Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Top 25 Safely Ignores the Little Guy

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

Dropped Out: Oregon State (#21), Brigham Young (#22), TCU (#24).

Thanks to BYU, Boise State, and TCU all losing by double digits to major conference opponents, I could happily fill out my ballot this morning without casting a glance at the non-BCS conferences. Imagine that: the little guys that good had to play difficult road games and now they won't be able to say "we're unbeaten! Hold me back! USC, we want a piece of you! Hold me back!" at the end of the season. Sir Topham Hat would be so proud of me.

Signs you've been watching too much Sprout.

I'm not wild about the Florida through Louisville stretch, as I have major concerns that none of these teams have an above-average defense. Florida seems to be the most likely to have a defense, at least at some point in the year, based on their talent and coaching. West Virginia looked shaky for three quarters against a Marshall team that Miami demolished in week one, although I'm willing to cut WVU a little slack because of the rivalry element at play in the "Friends of Coal Bowl." Louisville's defensive performance against Middle Tennessee State was appalling and Cal gave up 458 yards to Colorado State (although a chunk of those yards came after the Bears took a 34-14 lead). Rutgers looks like a more complete team than either Louisville or West Virginia, but the latter two teams have a style that can force their opponents into a shootout and then anything can happen. South Florida is also in the discussion after their impressive performance at Auburn. Long term, they might be the best team in the Big East, as there is a potential spot for a major power to rise up in Florida with Miami and Florida State both down. Their upside is bigger than that of any other team in the Big East, save for possibly Rutgers if Paterno hangs on for too long and damages Penn State's recruiting (again).

I punished Ohio State and Wisconsin pretty harshly for unimpressive wins against poor opponents, but both teams have good defenses, so closer wins over bad teams could be expected. I have a little more respect for Ohio State as opposed to Wisconsin, which seems practiced in the art of middling wins over the bad teams that overpopulate the Badgers' schedule, definitive losses against the good teams in the Big Ten, and then inexplicable bowl wins. This definitely looks like a bad year for the Big Ten. Penn State is the only team that has looked at all impressive, so barring an unforeseen surge from a team like Iowa or Michigan State, the league is going to send some average teams down to Florida for bowl games. Maybe the Bucks will get to come to Orlando to attempt to bolster their sterling record against SEC teams?

My poll says "hello!" to Alabama for the first time this year. I tried to find a spot for the Tide before the season, but now with teams falling out, they have a spot. The 14-point win over a game Vandy team is impressive to me, despite the fact that John Parker Wilson looked underwhelming. The defense seems to have gotten past the lack of size up front, although this week's game against Arkansas will be the true test. At this stage, I'd give Alabama fairly good odds to beat both Arkansas and Georgia in Tuscaloosa.


Anonymous said...

Here's what I don't quite understand. You punished (rightfully so) OSU and UW for being thoroughly unimpressive. But why was GT punished for beating who they are suppose to beat? I guess it's just overall punishment for even scheduling a game against Samford. In that case why reward Arkansas for scheduling and beating Troy?

Yet Auburn and VT still ranked in your top 25 despite losing to unranked South Florida and getting the snot beat out of them. Granted USF is underrated due to their directional-state moniker, but I'm sure there are teams that haven't been embarrassed as thoroughly as those 2. I can understand why UGA is still around. Overall, it just seems to me that the bottom of the rankings could be more... fluid? Especially since it consist of 3 teams who most certainly did not do well this weekend at all.

Unknown said...

What does it say about Bama's program when a 14 point win over Vandy is excitement time?

For whatever reason I actually watched that whole game - wasn't very impressed with Bama. Vandy's (pre-season 3rd team All-SEC) quarterback was dreadful. So bad that they actually pulled him at the beginning of the 3rd quarter - blamed it on a hamstring. He missed a TON of wide open receivers. They also had some mysterious penalties called against them that took points off the board. Parker Wilson is just about the equivalent of Brandon Cox except he has slightly more mobility. The RB for Bama looked pretty good, but he wasn't getting touched on many of his big runs. The Vandy D-line just wore down in the 2nd half (as they have for the past 30 years).

Anyways, sorry for the analysis on the random game. For some reason I watched the whole thing. I've heard a lot of praise for Bama based on the final score, but I didn't see anything impressive. I guess we'll know more by Saturday night about the Tide.

Anonymous said...

kenny, isn't that more a reflection of how Vandy isn't nearly the joke it once was? Or am I still stuck in the Jay Cutler era?