|Last week's ballot|
Dropped Out: Utah (#23), Arkansas (#25).
Bulleted thoughts on the weekend:
- This is a provisional ballot, so any thoughts on moving teams around would be welcome. I didn't realize that I gave LSU such a bump until I entered the rankings. I also wanted to include Michigan and Auburn, but I couldn't find room.
- You know you're in the South when you go to a six p.m. wedding on a Saturday in the Fall and half the men at the reception are staring and their phones and are furtively giving each other updates on games. In case you're wondering, I was in line for my first drink when Tate Forcier his Greg Mathews in the end zone. I was singing the chorus to "Angel Eyes" at the top of my lungs when Rennie Curran knocked Stephen Garcia's fourth down pass to the ground.
- When the wife and I got into the car to go to the wedding, the Michigan game was coming out of halftime. I remarked to her that it was a good thing that I wasn't going to see the second half because the Irish were moving the ball at will. Despite the fact that Michigan won the game, I came out of it quite impressed with Notre Dame. I still don't think that Charlie Weis is an above-average gameday coach, but he is a terrific recruiter and he has assembled quite a collection of players. The Notre Dame offensive line has gone from a laughing stock to a solid unit, one that gave Jimmy Clausen an embarrassing amount of time to throw the ball against a reasonably good pass rushing defensive line. Clausen is living up to billing, although the jury is still out on his ability to make decisions under duress. Notre Dame's receivers are legitimate. In short, this Notre Dame team might actually give Southern Cal a run for their money for only the second time since the Trojans got good.
- Sometimes, the manner of a rival's demise leads to extra special feelings of schadenfreude. You know, like Michigan State losing in classic "SPARTY NO!!!" fashion after a year of hearing about how this program is totally different under Mark Dantonio.
- Does Auburn have an offense this year? I have a hard time picking between Georgia 41 South Carolina 37 and Auburn 49 Mississippi State 24 as the more shocking score. The SEC West already looked loaded with Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, and a potentially frisky Arkansas. If Auburn is also a top 25-caliber team, then the division looks insane. Step aside, Big XII South.
- Does anyone want to venture a guess as to the number of North Carolina fans who switched from their team's ugly display in Storrs to the Penn State-Syracuse game just to see Greg Paulus take a beating?
- How am I going to handle the Negative Grohmentum implications of Rich Rodriguez winning Big Ten Coach of the Year? At this point, I have to root for Northwestern or Minnesota to have a big year to prevent an uncomfortable summer of disowning another theory.
- Sometimes, a fan base suffers through a year of an inept walk-on quarterback and is rewarded with a true freshman who has a preternatural ability to elude a rush and make accurate throws in critical circumstances. Other times, a fan base suffers through a year of Jonathan Crompton and is rewarded with another year of Jonathan Crompton. I have no love for Tennessee and I certainly don't like their head coach, but I feel bad for Big Orange fans, not to mention the guys on defense who look like they have another year of short fields ahead of them.
- Name teams that struggled for 2-3 quarters against minnows on Saturday: Texas, Alabama, and Florida State. The 'Noles were actually trailing Jacksonville State 9-7 going into the fourth quarter. Something tells me that BYU isn't quaking in their boots at the prospect of playing Florida State in Provo.
- What do you think an Ohio State fan thinks when he/she watches the Cincinnati offense in operation?