Rankings, Week 3

I feel awful about this poll. A lot of my preseason assumptions have been wrong, and with a sample size of just two weekends worth of games, it’s impossible to tell what are aberrations and what are trends. Even moreso than last week, there were a lot more teams I wanted to drop in the poll than I wanted to move up, so some teams moved up or stayed even despite having not so good games. Here goes nothing…

  1. LSU (+3)
  2. Oklahoma (-1)
  3. USC (-1)
  4. West Virginia (-1)
  5. Florida (NC)
  6. Penn State (+3)
  7. California (+4)
  8. Wisconsin (NC)
  9. Texas (+4)
  10. Ohio State (+2)
  11. Louisville (-5)
  12. Boston College (+3)
  13. Rutgers (+5)
  14. South Florida (+11)
  15. Georgia Tech (+11)
  16. Arkansas (+4)
  17. South Carolina (+17)
  18. Oregon (+9)
  19. Tennessee (-2)
  20. Virginia Tech (-9)
  21. Georgia  (-13)
  22. Nebraska (-6)
  23. Washington (+3)
  24. Cincinnati (+2)
  25. Auburn (-8)

Dropped Out: TCU (-6), Oregon State (-5), Hawaii (-4), Boise State (-3)

LSU takes the top spot for being very impressive in demolishing Virginia Tech, even though I have Oklahoma picked for winning the national title. This poll tries to balance talent, coaching, expectations, and performance, and LSU matches up well against Oklahoma in talent and expectations, but no one has done more on the field than LSU has. Oklahoma drops back a spot to second. USC drops back to third, and actually plays again this Saturday. West Virginia drops back a spot due to LSU’s leap. The Mountaineers looked shaky in the first half, but chock that up to Marshall finally getting to play WVU after 92 years of trying to get the game to be played. Florida holds steady at 5, waiting with cautious optimism for the Tennessee game this Saturday.

Hey Miami – Sam Bradford just threw another TD pass.

Penn State comes in at 6 mainly because I don’t know who should go there, and the Nittany Lions are as good as anyone for that spot. California hops up to 7 despite sleepwalking through the first half at Colorado State. Wisconsin holds at 8 despite sleepwalking though the whole game at UNLV. Texas jumps back into the top 10 for beating a TCU team with a legit defense. Ohio State comes in at 10 because for as unimpressive at the win over Akron was, it doesn’t look as bad as some of the other games this weekend because 20-2 victories are the sort of thing Jim Tressel pulls when he doesn’t want to show anything in beating an inferior team.

Penn State at number 6? Joe Paterno’s fired up.

Louisville drops back to 11 for giving up 42 points to MTSU. When asked what he did to adjust the defense at halftime, Steve Kragthorpe said, “Nothing in particular.” Not a good sign with Kentucky coming. Boston College comes in outrageously overrated at 12 mainly for winning by double digits twice over conference opponents. Rutgers is at 13 because I don’t know who else to put there. South Florida leaps all the way to 14 for winning at Auburn. The Bulls will likely slide back down from here, but for now I’m happy for them. Georgia Tech also leaps to 15, but mainly because I think that’s about right for the second-best ACC team and with Virginia Tech looking helpless, GT passes them and has to go here.

South Florida players celebrate the biggest win in school history.

Arkansas moves up to 16 because other teams fell and because Darren McFadden himself is probably a top-40 offense. South Carolina shows up at 17. I am still not sold on them because of the unpredictable nature of Blake Mitchell, but the Georgia win is enough to put them here – for now. Oregon debuts at 18, mainly because I am now sufficiently convinced that the Ducks are real. I thought Michigan would bounce back, and they tried to, but Oregon showed no mercy and ran a sweet fake Statue of Liberty play to hammer the Wolverines. Tennessee slips a couple spots for having trouble with Southern Miss, though there could have been a hangover from Cal/looking ahead to Florida combination causing that to happen. Virginia Tech slides all the way to 20. Was LSU that good or VT that bad? We’ll find out in the coming weeks.

Taking a page from Yoshi in Super Smash Bros., Oregon pounds the ground on the way to victory.

Georgia comes in at 21, having fallen the farthest this week. For as good as the Bulldogs looked against Oklahoma State, they sure looked bad against South Carolina. I really don’t know how good UGA is. Nebraska slides back 6 spots for having serious trouble with Wake Forest, preparing for its slide out of the poll with its upcoming loss to USC approaching quickly. Washington debuts in the poll at 23 for ending the nation’s longest winning streak against Boise State. Cincinnati is the wild card at 24, having used pretty much everything but offensive proficiency to blow out Oregon State. Auburn barely stays ranked at 25, though Brandon Cox looks a lot worse than I thought he’d be. This could be a momentary catch  for the Tigers before falling out completely.

Redshirt freshman Jake Locker is a big reason why Washington is ranked. Think Ty Willingham feels vindicated yet?

TCU, Oregon State, and Boise State all drop out because of losing. Hawaii drops out because as a general rule, if you need overtime to beat Louisiana Tech, you’re not worthy of being in the top 25 for the following week. I know Vince Dooley’s son Derek is making La Tech a lot better, but still. Hawaii’s defense needs a lot of work.

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