Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
The top of the ballot is pretty easy this week. The bottom is a mess. Also some discussion about what the conference-heavy future of college football might mean for polls.
This week's ballot was mostly minor changes towards the top, but some big upheaval at the bottom, where it's getting harder and harder to decide who is worth ranking and who isn't.
Voodoo Five Ballot - Week 10
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide||--|
|3||Kansas St. Wildcats||-1|
|4||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||-1|
|7||Ohio St. Buckeyes||1|
|8||Florida St. Seminoles||-1|
|12||South Carolina Gamecocks||--|
|14||Texas A&M Aggies||--|
|15||Oregon St. Beavers||1|
|20||Louisiana Tech Bulldogs||2|
|23||Texas Tech Red Raiders||-4|
|Dropouts: Mississippi St. Bulldogs, Boise St. Broncos, West Virginia Mountaineers, Arizona Wildcats|
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »
Let's start with my individual ballot -- here's my resume work. I moved Alabama up to #2 because winning at LSU is more impressive than winning at Oklahoma, but Notre Dame still has a slightly better body of work, at least for this week. After Nebraska I honestly don't have any idea who to rank. I guess I figure the Big Ten can't be as terrible as it appears to be. I was about to reconsider TCU but I think they end up losing another one this weekend so it won't matter. Side note, I added UCF to "for further research" to replace Tulsa, but Conference USA is just garbage this year so they may have to go 11-2 to get ranked. Another side note, I know I didn't rank Louisiana Tech but they're next in line. Their resume is horrible, though.
Mike's ballot, and if you're wondering how 4-4 Washington got ranked, here it is:
3. Kansas State
6. Notre Dame
8. Florida State
12. Texas A&M
14. Ohio State
15. South Carolina
16. Louisiana Tech
22. Oregon State
Like I've been saying for the past three or four weeks, there really just are not 25 good football teams this year. It's at the point in the season where there are some teams who are racking up good records and a lot of consecutive wins, but I still don't think their full schedule reflects a good team. For example, take UCF. They're 7-2 and they've been beating down the rest of Conference USA. But they've had two real tests of their talent (at Ohio State and vs. Missouri), and they failed both of them. A top 25 team beats teams that they're supposed to be better than. I wanted to rank Tulsa until this week for the same reason. Good record, but lost to Arkansas. On the other hand, Louisiana Tech does have one loss, but it's by two points to a TAMU team who just steamrolled Mississippi State and lost by 1 to Florida.
Gary's thinking the same thing as far as trying to find teams to rank:
3. Notre Dame
4. Kansas St
5. Ohio State
8. Florida State
11. South Carolina
14. Oregon St
15. Texas A&M
16. Southern Cal
18. Texas Tech
23. Louisiana Tech
24. Mississippi State
I agree wholeheartedly with Mike. It's hard to rank teams, because you've got teams with 3 very credible losses (like Michigan or USC) and unbeaten teams that hadn't played anyone in the Top 50 (like Mississippi State or, to a lesser extent, Northwestern). There's a natural tendency to move teams down when they lose and up when they don't, but that leads to situations I just don't believe in. To use an example from Mike's ballot, I don't think Louisiana Tech could beat Southern Cal right now. Or Toledo would beat Nebraska.
And I think we're getting a glimpse of the future of college football. As the major conferences expand, they're going to play more and more games against each other (look for the SEC and ACC to go to 9 conference games soon), creating fewer chances for the Louisiana Techs of the world to beat the Texas A&Ms. At the same time, it's possible for someone like Mississippi State to draw a very easy conference schedule, and live off the league's reputation while not playing anybody decent before Halloween. I'd like to put M-State out of the poll entirely, but the contenders are even bigger frauds. Like Kent State, which is 7-1 but got crushed by an awful Kentucky team. Utah State couldn't beat BYU or finish off Wisconsin. Ohio and Louisiana-Monroe took conference losses (and Auburn is now so awful you have to ding ULM for not winning that game). Toledo has a close lose to Arizona and a win over Cincinnati, so they're my mid-major choice this week.I'm pretty much sticking with last week's poll. The only teams I moved were because of the WVU/TCU, TAMU/Miss State and Texas/Texas Tech games. Other than that I see little reason to juggle the list.
Finally, Andrew's poll, and he's feeling the same way at the bottom of his ballot:
2. Kansas State
4. Notre Dame
8. Oregon State
9. Ohio State
11. Texas A&M
12. South Carolina
13. Florida State
18. Louisiana Tech
22. Mississippi State
I agree, it's getting tougher, so I'm giving a bit more credence to teams like Texas, Nebraska and UCLA, who've gotten better as the season wanes.
While I hope it happens, I think it'll be years before the SEC goes to 9 games, and with the ND deal the ACC as well. For the SEC, it's to their detriment since Georgia is going to skate into the SEC title game having played 2 good teams, and no one good from the west, while SCar and Florida drew a tougher slate. How did none of those teams get Bama??? or Miss St?? Because of only 2 inter-division games, and a mandatory cross-over.
I'm more kind to the mid-majors. Toledo lost to Zona, but so did USC and Stanford. They each have one win over good teams. USC blows the doors off Toledo, UNLESS the Trojans have four turnovers and/or 12 penalties, which they are prone to do.
Cincinnati is gets the nod for #25 in based solely on this awesome jump pass.