|Last week's ballot|
Dropped Out: Oregon State (#10), Arizona (#18), California (#22), Oklahoma State (#23), West Virginia (#24), Arkansas (#25).
- This ballot was a little easier than most prior versions because we finally had some teams - Iowa, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, and BYU - playing like good teams. I have a hard time justifying the Hokies dropping after an excellent Peach Bowl performance. The only explanation is that Iowa and Penn State both looked very good against better opponents and jumped the Hokies. Plus, the ACC took its customary hit in the bowl games.
- The last spot on my ballot came down to a mish-mash of teams. I thought about Oregon State, but they laid such an egg against BYU that I couldn't rank them in good conscience. (Also, Sagarin doesn't like the Beavers.) I wanted to leave Arkansas in the poll, but they were very fortunate to win their bowl game. I gave Auburn some thought, but they lost to Arkansas and Georgia, their win over West Virginia lost a little luster when the Mountaineers were no longer on the ballot, and they did have that whole "losing record in conference" thing. In the end, I went with Georgia over Oklahoma State for the spot, even though the Dawgs lost to the Cowboys, because Okie State got worse as the season progressed and Georgia did leave us with a good pair of performances at the end. Sagarin agrees, as he would make the Dawgs a three-point favorite on a neutral field against the Pokes.
- I went back and forth on Florida and Texas for #2. Texas did play Alabama tougher, even without their quarterback. On the other hand, Florida played a tougher schedule and their win over Cincinnati was better than anything on the Texas resume. I didn't give serious consideration to putting Boise State higher than #4 because their overall resume isn't as good, but that will not be the case next August.
- In the realm of "why do I do this to myself," here was the college football discussion on The Sports Reporters yesterday: (1) Alabama wasn't that impressive in light of the fact that Colt McCoy got hurt; (2) Alabama has eight national titles, not 13; and (3) the preseason polls in college football are very important (note to Bob Ryan: Alabama opened the season behind Florida and Texas and passed them both by mid-October, despite the fact that Florida and Texas were unbeaten at the time) and Boise State should be near the top next year.
- Alabama finished 14-0 against Sagarin's #2 ranked schedule. No team played more games against top ten or top 30 opponents. I don't think that I'm going out on a limb by saying that the two best SEC teams of the decade came in the final two years: '08 Florida and '09 Alabama. In fact, you'd have a hard time coming up with a team in the 90s that could match them. Florida '96 would be a possibility, followed by '92 Alabama. I smell a topic for the offseason.