THE RANKS: Aftershocks and previews
Little sleep makes this interesting. I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks next week, when presumably I won’t be tempted to do something like put Hawaii on the list, something I came perilously close to doing before a moment of lucidity struck.
So if you see something bizarre (No. 17 Arkansas State?) understand that it will be fixed.
To the ranks...
1 (Last week: 1) Ohio State: def. Illinois, 17-10. You know, people in the Midwest should really know better than to knock an undefeated team for an unimpressive win. Every sports radio channel I turned on in Detroit was in panic over the Michigan loss and trying to analyze why it was the same as/worse than the Ohio State loss. Remember 2002?
2 (2) Michigan: def. Ball State, 34-26. Does anybody honestly think that Michigan could have lost to Ball State? Then why are we holding it against them. Again, being undefeated at this point in the season is like an extra quality win to me. Which brings us to ...
3 (7) Louisville: def. West Virginia, 44-34. That was a good game, and not because both teams played badly, but because both teams played pretty well. But Louisville has to get a defense and a bit of luck (paging Steve Spurrier) to take over No. 2 after THE GAME is played.
4 (5) Texas: def. Oklahoma St., 36-10. They beat Oklahoma State by a healthy margin. Two teams above them lost, one below them won a better game. They move up one, but no more.
5 (6) Florida: def. Vanderbilt, 25-19. Vanderbilt is actually a pretty decent team this year, so I don’t see any reason to drop them. If they get by South Carolina this weekend, it should be clear sailing to Dec. 2.
6 (8) Auburn: def. Arkansas St., 27-0. Didn’t blow me away. But a win’s a win, and they’re getting some help from those above them. But Arkansas, who beat them, has a chance to pass them in the polls soon as well.
7 (9) California: def. UCLA, 38-24. Don’t think they’ll get to the NC title game without a maelstrom above them. But they’re going to win the Pac-10, and they’re a darn good team.
8 (3) Tennessee: lost to LSU, 28-24. Tennessee is the last time I put a team where they probably should not be on the hope they’ll prove me right. Even when I want the Vols to win they disappoint me.
9 (4) West Virginia: lost to Louisville, 44-34. What do you say? Tough loss, out of the picture for the NC. Still a good season.
10-T (12) Arkansas: def. South Carolina, 26-20. I can’t really tell you why I decided to move them over Notre Dame, but I would argue that their win was more impressive, their accomplishments are better and, right now, they’re playing Top 10 football.
10-T (11) Southern California: def. Stanford, 42-0. This was just a case of Southern Cal finding an available victim and smashing them into a thousand pieces. I officially think they aren’t playing much better than Arkansas, if at all. But they get the tie for winning in the head-to-head.
12 (10) Notre Dame: def. North Carolina, 45-26. Every week, I hear someone say Notre Dame has done little to deserve their rank. Every week, I think someone has a point. This week, I did something about it, even if just a little something.
13 (15) LSU: def. Tennessee, 28-24. Could they beat Notre Dame? I don’t know; they do have JaMarcus Russell as their QB. What’s that? Russell won a big game? Maybe they could beat Notre Dame.
14 (14) Wisconsin: def. Penn St., 13-3. Not a real impressive score, but I still like this team.
15 (16) Boise State: def. Fresno St., 45-21. They looked pretty good against Fresno State, but they also had some mistakes that would have allowed most BCS conference-leading team to use Boise in a ritual sacrifice.
16 (17) Georgia Tech: def. N.C. State, 31-23. The loss to Clemson looks like an aberration. Other than that, this has been an impressive looking football team.
17 (18) Oklahoma: def. Texas A&M, 17-16. Give Stoops some credit for keeping his team on track.
18 (21) Virginia Tech: def. Miami, 17-10. A rivalry game, so I’ll cut them some slack.
19 (19) Rutgers: IDLE. I’ll say it now so I have to do it: A win against Louisville will put Rutgers in the Top 12, maybe the Top 10. A loss’ effect will depend on the margin.
20 (13) Clemson: lost to Maryland, 13-12. I’d love to drop Clemson. But dropping them 13 slots for a one-point loss didn’t seem right. Besides, I’d like the Gamecocks to do the deed.
21 (24) Wake Forest: def. Boston College, 21-14. In a non-Rutgers year, this would be the best story around. They keep it going with a win over BC, and could be headed to Jacksonville.
22 (NR) Maryland: def. Clemson, 13-12. Wow, Maryland has turned the season around. Now, can they stay consistent.
23 (22) Boston College: lost to Wake Forest, 21-14. The ACC is a mess, and the bottom 10 will be in flux until it stops.
24 (20) Texas A&M: lost to Oklahoma, 17-16. Again, a one-point loss doesn’t cost too much.
25 (NR) BYU: def. Colorado St., 24-3. Flirted with doing this before. Here goes everything.
DROPPED OUT: Missouri loses one too many ... Washington State’s stay is brief ...