So, before we get to the ballot... who is number one? In my mind there are five candidates:
- Auburn: Marquee win over LSU, but a close game marred with some small officiating controversy and at home. No other competent teams on the schedule, though secondary win over WSU is good since it's 40-14.
- Ohio State: handled Texas @ Texas, winning 24-7, though the game was closer than that implies. Big time marquee win. Struggled badly against a Penn State team that was obliterated by ND; Irish were in turn obliterated by Michigan. Transitive property?
- Michigan: BEAT DOWN Notre Dame by 26 points. Have ground out nearly identical victories in all other games, crushing opponents to the tune of 150-ish yards before garbage time and winning by about three scores. Secondary win over Wisconsin probably the best of the contenders.
- Southern Cal: Lamest big win of all candidates over a Nebraska team seemingly more focused on covering the spread than winning, deploying a mind-numbingly stupid three-TE rush attack most of the night. Obliterated an Arkansas team that's probably headed for 5-7 and struggled badly against crappy Arizona in other games.
- Florida: Marquee win @ Tennessee but in a squeaker. No other actual opponents on record. Had a goofy, narrow game against UK that was more fluky than anything.
So am I ranking Michigan #1? Hell no! I've seen what happens to people who tempt the wrath of the C/K Award -- Spartan fans everywhere can thank tES for their nationally-televised sack-kicking -- and wish to avoid that fate. But I think some people should and that the rapidly solidifying conventional wisdom that Ohio State is obviously the best team in the country is wrong. I urge you, poll voters, to consider the teams en toto and to refrain from blindly voting last week's #1 at the same spot despite a bad game versus a meh team. Down that path boringosity lies.
And now is the time on Sprockets when we vote.
- My "no looky" policy dropped Nebraska out after a 56-0 win over Troy. I'm fine with that since they showed no life in their one game against real competition.
- Wisconsin moves in after a loss. In short: I think their defense is pretty good and it's more palatable than FSU or some mid-major or something. Also their band kicks ass.
- WVU drops. I watched most of that game versus the ECU Pirates.
- Iowa drops. I didn't see the Illinois game but given their interminable awfulness Iowa's sluggish 24-7 victory is not impressive. I think I've dropped Iowa two or three spots every week so far.
- Clemson and Cal rocket up. I think Clemson deserves it, as their one loss was XP-induced and they've dropped the hammer on everyone else. Cal... well... they're obviously pretty good now that Longshore is not a disaster.
- MSU stays. Again: who else is a good option? They have a good win over Pitt and a close, hilarious loss to ND. That offense is really good, and they can't implode like that more than a couple times a year. Right?