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Monday, September 25, 2006

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.
Am I being a shameless homer if I contend that Michigan's resume is the best, albeit by a very narrow margin? When six minutes were left in Michigan's most recent game they were was up 17 and sending in the second team defense. Ohio State, on the other hand, was up eight and facing a potential -- if highly improbable -- game tying drive before Morelli gift-wrapped two Buckeye touchdowns. Given that Penn State has looked like crap this year, I think that's advantage Michigan. And while Texas is probably much better than ND, Michigan's win was significantly more emphatic. Meanwhile, Southern Cal has played two atrocious offenses and a Nebraska team that voluntarily made their offense atrocious. The two SEC teams earned their marquee wins by the skin of their teeth and have no one comparable to Wisconsin in their pile o' skulls.

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.

1 Auburn 3
2 Michigan 1
3 Ohio State 2
4 Southern Cal 2
5 Florida --
6 Louisville 2
7 Texas 2
8 Virginia Tech 2
9 West Virginia 3
10 Iowa 3
11 Louisiana State --
12 Clemson 7
13 Tennessee 1
14 Cal 7
15 Oregon 2
16 Oklahoma 2
17 Notre Dame 2
18 Georgia 2
19 TCU 4
20 Boise State 4
21 Michigan State 4
22 Rutgers 3
23 Missouri 3
24 Wisconsin 2
25 Georgia Tech 1

Dropped Out: Boston College (#18), UCLA (#20), Nebraska (#22).

  • 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?
As always, I await stern corrections.