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BLOG POLLIN': OFFICIAL WEEK FOUR BALLOT

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Update [2007-9-19 14:11:38 by SMQ]: As promised, notes and justification:

BlogPoll Ballot, Week Four
This is not a power poll.
1. LSU
2. Boston College
3. Florida
4. Oklahoma
5. Southern Cal
6. Oregon
7. South Carolina
8. Alabama
9. Ohio State
10. California
11. Kentucky
12. West Virginia
13. Clemson
14. Cincinnati
15. South Florida
16. Air Force
17. Kansas
18. Purdue
19. Texas Tech
20. Rutgers
21. Arizona State
22. Michigan State
23. Penn State
24. Texas
25. Wisconsin

Waiting: Tulsa, Washington, Georgia, Missouri, Texas A&M, Indiana, Connecticut, Hawaii, Nebraska, Arkansas
At the top, Boston College makes a strong push by waxing previously impressive Georgia Tech, its third straight conference win to open the season and second over one of last year's ACC championship participants, but LSU gets a boost from Mississippi State's win at Auburn to hang on to the top spot. B.C. ahead of Florida, Oklahoma and Southern Cal is a pretty arbitrary value judgment: I'll take three okay-to-good wins in real games over one very good win (is anyone willing to call pounding Tennessee, Miami or Nebraska a "great" win right now? Or Virginia Tech?) and two patsies. USC is only fifth, in fact, because it has one less patsy right now to its name. I can definitely accept arguments over that order.

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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Now, a little Q&A, via our poll maestro his own self, who wonders in connection with my ballot coming up (to my surprise, because it looks fairly mainstream to me for this early in the season, with one or two exceptions) as this week's Mr. Bold:
Question: just what has Kansas done against CMU, Toledo, and a I-AA team that's better than beating TCU, in the case of Texas, or Washington State, in the case of Wisconsin?
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Answer: Kansas has thoroughly obliterated all three teams, one of them the defending MAC champion, with no whiff of competition, where Texas and Wisconsin have struggled to varying extents with Arkansas State and Central Florida in the first case and UNLV and The Citadel in the latter – the Badgers were almost "Michiganed," in Brian's own words, even if I don't think the Citadel game was really all that close – which takes away from the more impressive wins over TCU (a 1-2 disappointment already after losing to Air Force) and Wazzou (subsequent wins over San Diego State and Idaho).

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.