THE RANKS: I am an idiot
First of all, I should clarify that Notre Dame being ranked No. 1 was not the only fuzzy math going on in the ranks. That would be the fact that there were, ahem, 26 teams in the top 25. That would be because I had a tie at 16 but didn't jump to 18, as anyone with an eighth-grade math degree would have done.
So when I said, "I wanted bacly to kick (Alabama) off the list, but no one else does well enough to justify it," I was really saying, "I am an incomparable idiot."
1 (Last week: 2) Ohio State: def. Cincinnati, 37-7. Yes, they finally get to No. 1, as much as I hate it. They have accomplished more than anyone else so far. I'm still not sure they can get through the schedule unfazed, but that's not what this poll is based on. So I will give them the top spot until they give me a reason to drop them.
2 (3) Florida: def. Tennessee, 21-20. A one-point win against an SEC rival on the road is pretty good. Doing so in comeback fashion, with a QB that won't be able to adapt to the system, is great. Can they run the table? I think so. The secret? I think they've gotten past one of the biggest hurdles of the season, if not the biggest.
3 (6) Auburn: def. LSU, 7-3. In the SEC, you don't have to be pretty. You just have to be good. That's what they did, and they've done more so far this season than West Virginia, who doesn't have much of a way to break out of the holding pattern until they (a) literally send an opponent's entire depth chart to the hospital; (b) beat Louisville.
4 (4) West Virginia: def. Maryland, 45-24. Torches BCS-league foe. Waits for Louisville.
5 (5) LSU: lost to Auburn, 7-3. I'm still shaky on this team. But I have more confidence in them than just about anybody else on the list right now. And let's not forget that they held a consensus top-3 team to a single TD. So they don't drop. Go ahead, criticize me.
6 (12) Southern California: def. Nebraska, 28-10. I'm starting to get sold on this team, but I still don't think you can lose 90-some-odd percent of your offense and just bounce back. They're not top-5 caliber. Yet.
7 (7) Louisville: def. Miami, 31-7. Impressive win against a team that has been perpetually overrated this year. They would have moved up had it not been for other impressive performances.
8 (13) Michigan: def. Notre Dame, 47-21. Yes, Notre Dame was overrated by C&F, among others. But it was still quite a feat to blast the Domers the way Michigan did. Will Lloyd Carr still have the slip-up game? We'll see.
9 (11) Iowa: def. Iowa State, 27-17. They won the game that always seems to catch them by surprise. But it's always a tough road to hoe in the Big 10.
10 (8) Georgia: def. UAB, 34-0. Another victim of good performances by others. But there's still something about this team that bothers me, an intangible on the down side rather than the up.
11 (9) Texas: def. Rice, 52-7. It was Rice. Nice win, but waiting for the Longhorns to put up or shut up.
12 (1) Notre Dame: lost to Michigan, 47-21. Last week: "Oh, yeah. That offense is hurting. Georgia Tech exposed a weakness. We were too quick to jump on the Notre Dame bandwagon. Putting ND at No. 1 was a ... good decision." This week: I have the intelligence of a baboon.
Listen as I school you in the virtues of Notre Dame.
13 (15) Clemson: def. Florida State, 27-20. Once again, Bobby decides to help save Tommy's job. What's new?
14 (19) Tennessee: lost to Florida, 21-20. Earn mad respect for taking No. 2 all the way. But they still looked pretty good this time last year, too.
15 (14) Penn State: def. Youngstown State, 37-3. The new clock rules are making defeats of cupcakes harder to rate. But you only put up 37 against Youngstown State?
16 (16) TCU: def. Texas Tech, 12-3. Holding Texas Tech to 3 points = good. Scoring 12 against Texas Tech defense = not so good.
17 (18) Virginia Tech: def. Duke, 36-0. Sure, it's Duke. But they count as a BCS-league foe. Sort of.
18 (21) Oregon: def. Oklahoma, 34-33.
19 (23) Oklahoma: lost to Oregon, 34-33.
Because Oregon and Oklahoma played, I'll explain the logic here: First of all, I realize that bad calls cost Oklahoma the game. But as more than one person has pointed out, good teams rise above bad calls. And Oregon took advantage of the bad calls. Besides, this is a "What have you done?" list, not a "What could you have done in a perfect world?" list. If Oklahoma is actually better than Oregon, it will even out in the end.
20 (10) Florida State: lost to Clemson, 27-20. Get docked for losing a game that once bore a 6-2 score. Also, defeat of Miami (Fla.) looks worse and worse as season goes on.
21 (17) Georgia Tech: def. Troy, 35-20. Reggie Ball and Chan Gailey strike again. And they lose Calvin Johnson.
22 (22) Rutgers: def. Ohio, 24-7. No real reason to move up or down.
23 (24) California: def. Portland State, 42-16. They now officially look more impressive than Nebraska. By default.
24 (20) Nebraska: lost to Southern California, 28-10. Respectable showing saves them from falling out.
25 (NR) Boston College: def. BYU, 30-23, 2 OT. Okay, now you've got my attention.
DROPPING OUT: Miami falls out after getting smashed by Louisville...Alabama's inclusion last week was a rounding error...
ON THE BUBBLE: Michigan State was crowded out...Purdue loses ground, but still creeping around...Arizona State needs a big win...So does Washington...Missouri will find its way on eventually...