After a particularly bloody week in the top 25 (Florida, USC, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Mississippi State, and Rutgers all duff'd it to various degrees), we present our revised ballot for Week 9.
Now for our individual ballots and explanations:
At the top, I'm still leaving Alabama down a little bit because they don't have the overall body of work. Winning at LSU will change things, though. Kansas State and Notre Dame are going to slide a little bit because their schedules are going to hit a soft patch here in November. Then again, so is the entire SEC.
The Big Ten is making a reappearance at the bottom of my poll as teams begin to reassert themselves a little bit. Sure they're doing it against each other, but there's so much semi-crap down beyond about #20 in the rankings that putting Nebraska and Northwestern in there makes about as much sense as anyone else. I held Rutgers at 25th because they pretty obviously played one bad game against Kent State, and don't have the major systemic problems that a West Virginia or Texas have.
I also added a few "Teams for Further Research" at the bottom. These are teams I know I'm not ready to rank, but would like to look into a bit more before I add them to the working group. Speaking of the working group, we had to say goodbye to TCU this week. I can't foresee ranking them the rest of the year unless they take out EcoKat. I'm also about ready to ditch Cincinnati and Nevada.
Gary's ballot, separated into handy tiers:
When trying to rank teams, I realized that the teams fall more easily into four groups than they do into individual ranks. So I included both.
Sorry Rutgers, you can't lose to Kent State and stay in the Top 25.
THE A-LIST (UNBEATEN NATIONAL TITLE CONTENDERS IF NOT ON PROBATION)
3 Notre Dame
4 Kansas St
5 Ohio State
THE B-LIST (VERY GOOD TEAMS WITH ONE CREDITABLE LOSS, OR MAYBE TWO)
8 Florida State
11 South Carolina
14 Oregon St
THE C-LIST (IT'S A PRETTY CLEAR DROP FROM THE B-LIST TO THIS GROUP, ESPECIALLY SINCE MOST TEAMS IN THIS RANGE LOST THIS WEEK)
15 Texas A&M
16 West Virginia
17 Southern Cal
19 Texas Tech
THE D-LIST (TEAMS THAT HAVE TOO MANY LOSSES, TOO FEW GOOD WINS, OR ARE TOO FLAKY TO BEAT ANY OF THE TEAMS ABOVE)
21 Mississippi State
25 Louisiana Tech
Finally, Mike's ballot. If Andrew gets a ballot in, I'll attach his to the final rankings tomorrow.
3. Kansas State
4. Notre Dame
7. Florida State
12. Texas A&M
14. South Carolina
15. Mississippi State
16. Ohio State
19. Louisiana Tech
23. Oregon State
I was always a little shaky on putting Oregon State up so high, so now I feel better that I can put them lower where I think they belong. I can't bring myself to rank West Virginia because they are absolutely useless on defense and I think all 25 of these teams could probably run them out of town. I can't leave Ohio State unranked, because I do think they could probably beat some of the weaker teams on this list, but they definitely have not impressed me all season. If you watched the Georgia-Florida game yesterday, then I'm sorry that you wasted four hours of your day. That was one of the worst football games I have ever seen in my life. I simply can't bring myself to put either of those teams up too high after that game. Also, I suggest that we just hand Alabama the national title so we can watch Oregon and Kansas State go at it in a runner-up game.