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BlogPoll Ballot, Week Nine
This is not a power poll.
1. LSU (7-1)
2. Arizona State (7-0)
3. Oregon (6-1)
4. Oklahoma (7-1)
5. Ohio State (8-0)
6. Boston College (7-0)
7. Kansas (7-0)
8. South Florida (6-1)
9. Missouri (6-1)
10. West Virginia (6-1)
11. Florida (5-2)
12. Virginia (7-1)
13. Georgia (5-2)
14. UCLA (5-2)
15. Alabama (6-2)
16. South Carolina (6-2)
17. Virginia Tech (6-1)
18. California (5-2)
19. Kentucky (6-2)
20. Auburn (5-3)
21. Penn State (6-2)
22. Connecticut (6-1)
23. Michigan (6-2)
24. Southern Cal (6-1)
25. Illinois (5-3)
Waiting: Texas, Texas A&M, Wake Forest, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Rutgers, Boise State, Texas Tech
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Unless you’re a Buckeye partisan or otherwise think Ohio State deserves its number one status everywhere else because it’s Ohio State, competition be damned, I think this is about as uncontroversial as ballots come – maybe a little too straight, under normal circumstances, too willing to promote and drop uncritically. LSU holds fast at number one, which is very obvious given the Tigers’ set of high profile wins, but the sextet behind them is virtually pure, conventional AP-ish advancement. Minus losers South Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky and California, the only change from the order of last week’s top dozen and this week’s top eight is OSU leapfrogging Boston College (adding Michigan State vs. adding a bye helps even those resumés) and Kansas hopping Missouri after its win in Boulder; the Arizona State-Oregon-Oklahoma trio just shifted upward by virtue of not losing. ASU didn’t play and Oregon and Oklahoma added just enough value in Washington and Iowa State to stay in front of the fast-gaining Buckeyes and Jayhawks. It’s not a wide margin:
AZ State Oregon Oklahoma Ohio State Boston Coll. Kansas
Michigan Missouri
Oregon St. Miami Purdue Wake Frst. K-State
Colorado Fresno St. Michigan St. GA Tech Colorado
Washington Washington Washington
Stanford Stanford Tulsa N'western
Wash. State Houston Iowa State NC State Baylor
Wash. State Minnesota Bwlng. Green Cent. Mich.
S.D. State No. Texas Kent State Notre Dame Toledo
S.J. State Utah State Akron Army Fla. Int'l.
Y'town State UMass SE Louisiana
California Colorado

This is pretty straightforward, although it should be noted it’s only a rough guide: for instance, I’d condense the sequence under Oregon from Fresno State through Washington State into one big mashup and take the average, because there aren’t that many tiers between those teams; as a loss, Colorado is much more damaging than Cal, especially under the specific circumstances of Oregon’s loss to the Bears. But as a rough guide, it works. I like the big wins at the top of Oklahoma’s schedule (even Miami, considering the extent of the beatdown) and the fact that ASU and Oregon, merely by virtue of playing in a league with nine conference games, where the presumptive bottom-dweller upset the five-time defending champion on the road, don’t have as much extraneous chaffe at the bottom of their resumés. North Texas, Utah State and Florida International are I-A teams in name only and, given what we’ve seen from the top of the Championship Subdivision this year, probably wouldn’t even qualify for the I-AA playoffs.

Under most circumstances, Arizona State wouldn’t be rewarded with a number two spot for its triumphs against mediocrity without a more valuable notch on its belt, but its competition is either in the same position, lacking a marquee win, or has other mitigating evidence, i.e. a loss. All the undefeated teams here will be stepping up in competition over the next month, and the order isn’t likely to change that much if they all keep winning, specifics of hypothetical wins notwithstanding.

Anyway, re: controversy, I’m still one of the leading contenders for both "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Manic-Depressive," again, so either I’m crazy or the other five dozen voters in this week’s poll are. What is wrong with you people?

There’s only one element of this poll that’s really manic-depressive relative to last week’s effort, and it’s West Virginia rocketing ahead of Florida, Georgia and Virginia to the eleventh spot. Mississippi State is not a terrible team (MSU’s win over Auburn, and the Tigers’ subsequent success, is still a boon to strength of schedule in the SEC, even moreso than Stanford’s win over USC in the Pac Ten, because the Bulldogs are hovering around .500 for the time being by virtue of not losing to mid-major schools) and the Mountaineers did crush State more than any SEC team to date save LSU, but I’m having a hard time explaining how exactly that win allowed WVU to move past Florida after the Gators beat Kentucky. My only defense is that I’m beginning to feel like a dramatically overrated Florida last week, with great flops by Tennessee and Ole Miss and a third loss by Auburn Saturday pushing that idea along. Again, all I can say is that this is close and it is being monitored.

Biggest drop without losing: Southern Cal, whose win over Notre Dame actually detracted from the average value of the Trojans’ schedule – beating the Irish right now is about the equivalent of beating San Jose State  – and allowed SC to get hopped by a string of big wiinners: the aforementioned Gators and Mountaineers, Virginia, UCLA, Alabama, UConn and Michigan (hello, Michigan). On Penn State being in front of Michigan, I plead the Fifth, but e-mail me and I’ll send you a spreadsheet that may or may not explain anything and that your computer probably won’t be able to open, anyway. Ditto on Illinois remaining in the poll, which doesn’t quite seem right, but I ask you: who else? Wake Forest? Texas? Texas A&M? Wisconsin, which lost to Illinois two and a half weeks ago?

This will be completely different next week. Hopefully more on the Buckeyes this afternoon.