whom they just lost by two. Texas Tech rode a big win over West Virginia past the undefeated Cardinals, whose five-point home win over North Carolina did not add enough pizzazz to an unblemished resume deprived of much of its luster by victories against two-win Pitt, one-win Florida International and Kentucky, winless Southern Miss, and Division I-AA Missouri State.
While West Virginia was hammered by the Red Raiders, the Mountaineers’ fall was arrested by close wins over a trio of two-loss teams (Baylor, Maryland, and Texas), which represented an improvement over the Aggies’ two road triumphs over opponents with winning records, by three over Ole Miss and by two over Louisiana Tech. Though the Tribe also had a win over a 5-1 team (Clemson), Texas A&M fell to Florida by three, while the Seminoles were beaten by N.C. State by one.
All Ohio (Ohio) has to show for its 7-0 record is a season-opening victory over Penn State, but that gives the Bobcats one more win over a team above .500 than Mississippi State can claim. The Bulldogs likewise victimized a trio of one-win teams (Auburn, Kentucky, and South Alabama), but they claimed only one triumph over a Division I-AA opponent, whereas the Bearcats beat two en route to a 5-0 ledger. That left the worst of the undefeated clubs, Rutgers, whose record of achievement includes four wins by twelve or fewer points against a slate that thus far has included Division I-AA Howard and five Division I-A teams with losing ledgers.
There followed a parade of flawed once-beatens, beginning with the Bulldogs who acquitted themselves well in a two-point loss to Texas A&M. The quality of that loss gave Louisiana Tech the edge over Texas Christian (who fell to twice-beaten Iowa State by 14), Georgia (who fell to South Carolina by 28 and has yet to beat a team above .500), and Southern California (who fell to twice-beaten Stanford and has yet to beat a team above .500).
The Country Gentlemen have a win over a team with a winning record, but that team is (a) 4-3 and (b) Ball State. That did little to bolster the resume of the Fort Hill Felines, which otherwise includes wins over two-win Georgia Tech, one-win Auburn and Boston College, and Division I-AA Furman. Even that record of accomplishment, though, eclipsed the resume of Northern Illinois, whose only triumph over a winning team also came against Ball State, and whose six wins include Division I-AA Tennessee-Martin and four Division I-A teams with two or fewer wins, but whose loss was to twice-beaten Iowa.
Among those weighed and found wanting were the Boise St. Broncos (whose three wins over 4-3 teams could not overcome their loss to a 4-3 team), Northwestern Wildcats (whose eight-point road win over a 4-2 team was offset by an eleven-point road loss to a 4-2 team), Arizona St. Sun Devils (who have no wins over Division I-A teams at or above .500, and who lost to a Mizzou team that sits at 3-4), Toledo Rockets (who offset a win over a 4-3 team with a loss to a 3-3 team), Tulsa Golden Hurricane (who beat three one-win teams, one two-win team, one Division I-AA team, and one 4-3 team by one point), Nevada Wolf Pack (who lost to a 2-4 team), and Kent St. Golden Flashes (who lost to a 1-6 team).
As always, your constructive criticisms are invited in the comments below.