I’m a little late in getting this to you, but here is this week’s BlogPoll ballot, which (a) is resume-based and (b) began with a clean white sheet of paper. Without further ado, I present the top 25 teams in the land, at least as they appear to me:
I watched portions of the Connecticut-Pittsburgh game on Thursday, the Boise State-Idaho game on Friday, and the Georgia Tech-Miami, Ole Miss-Tennessee, and Fresno State-Nevada games on Saturday. I watched all of the Georgia-Auburn game on Saturday, which explains why I wasn’t in a place where I had any interest in watching the important evening games.
I also considered ranking the Miami Hurricanes, Navy Midshipmen, and Syracuse Orange, in that order. I will be happy to explain any particular placements that appear peculiar to you, but here is the short course on the upper echelon:
- As a resume ranker, I continue to be amazed that anyone anywhere, much less a majority of pollsters, could possibly rank Oregon ahead of Auburn. The Tigers have beaten five Division I-A teams with winning records; the Ducks have beaten two. The Tigers’ best win was over No. 6 Louisiana State; the Ducks’ best win was over No. 9 Stanford. The Tigers’ second-best win was over No. 14 Arkansas; the Ducks’ second-best win was over No. 19 Southern California. The Tigers’ third- and fourth-best wins were over No. 16 South Carolina and No. 20 Mississippi State, respectively; the Ducks’ third- and fourth-best wins were over . . . whom, exactly? A .500 Cal club in a nailbiter? A home demolition of a UCLA outfit with a 4-5 ledger? Seven of Oregon’s ten wins have come against Division I-AA teams or Division I-A teams with losing records. The Ducks are destroying bad teams every week while winning one or two big games, which is exactly what we excoriate mid-major teams for doing. Auburn is the No. 1 team in the country, and it isn’t close.
- The Broncos inched ahead of the Horned Frogs by virtue of the increasing value associated with Boise State’s season-opening win over No. 25 VPI. Texas Christian did not impress against San Diego State, and their supposedly marquee wins over Air Force, Baylor, and Utah have lost considerable luster.
- Among 9-1 clubs, the Spartans edged the Bayou Bengals by virtue of Michigan State’s best win (over No. 8 Wisconsin), which eclipsed LSU’s top triumph (over No. 11 Alabama). The Cornhuskers’ best victory (over No. 10 Oklahoma State) actually is better than the Tigers’ premiere scalp, as well, but Nebraska was penalized for falling to six-loss Texas and Louisiana State was rewarded for a quality loss in a close game on the road against undefeated Auburn.
- The Badgers were buoyed by wins over No. 12 Ohio State and Iowa, but every other Division I-A victory carded by Wisconsin came against a team that is 4-6 or worse. The Cardinal likewise suffers from a lack of quality wins after those over No. 19 USC and No. 21 Arizona. There’s only so far victories over a pair of 7-3 teams will carry you when you’re claiming wins over two-win clubs like Wake Forest and Washington State, as well.
- I believe the Crimson Tide are better than the Cowboys, but the Pokes’ 9-1 ledger (featuring six wins over teams at or above .500) was superior to Alabama’s 8-2 record (including four wins over teams at or above .500). Likewise, the Buckeyes haven’t beaten anyone I deemed deserving of a spot in the top 25, while Mizzou has defeated two (No. 15 Oklahoma and No. 17 Texas A&M), but Ohio State is 9-1 with a loss to my No. 8 team, whereas the Tigers are 8-2 with a loss to a Texas Tech team that sits at 5-5.
- The Razorbacks are ahead of the Sooners because the Hogs’ top two triumphs (over No. 16 South Carolina and No. 17 Texas A&M) are superior to Oklahoma’s (against No. 23 Florida State and Air Force). The character of their respective losses influenced me, as well; each lost at least somewhat respectably to an 8-2 opponent (Arkansas to Alabama and Oklahoma to Missouri), but the Razorbacks’ other loss was to No. 1 Auburn and the Sooners’ second setback was to No. 17 Texas A&M.
After that, it’s a bit of a hodgepodge, but feel free to fire away with your questions and constructive criticisms in the comments below.