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BlogPoll Ballot, Week Three

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SMQ really, really does not have time to explain such things this morning, but since last week's ballot seemed to be involved in somewhat of a minor furor, at least a quick glimpse at this week's version is due.

Again, all rankings are compiled in haste and based strictly on performance to date, sans any prior rankings or notions or projections for the rest of the season. This was much more difficult to gauge after two games than after one, for reasons explained below.

BlogPoll, Week Three
This is not a power poll...
1. Ohio State
2. Notre Dame
3. LSU
4. Southern Cal
5. Auburn
6. Florida
7. Louisville
8. Oregon
9. Boise State
10. Nebraska
11. Tennessee
12. Michigan
13. West Virginia
14. Florida State
15. Texas A&M
16. Texas
17. Miami
18. Georgia
19. Boston College
20. Clemson
21. Arizona State
22. UCLA
23. Missouri
24. Rutgers
25. Oklahoma

Out: Minnesota, Iowa, Texas Tech, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech
Waiting: Virginia Tech, California, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Texas Tech, Fresno State

 - Looking it over, SMQ only has one quasi-regret, which is Texas A&M at 15. Ranking them ahead of Texas remains defensible: A&M has outscored its first two, terrible opponents by a combined 76 points, which seems roughly equal to crushing one lousy team and losing to a great one by 17. Or look at it this way: if the Aggies had played the exact same games to date as Texas, beating North Texas and losing to Ohio State, where would they be ranked? If Texas had played the same two games as TAMU? Putting A&M a spot above UT only raises eyebrows because of preconceived notions about these teams, and SMQ's not worried about that.

The real question to ask, the real challenge to the ballot's internal consistency, is 'Why isn't Oklahoma State up there, too?' Because the Cowboys have destroyed their first two, terrible opponents in about the same fashion as A&M; Rutgers and Missouri, too, have been only slightly less dominant against slightly better competition. So if he had a do-over, SMQ would probably drop TAMU into that early-twenties group. Again, this is so arbitrary at this point as to barely even draw a distinction between Nos. 15 and 23.

 - Every voter surely had to deal with the question of how much to punish Tennessee for needing a two-point conversion stop to beat Air Force after the dominating debut against Cal. SMQ pitted the Vols' first two games against Florida's: is one very impressive win over a presumably good team and one nailbiter over a so-so (or even bad) team better than two impressive wins over mediocre teams? SMQ gave the very, very slight advantage to UF's blowouts of two C-USA bowl teams, and, as a result, also had to give similar precedence over Tennessee to Louisville, Boise State and Nebraska. Why'd he stop there and not include Michigan and West Virginia, too? It seemed appropriate at the time, but there is no hard and fast reason. Oregon is there on the opposite merits: one appropriately huge win over a bad team, and a tougher win over a pretty good Fresno State outfit. Those spots could be rearranged any which way.

 - Nos. 18-25 all feature teams with one impressive performance and one less-formidable showing, none (Clemson and BC excepted) against daunting competition.