Given the bizarre nature of the 2007 season, I've decided that there is one thing that should really affect where a team places on the BlogPoll ballot, at least until things calm down:
Just win, baby.
A balloting method Al Davis would agree with.
If a team wins, I give them credit for a win, with little regard for the margin of victory. The margin can help me decide how much to jump a team up, but I am not going to drop a team for an unimpressive win, at least for now.
Because, with Top 25 teams dropping like flies, winning is an accomplishment by itself.
That said, here's the effort.
Now, the long awaited return of The Ranks, wherein I discuss all this nonsense.
There were several areas where teams clumped together and I had trouble teasing them out. Those teams are all discussed together. Otherwise, I try to give some insight on a team or why they are where they are.
1. South Florida
2. Ohio State
4. Boston College
Let's look at each of these four teams' wins over BCS-league teams and meaningful non-BCS opponents alongside their losses, if any:
South Florida: at Auburn (W, 26-23), North Carolina (W, 37-10), West Virginia (W, 21-13), UCF (W, 64-12)
Ohio State: at Washington (W, 33-14), Northwestern (W, 58-7), at Minnesota (W, 30-7), at Purdue (W, 23-7)
Oklahoma: Miami (FL) (W, 51-13), at Tulsa (W, 62-21), at Colorado (L, 27-24), at Texas (W, 28-21), Missouri (W, 41-31)
Boston College: Wake Forest (W, 38-28), North Carolina State (W, 37-17), at Georgia Tech (W, 24-10), at Notre Dame (W, 27-14)
South Florida flies up the poll, mostly by virtue of its already-played games against Auburn and West Virginia, after the losses by LSU and Cal and the Bulls' own impressive beatdown of a not-terrible UCF. Ohio State's wins in a tattered and weakened Big Ten (which you should say about any conference where a team that lost to a
Division I-AA FCS squad has a reasonable shot at the championship) keep it from becoming No. 1. The loss to Colorado deep-sixes Oklahoma's chances at the top spot on the ballot, but the Sooners land above undefeated Boston College because the Eagles' wins have come with a relatively mediocre schedule.
5. Arizona State
Another victim of a weak schedule, but that should change shortly, with a brutal Pac-10 stretch coming up. That will tell us how good ASU is.
Other teams after the jump...
7. South Carolina
Another knot. LSU beat South Carolina which beat Kentucky which beat LSU. So LSU ... could beat itself? And what to do with Cal, which had been cruising en route to a spotless record, including a win over Oregon, before it fell in spectacular fashion to Oregon State? And what about Oregon?
Again, the records against significant competition:
LSU: at Mississippi State (W, 45-0), Virginia Tech (W, 48-7), South Carolina (W, 28-16), Florida (W, 28-24), at Kentucky (L, 43-37)
South Carolina: at Georgia (W, 16-12), at LSU (L, 28-16), Mississippi State (W, 38-21), Kentucky (W, 38-23), at North Carolina (W, 21-15)
Kentucky: Louisville (W, 40-34), at Arkansas (W, 42-29), South Carolina (L, 38-23), LSU (W, 43-37)
Cal: Tennessee (W, 45-31), Arizona (W, 45-27), at Oregon (W, 31-24), Oregon State (L, 31-28)
Oregon: at Michigan (W, 39-7), at Stanford (W, 55-31), California (L, 31-24), Washington State (W, 53-7)
Projection would tell us that LSU has the best team of the five. But we don't even need projection. LSU has the most impressive slate of victories, and a single loss to a tough team. South Carolina also has a solid resume and a loss to a difficult team, perhaps the most talented in the country.
Kentucky has the most impressive win, but maybe the thinnest resume of the group. Regardless, it is certainly underwhelming when compared to LSU's and South Carolina's. And the Gamecocks get an edge on the head-to-head.
Cal has a couple of good wins (Tennessee, at Oregon) and a mediocre loss (Oregon State) with its backup QB. Oregon has but one impressive win (at Michigan) and a head-to-head loss against Cal.
11. Kansas This is just ... odd. No other word for it. But as long as they keep beating BCS-level competition and obliterating everyone else, they'll stay highly ranked.
12. Florida Sit pat on the bye week.
13. Southern Cal They need a quality win bad to stay this high up.
14. Virginia Tech No longer the prohibitive ACC favorite, the Hokies are nonetheless a strong team that has taken all comers -- except, of course, LSU.
15. Auburn Wow. What a rebound. Yes, they looked like the Evil Auburn Offense against Arkansas, but they shut down Darren McFadden. And see above: Just win, baby.
16. West Virginia Doubt they win the Big East or run the table. One or the other will be needed for them to keep from falling, maybe out entirely.
17. Tennessee A rivalry game with Alabama precedes a potentially division-defining showdown with South Carolina in Knoxville.
18. Missouri Whenever I flipped over to this game, the Tigers seemed to be in trouble or putting themselves there. But they're still good enough to win the Big 12 North.
19. Kansas State ...unless K-State does. We don't get that game until Nov. 17. And those of us in Atlanta will probably get a meaningless contest between two ACC cellar-dwellers if it's an ABC game.
20. Texas Why not? There's really nobody stronger to put here.
21. Illinois Next game will be key for [NAME REDACTED], i.e. the Zooker. Can his team rebound? Will they get better and better?
22. Cincinnati Yeah, probably should drop them all the way out. But, again, a dearth of replacements stays the execution for a week.
24. Michigan Eeek!
There are probably not 20 teams worthy of being in the Top 25. Thus, we get these entrants -- even though I vowed not to rank Michigan for a long, long time after the loss to Appy State. That day has come.
We're really hair-splitting here, but this was sort of a knot as well.
Georgia: Oklahoma State (W, 35-14), South Carolina (L, 16-12), at Alabama (W, 26-23), Mississippi (W, 45-17), at Tennessee (L, 35-14), at Vanderbilt (W, 20-17)
Michigan: Appalachian State (L, 34-32), Oregon (L, 39-7), Notre Dame (W, 38-0), Penn State (W, 14-9), at Northwestern (W, 28-16), Purdue (W, 48-21)
Virginia: at Wyoming (L, 23-3), Duke (W, 24-13), at UNC (W, 22-20), Georgia Tech (W, 28-23), Pittsburgh (W, 44-14), UConn (W, 17-16)
Georgia clearly has the strongest schedule and the most respectable losses. Michigan suffers the black mark that dare not speak its name. And Virginia might be the least impressive 5-1 team in college football history. But who else you gonna put there?
I watched a good deal of the Illinois-Iowa game while also browsing the near-upset of Alabama by Ole Miss. I watched all of North Carolina-South Carolina (of course), flipping over to LSU-Kentucky on commercials and watching the last moments of that bout. I flipped between Missouri-Oklahoma, Georgia-Vanderbilt and Cal-Oregon State, and wrapped up with a little bit of Auburn-Arkansas and Colorado-Kansas State as I really couldn't make up my mind on the evening games.