Again, not an official blogpoll ballot...
Holy crap, another silly day.
Instead of trying to do the usual "who is the best undefeated team" dance, this is more of a "who is the best team" thing. Had Cal won tonight - would anyone honestly, truly think that they were the best team in the country. No way. Herewith:
1. Ohio State - Yeah, undefeated, so I'm abandoning my rule pretty early. But they seem to be as good as anyone else, AND they've come out of their early-season funk when they had trouble scoring. Currently a buzzsaw.
2. LSU - Still like them a lot, still highly talented. They're going to be around at the end.
3. USC - Some leaks, yeah, especially if Booty is out. But as likely as anyone to get on a huge, huge run.
4. Oklahoma - The Colorado loss is looking more and more like nothing more than a bad day.
Those are pretty easy, really - after those four, you've got a group of flawed / unproven teams.
5. Boston College - not QUITE ready to sign that petition, but they've beaten a couple of good teams. This week's trip to Va Tech will tell a lot.
6. Oregon - a brain-lock away from being undefeated heading into USC.
7. Cal - ditto.
8. South Florida - this would be West Virginia, but...well, the Bulls beat 'em. I think West Virginia is actually better, and would have a much better chance to beat a good team, but results are results.
9. West Virginia - see above.
10. Florida - another really, really good team, but again, results don't lie. That said, there's only a couple teams that scare me more. Could be #5, could be #15. This seems right.
11. Kentucky - again, a flawed team (starting with their coach), but some serious big wins. You could beat them by 20, or vice versa.
12. South Carolina - I don't know. Yeah, they beat Kentucky and an OK Georgia team, but LSU handled them. I can't help but think they're doing it with smoke and mirrors, but they've got a coach that can pull that off. Interesting sched to go, too, with Tennessee, Florida and Clemson remaining. They could go 3-0 or 0-3.
13. Virginia Tech - another 'dunno' team. They're 6-1, but the loss was an absolute pounding at the hands of LSU.
...you could invert the rest of these guys top to bottom and I probably wouldn't argue with you.
14. Kansas - probably premature, as they're yet to beat anyone really good, but they're beating the crap out of people, and the defense is on its second season of being great. Until they prove otherwise.
15. Virginia - also still lacking a signature win, but winning games.
16. Missouri - Lost to Oklahoma, but hung in and played tough. The Illinois win looks less impressive than it did a few hours ago, and hammered Nebraska a couple weeks ago. A big time offense and good defense. Texas Tech looms.
17. Michigan - yeah, homer pick. Bite me.
18. Arizona State - it's still halftime, and they're losing. Ty Willingham still has plenty of time to gag it.
19. Auburn - boy, that 9-7 win over Arkansas must have been a real humdinger. That southern speed, you know. A loss to South Florida (a loss that looks a lot better than it did at the time) and a close one to much-improved Misssissippi State, or they'd be much more highly regarded. I wouldn't want them.
20. Hawaii - I still don't think they're, you know, good.
21. Cincinnati - a nice defense, an innovative coach, and a mushy Big East - all the ingredients of a superficially impressive record.
22. Texas Tech - a dynamite offense, as always, but they held a really good Texas A&M offense (that was 24th in the country) to 7 points this week. I'm willing to see more.
23. Penn State - one of the worst QBs in the country, but a terrific rush defense.
24. Alabama - whatever
25. Michigan State - ditto.