Update [2007-9-19 14:11:38 by SMQ]: As promised, notes and justification:
Waiting: Tulsa, Washington, Georgia, Missouri, Texas A&M, Indiana, Connecticut, Hawaii, Nebraska, Arkansas
But the Eagles haven't avoided patsies; they've only delayed them. The next four games are Army, UMass, Bowling Green and Notre Dame, so B.C. will not be in the top five for long as its schedule weakens considerably.
The next ten spots – Oregon through South Florida – aren't separated by much. All ten teams have one solid win over another respectable team accompanied by weak sister wipeouts. Cal loses a little luster as the value of beating Tennessee takes a hit this week. West Virginia, because it's win over Maryland is the only "quality win" blowout aside from Ohio State's over Washington, is probably a little underrated in retrospect, though the Mountaineers' do lose some points for a comeback win at Marshall after the Herd's loss to a I-AA team Saturday.
Who dares question Mangino?!
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Admittedly, it's not a very wide gap; every team beginning with the Jayhawks down is 3-0 without a strong win, or with a suspiciously close win (or two) against a much weaker team. I try to judge every game equally, so one decent win can be somewhat negated by a sketchy win like Texas' over Arkansas State on the other end. Purdue, Texas Tech, Rutgers and Arizona State all have virtually identical, cupcake-strewn resumes after three weeks (Purdue and Kansas, in fact, have both crushed Central Michigan, Toledo and a I-AA team), but at least they've devoured the cupcakes as expected. Texas and Wisconsin haven't. Penn State has, but – again, as Brian has pointed out himself – the Lions' non-conference schedule with Notre Dame's collapse is potentially the worst in Big Ten history. All of these teams will make giant strides with conference wins.