1 Ohio State
3 Boston College
To my mind, there's really not a proverbial dime's worth of distance between these four teams. Ohio State gets some credit for being undefeated in perhaps the only conference that could make the ACC look good, despite the fact that Appalachian State (by extrapolation) could apparently go undefeated in the Big Ten. LSU is still golden. BC was manhandled by Virginia Tech for the first 55 minutes of that game, but then came back in the last five minutes to win it -- and I like that, for some reason. No slight to Oklahoma; the Sooners move down because the Eagles' resume improved.
6 Arizona State
I could flip these two and have no heartburn about it whatsoever, but I'm not overly worried since the logjam will clear itself out this weekend, in a game that is thankfully on national television.
Pac-10 fans protest their atrocious television contract.
The rest of the best, such as it is, after jump...
9 West Virginia
10 Virginia Tech
These all go in the "Eh, why not?" category. They've got respectable records in respectable conferences, and no one else is leaping up and grabbing a Top 10 ranking. The team that lost this week? Virginia Tech, they of the aforementioned 55-minute domination of BC.
I'm probably going to take all manner of flak for this, but the Huskies beat South Florida, which a few weeks ago, let's remember, some people (self included) thought was the No. 1 team in the land. They've also had a halfway decent slate otherwise. And don't give me that crap about the fair catch call against Louisville; I watched that game, and each team scored an extra TD because of atrocious officiating. Louisville fans have just been whinier about it (as any of us would be) because they lost the game. Put another name on this team and they're probably ranked about here.
Gulp. Well...at least the Oregon loss doesn't look as bad.
13 South Florida
Still probably about the second- or third-best team in the Big East, whatever that's worth, and still has an impressive overall resume.
After Supreme Leader Lowder had it warmed up earlier this season, it looks like the plane is going to remain on the runway for another year. Unless Tuberville bolts for Texas A&M.
Another two teams that could be interchangeable. Both have questions; some of Alabama's will be answered pretty definitively this weekend.
The rally by the Gamecocks in the second quarter could be a troubling sign that their luck at home is up.
Everybody just calm down a minute about the spelling-challenged Dawgs. Do we forget that this is the same team that was crushed by three touchdowns at Tennessee? That lost at home to South Carolina (something we now know was not all that impressive)? Just because they beat a banged-up
Tim Tebow University Florida Gators team that, let's face it, is not nearly as good as we thought they were? I say "No." Ugha's movement will be far slower on my ballot until the Dawgs actually, you know, earn a major promotion.
Two teams where the fans have every right to be disappointed. Both were supposed to be better than this.
21 South Carolina
SMQ has some quasi-soothing words about the defeat in Knoxville, but a loss is a loss. Wins against the remaining three teams could boost their stock back to the Top 15-ish range. Knowing this team, though, it will blow at least one of those winnable match-ups.
22 Southern Cal
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This guys could actually fall out between the end of the year, which would bring wonderful joy to my dynasty-hating heart.
Rutgers, Penn State and Virginia had to go. I'm still not sold on Clemson -- though that could be bias. And Hawaii sure as heck has a less impressive resume at the moment. So process of elimination brought me back to the Illini. Now, go on out there, [NAME REDACTED], and embarass me.
24 Mississippi State
Don't laugh. They won at Auburn and at Kentucky. Yeah, this is kind of a symbolic nod, but the Bulldogs who know how to spell could actually earn a bowl berth this year.
Woodson was this team's main selling point earlier this year, but now he's killing them. Unless he turns things around, the Cats are bound for a late December bowl game.