THE RANKS: USC fallout and a dirty bombed poll
First of all, I do still think that going undefeated for the first seven or so games in one of the Big 5 (ACC, Big XII, Big Ten, Pac 10, SEC) is worth something. That's why USC dropped so precipitously and, intentionally, out of the top 10 after losing. They were no longer undefeated, so I also docked them for close calls that were covered by the "undefeated" card earlier.
Second, I took a quasi-nuclear approach to this round. I looked Sunday night at the last edition of the ranks. Then I looked tonight at the scoreboards and what some of the other polls did. Then I created a top 25 out of whole cloth. I then took the last edition of the ranks, moved the teams the way I would have, then used a points system like the other polls do, adding the two ranks together. Finally, I adjusted for common sense -- thus, Oregon fell from No. 24 to off the list.
That said, to the ranks:
1 (Last week: 1) Ohio State: def. Minnesota, 44-0. This is just boring. Can we please just skip to the Michigan game? Will everybody else just concede so we can pay attention to teams 3-117 until THE GAME OF THE MILLENIUM?
2 (2) Michigan: def. Northwestern, 17-3. Again, the undefeated aura comes into play here. Thus, even an uninspiring win against Northwestern (and I don't care about the weather) is papered over by that "zero" at the end of the win-loss line.
3 (6) Tennessee: def. South Carolina, 31-24. Consider this: Tennessee's sole loss is to Florida by one point. Granted, some still think the officiating was fishy. But the Vols have put together an impressive resume. Too bad they probably aren't going to Atlanta for the SEC championship.
4 (4) West Virginia: IDLE. I just can't bring myself to say that a team beating the Island of Misfit Football Teams ought to be in the top 3. Beat Louisville and we'll talk.
5 (7) Texas: def. Texas Tech, 35-31. This is kind of surprising to me. I would think Florida would have placed ahead of Texas, and maybe Louisville. But I also don't think this should be adjusted. It seems about right.
6 (10) Florida: def. Georgia, 21-14. It surprised me that a modest ranking for Florida would be this big a jump. But, again, it seems about right, even if they did almost blow a lead to the Dawgs.
7 (8) Louisville: IDLE. They do move up a spot, mostly because Auburn settles in below them. But the Cards need to beat West Virginia -- and maybe Rutgers -- to break the top 3.
8 (4) Auburn: def. Mississippi, 23-17. Except for beating Florida, Auburn has really done nothing. They've beaten some bad teams by unimpressive or marginally impressive margins and they've lost to Arkansas. So they tumble a bit after an underwhelming effort against Ole Miss.
9 (11) California: IDLE. Forget for a moment the whuppin on Rocky Top. Look at what Cal has done since then. Tell me that wouldn't put them even higher than this. So dock them for the loss to the Vols and they end up here.
10 (12) Notre Dame: def. Navy, 38-14. I think they could beat Southern Cal, based on how both teams have played so far. I think they will beat Southern Cal -- write it down.
11 (3) Southern California: lost to Oregon State, 33-31. Again, they tumble eight spots. Whack! Take that for almost losing to Washington. Whack! Take that for almost losing to Arizona State. Whack! Take that for losing to Oregon State. And like it!
12 (14) Arkansas: def. La-Monroe, 44-10. I apologize to Houston Nutt and crew. This is a good team. Yes, they deserve to be here. They could run the table in the SEC, end up in Atlanta, and be slim underdogs or even favorites. Oh, and the QB's a freshman, by the way.
13 (9) Clemson: lost to Virginia Tech, 24-7. They got up for the Georgia Tech game, then fell flat on their face on the trip to Blacksburg. That could cost them a trip to Jacksonville.
14 (16) Wisconsin: def. Illinois, 30-24. If it weren't for Ohio State/Michigan, this team would be the talk of the Big Ten. They still deserve their respect.
15 (13) LSU: IDLE. LSU is coasting right now on THEIR AWESOME ASSEMBLY OF FRIGHTENING TALENT. They've been good, but not great. We'll see what happens when they face the Hogs.
16 (19) Boise State: IDLE. Even a mid-major team has to get props for being perfect year-in, year-out. I'll have more to say on them after I hopefully get a chance to watch them this week.
17 (17) Georgia Tech: def. Miami, 30-23. I'm still suspicious of the Gailey/Ball x factor. But the Jackets rebound nicely from the Clemson debacle to get past Miami at home.
18 (15) Oklahoma: def. Missouri, 26-10. I really wish they hadn't dropped, but, again, I couldn't bring myself to move them up. They dominated Missouri, but the Big XII is on a down year. I think that conspired against them to drop them a few spots when I took a fresh look.
19 (18) Rutgers: def. Connecticut, 24-13. They were not impressive against Connecticut. But prepare for takeoff if they beat Louisville and/or West Virginia.
20 (23) Texas A&M: def. Baylor, 31-21. Give Fran this much: He has done a bang-up job this year, and TAMU v. Texas could be a key game in the conference this year.
21 (NR) Virginia Tech: def. Clemson, 24-7. This was an impressive win. But the ACC has gone sour this year, so more proof is needed for the Hokies to crack the top 20.
22 (24) Boston College: def. Buffalo, 41-0. I think the ranks are going to get completely upended, at least in the bottom 15 or so, as the ACC season finishes up. It might not be great football, but it should be entertaining nonetheless.
23 (20) Missouri: lost to Oklahoma, 26-10. This is still a good football team. Oklahoma is just a good deal better.
24 (25) Wake Forest: def. North Carolina, 24-17. If it weren't for Rutgers, this would be the story of the year. Hats off to Wake for a great ACC run. Now, win a division title and I'll truly be impressed.
25 (NR) Washington State: def. UCLA, 37-15. Wow, was the CFB establishment and everybody else wrong about this team or not?