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Blog Pollin': Official Week Three Ballot

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This week's resumé-based ballot brought to you by late-nineties pop flameout New Radicals, whose volatile frontman Gregg Alexander reminds readers,

The Jackie Sherrill of ridiculously catchy music: peaked in the fall of 1999, never heard from again.
- - -
Fly high
What's real can't die
You only get what you give

- - -
What's real this week is wins over what I consider legit teams, because there are only a few: Miami and Virginia Tech weren't competitive in their first tests of the season Saturday and may wind up outside of the polls altogether - certainly neither has done anything yet to warrant a vote - but for all we know now, based on our preconception of Miami and Virginia Tech as competitive, highly competent teams, LSU and Oklahoma might just be that good. Their games were the two most lopsided, most immediately impressive blowouts of the season, and the Tigers and Sooners are 1-2 without much competition.
BlogPoll Ballot, Week Three
This is not a power poll.
1. LSU
2. Oklahoma
3. California
4. South Carolina
5. Boston College
7. Washington
8. Texas
9. Oregon
10. Nebraska
11. Arizona State
12. Clemson
13. South Florida
14. Cincinnati
15. Penn State
16. Georgia Tech
17. Wisconsin
18. West Virginia
19. Texas Tech
20. Michigan State
21. Iowa
22. Georgia
23. Kansas
24. Florida
25. Missouri
Waiting: Tennessee, Ohio State, Wyoming, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisville, Rutgers, TCU, BYU, Southern Cal
Cal and South Carolina are rewarded for good wins over Tennessee and Georgia, respectively, though nothing like the decapitating done by the top two teams in their big games, with the `Cocks getting a healthy boost from the transitive property while the gettin's good this early in the year: their win over UGA is the only so far over a team that itself has a "quality win," in the form of the Bulldogs' wiping out Oklahoma State  in the opener. If there's an inflationary concern at the top - and there is for almost any team I could consider, since virtually all candiates have engaged in delicious cupcake time at least one of the first two weeks, thus carrying a penalty for empty calories - it may be Boston College, which has faced and soundly defeated a pair of 0-2 teams, Wake Forest and NC State. But, like "good win/OK win" dichotomy that applies to each of the four teams that immediately succeed the Eagles, at least it's an attempt to get some meat on the schedule early (in B.C.'s case, a mandated attempt due to conference scheduling requirements, but still: two non-Duke ACC games are two non-Duke ACC games, and while BC hasn't obliterated anyone, it has won them convincingly). At the other end, beginning with West Virginia at 18 and excluding only Georgia through the end of the ballot, are double cupcake teams still waiting for their first test of competency. Georgia is wedged between the low-end mid-major bashers (WVU, Texas Tech, Michigan State, Iowa) and those with the shameful mark of a I-AA massacre on their cloaks (Florida and Kansas).

Missouri...Missouri just makes me pause. The Tigers have beaten two BCS conference teams, but it was Illinois and Ole Miss, two of the worst, most mid-major-like of the available options. And Mizzou's defense has struggled dramatically to stop attacks that were striving to improve to mediocrity - 484.5 allowed per game to Ole Miss and Illinois. Eh. Win is a win is a win, and everyone below Missouri has either lost or feasted on the even sicker and weaker, but the Tigers are in with a bullet for now.

In between, there are teams with some combination of good win/OK win/virtually ignorable win. For the time being, Michigan and Notre Dame are more or less "OK wins" that boost Penn State and Georgia Tech, whose other efforts have come so far against Florida International and The Citadel Samford, respectively. Arizona State and Nebraska are tough cases: both have smashed weaker returning bowl teams from the WAC (San Jose State for ASU and Nevada for the Huskers), and then taken out game but inferior competition from one of the bigger conferences (Colorado and Wake Forest). Teams 12-16 all have decent wins to their name but have also beaten I-AA teams into the ground (or in South Florida's case, just  enough that it didn't look too close against Elon), and when in doubt, any schedule that doesn't include a I-AA opponent on it has priority at this point in the year.

This will be completely different next week.