I took my fair share of heat, much of which was deserved, for last week’s BlogPoll ballot, about which I would emphasize that, this early in the season, (a) my top 25 is fairly fluid, and (b) I start from certain preseason assumptions and adjust accordingly until the data set provided by three or four weeks of actual football is large enough to warrant using full-fledged resume ranking to grade each team according to what it has accomplished on the field, and against whom, rather than according to my own, often erroneous, assumptions.
At this stage, I am starting from my most recent previous rankings and adjusting according to performance, though this produces more than merely minor tweaks, as eight teams I had ranked a week ago (including five in the top 20, three in the top 16, and one in the top six) have been replaced on my ballot with eight teams who were unranked a week ago. Here is how my ballot breaks down this week:
A few words of explanation follow, for whatever they are worth:
- Alabama, Louisiana State, Oregon, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Texas Christian, and Ohio (Ohio) remained in the same spots each of them occupied one week ago, because I saw nothing in any of their games this week that led me to believe I had misjudged any of them. Although the Ducks and the Tigers allowed 25 and 27 points, respectively, to inferior opponents, their respective halftime advantages (35-6 for Oregon and 45-10 for Clemson) make it clear that the bulk of the opposition’s scoring occurred after the outcome no longer was in doubt.
- West Virginia (who did not play after bowing out of a game against Florida State), Southern California (who led Syracuse by five points after three quarters), Notre Dame (who survived a scare from Purdue by a paltry field goal), Ohio State (who led Central Florida only by a touchdown at the half), and Brigham Young (who performed largely as anticipated against Weber State yet appeared less impressive overall than the teams who rose above the Cougars) all lost ground in the rankings.
- South Carolina (who thrashed East Carolina by 38 points with the Gamecocks’ starting quarterback sidelined by injury), Michigan State (who took care of Central Michigan by the expected margin), Florida State (who did the same to Savannah State), Texas (who did the same to New Mexico), and Oklahoma (who did the same to Florida A&M) all moved higher, though the Spartans, Seminoles, Longhorns, and Sooners inched up largely through attrition, rather than by virtue of their own demonstrated worthiness for elevation.
- Oklahoma State (who dropped a 59-38 road decision to Arizona), Arkansas (who fell to Louisiana-Monroe in overtime), Nebraska (who was beaten by UCLA in the Rose Bowl), Missouri (who lost to Georgia by three touchdowns), Boise State (who did not play this week, leaving the Broncos unable to improve upon their 0-1 record), Wisconsin (who lost to Oregon State), Louisville (who led Missouri State by a mere eleven points at the break), and Auburn (who dropped to 0-2 with an 18-point loss to Mississippi State) all fell out of the top 25 altogether, for reasons I take to be both obvious and unassailable.
- Georgia (who recorded a 41-20 SEC win on the road), Kansas State (who thrashed Miami, 52-13), Arizona (who thumped Oklahoma State by 21 points), UCLA (who gutted out a win over the Cornhuskers), Stanford (who dealt Duke a 50-13 defeat), Arizona State (who clobbered Illinois, 45-14), Florida (who carded a comeback victory over Texas A&M in College Station), and Tennessee (who took the Cardinals’ place, for the reasons articulated by NOLADawg last week) all joined the top 25.
As always, your feedback is appreciated, your constructive criticisms are taken to heart, and your persuasive arguments have the power to influence my BlogPoll vote, especially when stated with a measure of civility. Play nicely, but, by all means, let me know where, and why, I am able to improve.