"Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before."
- Jacob A. Riis -
(Riis had things much more important and meaningful in mind than football -- but since we're a bunch of football degenerates, let's just take that and go with it as it pertains to Michael Dyer, our offense and defense individually, as well as to our team as a whole.)
Stuff that's even MORE serious, after the jump:
|3||Alabama Crimson Tide||--|
|4||Boise St. Broncos||--|
|5||Oklahoma St. Cowboys||--|
|8||Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||1|
|11||Arizona St. Sun Devils||4|
|14||Michigan St. Spartans||4|
|15||Illinois Fighting Illini||--|
|16||Kansas St. Wildcats||7|
|17||Texas Tech Red Raiders||7|
|20||Texas A&M Aggies||-10|
|23||Virginia Tech Hokies||-10|
Dropouts: South Florida Bulls, South Carolina Gamecocks, Baylor Bears, TCU Horned Frogs
So, this is going up a day late due to technical issues. These would not be technical issues like those suffered by the South Carolina offense this past weekend, nor would they be like those suffered by Houston Nutt's so-sad-that-it's-hilarious recruiting machine.
We're link-heavy this week, so consider yourself warned. Let's take a look under the hood:
1. LSU - Some would say that Kentucky isn't much of a test for a team that's atop the rankings and that wishes to remain there. And that's probably true...except for those times that it's not. So, a little sparring with Kentucky wasn't the most productive way for LSU to spend their time -- is Ball State or a Florida team led by a true freshman that looks like he could be classmates with Opie from the Andy Griffith Show? So, LSU remains at the top until they convince me otherwise (and if Tyrann Mathieu has his way, any drop in ranking will be accompanied by blunt force trauma to the head).
2. Oklahoma - So I hear Oklahoma played Saturday. Cool. How'd things go for Ball State? Well? Oh. I see. Well that's very unfortunate for Ball State. I hope they're able to recover their football team from the wreckage as well.
3. Alabama - I really struggled with this. And while their convincing showing against Florida left me wanting to elevate them, I still couldn't convince myself that they'd beat either Oklahoma or LSU. And since we enjoy a pleasant, collegial relationship with our brethren-rivals, I know that they'll take this news with the grace and dignity befitting their upstanding fanbase (moneyshot in the first link: ending a 1500-word article all about Auburn with "consider me largely unconcerned").
4. Boise State - No, I don't even need to ask how some of you feel about their presence here. Considering some of those doubters were the same ones trying to hard-sell me on A&M and Florida futures a few weeks ago, I'll take that under advisement.
(I'm just kidding -- I love all of you. Unless you're a Georgia fan, in which case you are a sad, pitiful slice of humanity that is incapable of being loved.)
7. Wisconsin - Some may wonder why the Badgers aren't ranked higher after they vanquished their bizarro-world counteraparts. Like some teams, Nebraska hadn't really been tested by a good team, and after watching Saturday's game (because I hate myself and want to die a slow, painful death, that's why), I'm not sure that they were as good as advertised, to begin with. Once Wisconsin tucks another quality win under their belt, expect to see them rise (yes, probably even over Boise State, so leave me alone about it already).
9, 10, 11, 12 Oregon, Michigan, Arizona State, and (ugh) Clemson - Before you send someone to my office to express your displeasure, understand that these teams moved up primarily as a function of the teams that were here vacating the premises. They are ranked in roughly the order I'd expect them to perform against one another (that is to say, Oregon could beat Michigan, Michigan could beat Arizona State, and Arizona State could banish Clemson to the abyss forever).
13. Arkansas - There haven't been many teams that have left me quite as torn as Arkansas. It doesn't help that they're next up on our schedule either. They got steamrolled by Alabama, but hey, who hasn't been? They looked lackluster against A&M, but then came out and lit it up in the second half. Next week will go a way toward helping me figure them out. They end up here because despite Meathead Spielman's "I'm not questioning his courage, but I have to wonder if he's really thinking about his throws" bit, Tyler Wilson seems to be a more than capable executor for a Bobby Peterino offense.
15, 16, 17. Michigan State, Illinois, Kansas State - See: above. You may criticize, but at this point in the season, I'm willing to give unbeaten teams a bit of a nudge. Yes, A&M might beat Kansas State, or Nebraska might beat Texas Tech...but would you bet on it? I wouldn't. And in cases like these, I'm giving the nod to the unbeaten team for now, because...
(And here it's worth noting one of my general rules about the ranking of teams....up or down, a team shouldn't move much more than ten. Anymore than that, and you may end up with some real forced movement to account for later placement. Please remember that -- it will be important later.)
18, 20, 22, 23. Florida, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Virginia Tech - While the methodology may have differed among this group, the end result most definitely did not. Florida suffered the game that got way out of hand due to an injury to what was apparently their entire offense; A&M suffered the epic chokejob; Nebraska suffered the loss that was never really within reach; and Virginia Tech...well, do I even need to go there? So all this upheaval leaves things very unstable -- and given that nature abhors a vacuum, that brings us to the presence of...
19. Houston - It may have been tough to catch Houston's game, and how they dropped the hammer when they needed to. But they did. And by virtue of their record, here they are. Case Keenum makes a strong case for not counting this team out.
25. Washington - Welcome to the Top 25, Washington! After years of struggling, you've earned recognition in my books, and I look forward to your long and memorable stay.
Anyone I forgot? Anyone? Good. Time to shut it down...
Yeah, about, uh...that. Y'know. A team that might not be appearing here, and whose absence has left you howling in outrage (and wondering what to do with me).
Mea culpa. I did my ballot very early on Sunday morning, and had no frame of reference for where to place Auburn. While my heart said "oh hell, YES," the logical part of me said "think like one of our anti-Auburn visitors" and to consider the close calls against Utah State and Mississippi State (neither one of which has looked especially good since)...and to consider the extreme difficulty they had in their one "definitive" win. So, in the interests of not being too much of a homer, I tried to apply the "who would they beat" metric as objectively as possible, in order to break the deadlock of one-loss teams (excluding those that were already in the rankings).
Once the media polls came out, I thought "uh oh," but felt I might be saved by the rest of the college football's apparent distaste for Auburn and their close wins. Turns out I was very, very wrong.
Though one might note that everyone's scrambling to rank them created a delta of +18, which is pretty anomalous. See what I mean about flinging teams more than ten spots? Yes, it left me with a seemingly broken Texas A&M on my hands (which I AM trying to get rid of as quickly as possible, I assure you), but for the most part it's been a good way of getting overly punitive for a loss.
I avoided the temptation to go back and do some quick editing just for the sake of avoiding your wrath. So, here, you get to revel in my utter wrongness, and tell me all about it. Go ahead. I earned it.