College Football BlogPoll Ballot (Week Three): The Best USC in the Country is Not in California

Inasmuch as four games represent one-third of a college football regular season, which I believe is a relevant sample size for drawing initial conclusions, I am pleased to announce that this will be the final week in which I use my most recent previous ballot as the starting point for compiling my weekly top 25. Beginning next week, I will be employing resume ranking; this week, I am working from my ballot of seven days ago and tweaking based upon this past weekend’s results.

Here are the top 25 teams in the land, as I have ranked them.

As always, a few words of explanation are in order:

  • Alabama’s, Louisiana State’s, Oregon’s, West Virginia’s, Texas’s, and Ohio’s poll positions remained unchanged, as all six of them performed as expected, offering no reason for me to move any of them up or down on my ballot.
  • Though Clemson beat Furman by the anticipated margin, the Gamecocks slipped past their in-state rivals into the No. 4 spot by virtue of South Carolina’s 49-6 smashing of UAB under less than optimal circumstances. Likewise, the Bulldogs slipped slightly because the Cardinal and the Seminoles outperformed the Red and Black on Saturday, and Kansas State slipped after besting lowly North Texas by a mere 14 points. Ohio State lost ground after barely surviving a home scare from Cal.
  • Stanford (who handed Southern California a 21-14 setback), Florida State (who beat Wake Forest by a 52-point margin), Notre Dame (who defeated Michigan State by three scores on the road), Texas Christian (who whipped Kansas by two touchdowns on the road), and Florida (who won by a 17-point margin in Knoxville) moved up commensurately with their achievements over the weekend, whereas Oklahoma, Arizona, and UCLA each inched up a spot through attrition.
  • It wasn’t a good Saturday to be an ancient civilization, as the Spartans and the Trojans plummeted after deflating losses.
  • Arizona State (who was beaten by a banged-up Missouri club), Virginia Tech (who lost badly to hapless Pitt), Brigham Young (who came up short against in-state rival Utah), and Tennessee (who fell to the Gators by three scores at home) all were banished from the top 25.
  • The four spots freed up on my ballot went to a quartet of 3-0 outfits, as Louisville (who outlasted North Carolina), Northwestern (who bested Boston College), Texas Tech (who hammered New Mexico), and Rutgers (who took are of business against South Florida) all made the grade in a week that proved, more than most, that there is no possible justification for treating 25 of the 124 Division I-A teams as though they are worthy of being ranked.

Next week, I will start from a clean white piece of paper when compiling my ballot, so all of the foregoing will be wholly irrelevant. For now, though, feel free to offer constructive criticisms in the comments below.

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