Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My Top 25 Lacks a Certain Winged Helmety Presence

1 LSU 25
2 Southern Cal 24
3 Oklahoma 23
4 Louisville 22
5 Ohio State 21
6 California 20
7 West Virginia 19
8 Virginia Tech 18
9 Florida 17
10 Texas 16
11 Georgia 15
12 Georgia Tech 14
13 Rutgers 13
14 Auburn 12
15 Wisconsin 11
16 South Carolina 10
17 Penn State 9
18 UCLA 8
19 Arkansas 7
20 Boston College 6
21 Oregon State 5
22 Brigham Young 4
23 Oregon 3
24 TCU 2
25 Nebraska 1

Dropped Out:

My initial few polls are going to feature a lot of movement, especially since I never look at my old ballots when filling out a new one, not unlike the much promised, but never implemented Republican promise of budgeting without looking at the previous year's spending. Much of the movement is going to feature overreaction. For instance, I don't really think that Michigan isn't one of the 25 best teams in the country, but I do see significant potential for a meltdown this weekend if the Oregon offense is as good as advertised. Michigan's elevated pre-season expectations could end up having a whipsaw effect within the team.

I also think I'm overreacting a little on Georgia for two reasons. First, as we said before the game, Oklahoma State's weak defensive line was not going to present much of a test for the green Georgia offensive line. The good news is that Georgia doesn't really have any fearsome defensive lines on the slate. South Carolina's line should be fairly good, but after that, Alabama and Tennessee are both weak up front (at least by their standards) and Florida has talent and good coaching on the defensive line, but they are very green in that department. Georgia's schedule sets up very favorably for a team breaking in a new offensive line; the two best tests for that line come at the end of the season in the Auburn and Georgia Tech games. Then again, I thought that Michigan could hide its back seven problems because it wouldn't be facing any excellent quarterbacks this year, but Armanti Edwards proved me wrong. Talent can pop up in the strangest places.

Second, Georgia's defense certainly answered a lot of questions, as they shut down a very good offense. The possibility for overreaction here is that Bobby Reid showed a pattern last year of vacillating wildly between good and bad performances and that vacillation tended to follow the quality of the Pokes' opponents. Reid was dreadful last year against the three major Texas teams. Thus, leaving aside the sample size issue, I'm not totally sold on Georgia's defense just yet, although the evidence is certainly good after 60 minutes. Unfortunately, the schedule does not set up well to hide deficiencies in pass defense, as Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida will all be able to throw the ball well.

I bumped Ohio State way up there, although I'm not totally sure why because their running game was very disappointing on Saturday. It's probably just a reflex on my part in response to Michigan losing. If the world's gone wrong, then it stands to reason that Ohio State is very good. You just can't find that sort of hard-hitting analysis anywhere else. Two other top 25 teams that couldn't run the ball properly on Saturday are Texas and Virginia Tech; both face tests this weekend that will force them to start swimming or join Michigan at the bottom of the pool. (That's four "I can't get over Saturday" references in the space of four paragraphs. For your sake, let's hope I get some emotional closure at some point in the next several years.)

I bumped Cal and Wake Forest up, despite the fact that both beat teams that I thought were overrated before the season. I'm not sure that Cal's win really proved anything, unless Tennessee is a lot better than I think they are. No one ever doubted Cal's offense, but the defense allowed 31 points to an opponent that was missing its starting running back and deployed a brand new receiving corps. BC proved a little more in the sense that they showed a much more potent offense than they had shown under Tom O'Brien. That said, the value of beating the defending ACC champs has less value when the aforementioned defending champs were outgained in ACC play last year.


peacedog said...

One thing about that Oklahoma State DL. The two starting DEs - or at least the guys who were supposed to start - had something like 12 sacks and 12+ TFL last year. They were both allegedly kind of talented (probably relatively speaking) but had both been battling injuries. I think the DEs were better than people thought going in.

From what I've reading, Sturdivant was pretty good on his guy (and I didn't have many complaints in game. The game plan helped tremendously, of course). We clearly struggled somewhat with run blocking - a goodly amount of yardage came thanks to some great RB effort, and also some good blocking on the perimeter and the 2nd level - and I'm also reading we have PTA/FG blocking weaknesses to shore up.

Okie State was not a great test for the OL, though I wouldn't call it awful. I think part of the test was going out into a big (allegedly) game and not imploding, so we passed that at least.

SC should definately be a bigger test.

Matt said...

I enjoy your rankings, but FYI, the delta for each team always shows up as if each week was the first ranking (#1's delta is +25, etc.)