Monday, October 23, 2006

THE RANKS: The rumble inside

For the first time so far, no one comes on or off the ranks. It was tempting to drop a couple teams from the list, but I left them on because of the down week for everyone. I won't be so kind twice.

To the ranks:

1 (Last week: 1) Ohio State: def. Indiana, 44-3. Running out of things to say about the greatness that is Jim Tressel, Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr., etc., etc. They're No. 1, though by a slim margin.
2 (2) Michigan: def. Iowa, 20-6. Let's not forget that Iowa was, until recently, a highly-regarded team. I still think they're pretty decent. So no panic here because of a tight win by the Wolverines.
3 (3) Southern California: IDLE.
4-T (4) West Virginia: def. Connecticut, 37-11. Still not bowled away by this team. But the workmanlike wins continue to stack up, and I'm still waiting for someone to knock them off.
4-T (4) Auburn: def. Tulane, 38-13. Nothing dominating here, but Tuberville hasn't made a habit of destroying opponents just for the pleasure of watching them crumple up and die.
6 (6) Tennessee: def. Alabama, 16-13. Again, Bama's not Top 25 caliber. But they're not terrible. And given all the other close shaves we saw this weekend, there's no reason to drop the Vols.
7 (7) Texas: def. Nebraska, 22-20. Why does it feel like I'm having to justify not dropping half the Top 10? Again, decent foe, last-minute win, no reason to worry yet.
8 (8) Louisville: def. Syracuse, 28-13. There could be two monstrous games left in CFB this year: Michigan-Ohio State and Louisville-West Virginia. But that's only if Rutgers doesn't get in the way.
9 (11) Clemson: def. Georgia Tech, 31-7. Wow. Wow. Yes, part of this was the uncanny ability of Chan Gailey and Reggie Ball to find a game on the schedule, circle it, and perform a superhuman immolation in front of a national television audience. But Clemson looked gooooood. Against a pretty good team. Arguably the only ranked team to outperform expectations.
10 (10) Florida: IDLE.
11 (12) California: def. Washington, 31-24 (OT). Washington is a good team. Don't forget that if you want to ask why I dropped ...
12 (9) Notre Dame: def. UCLA, 20-17. In a week of unimpressive wins by ranked teams, this was perhaps the most unimpressive.
13 (13) LSU: def. Fresno State, 38-6. LSU just continues to throw up points against any defense not found in the SEC. But can they put together a consistent run to contend for Atlanta -- even if, by Atlanta, you mean the Peach Bowl?
14 (14) Arkansas: def. Mississippi, 38-3. I have to use this space to admit that I was wrong about Arkansas at the beginning of the year. The question is whether they drop the games Auburn needs them to drop.
15 (16) Oklahoma: def. Colorado, 24-3. No underperforming. No overperforming. They just keep chugging along. But the lack of an ability to crack the Top 10, I think, raises honest questions about whether Oklahoma is still a member of the CFB elite.
16 (17) Wisconsin: def. Purdue, 24-3. Again, continuing to chug through the Big Ten to set them up for a nice bowl bid. If they weren't in the same league with Ohio State and Michigan, they could dream about the BCS.
17 (15) Georgia Tech: lost to Clemson, 31-7. It's hard to drop the Jackets too far for losing to a good team, though they lost bad. There's just not much impressiveness below them.
18 (19) Rutgers: def. Pittsburgh, 20-10. They're beginning to win respect beyond the novelty effect. But I still need some wow-ness to bump them over the big dogs.
19 (20) Boise State: def. Idaho, 42-26. Perennial BCS buster wannabe sets its sights on doing so for real. Another undefeated sleeper.
20 (23) Missouri: def. Kansas State, 41-21. They torched the Wildcats, which isn't saying much, but again, it looks good by comparison.
21 (21) Nebraska: lost to Texas, 22-20. They played Texas tough. So they stick at No. 21.
22 (18) Oregon: lost to Washington State, 34-23. Really struggled with whether or not to keep them here or drop them out. But I think Wazzou might be better than anticipated.
23 (22) Texas A&M: def. Oklahoma State, 34-33 (OT). Unimpressive, so they slip a bit. But there were only a few teams that looked good, so they hang on.
24 (24) Boston College: def. Florida State, 24-19. Last-minute heave could have cost them the game. So they stick.
25 (25) Wake Forest: IDLE.

DROPPING OUT: No one. Some movement, but no drops. A few teams are poised to fall, though...

ON THE BUBBLE: I still like Pittsburgh, but a ten-point loss doesn't lead to a debut...Washington is still in the picture...Wazzou might make a visit, but I need more...

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