It’s Monday, which means it’s time for me to release my weekly poll. I apologize for missing it last week; I spent most of that time on the sidelines due to illness.
Now that I’m on the mend, here are a couple of things to remember about my poll:
- This poll is a projection of where each team will finish the season.
- I always factor strength of schedule into my rankings. Polls should reward teams that beat quality competition.
- Unlike some others in the “mainstream” media, I am happy to defend this list. If you disagree (or if you agree and want to tell me how awesome I am), please contact me on Twitter @SectionTPJ.
1. Florida State – Yes, the ‘Noles remain in the top spot. After all, they had no trouble improvising, adapting, and overcoming adversity.
2. Alabama – The Crimson Tide continue to inch their way closer to the top spot. Destroying Florida for 645 yards of total offense is no easy task. Nor is holding a Kurt Roper-coached offense to just 200 yards.
3. Oregon – Unlike the other media polls, I refuse to drop Oregon simply because it didn’t completely annihilate Washington State on Saturday night. Winning a conference road game is no easy task, especially in a league as deep as the Pac-12.
4. Texas A&M – It ruffled a few feathers when I announced it on College Sports Weekly, but the Aggies would make the playoffs if the season ended today. After all, they do have one of the most impressive road wins of the season on their resume.
5. Baylor – Idle. The Bears are currently on the outside looking in thanks to an extremely soft non-conference schedule.
6. UCLA – Idle.
7. Michigan State – Idle… No, wait: the Spartans played Eastern Michigan, which is pretty much the same thing.
8. Oklahoma – The Sooners’ impressive victory over West Virginia vaults them over Auburn into the eighth spot this week. Beating a solid Mountaineer team on the road by a bigger margin than Alabama (which played WVU at a “neutral” site) did speaks volumes about how good Bob Stoops’ team really is.
9. Auburn – I usually don’t drop a team based on the results of just one game. However, the Tigers’ less-than-impressive win coupled with Oklahoma’s emphatic victory leads me to believe that the Sooners are the better team. Of course, by playing in the toughest division in college football, Auburn will have plenty of opportunities to change that opinion.
10. South Carolina – It wasn’t pretty, but the Gamecocks eked out a victory over Vanderbilt to remain in the top 10.
11. Georgia – The Dawgs did just about everything right in their 66-0 win over Troy. However, since they’ll likely finish behind South Carolina in the SEC East standings, they remain behind the Gamecocks.
12. Washington – The final margin of victory looks impressive until you consider that Georgia State was shutting the Huskies out at halftime. But, since the game has no bearing on where UW finishes in the Pac-12, the Huskies remain at No. 12 this week.
13. Notre Dame – Idle.
14. Mississippi State – The Bulldogs debut at No. 14 this week after beating LSU 34-29. The way they moved the ball at will against the Tiger defense (576 yards of total offense) and shut down the Bayou Bengal running game (89 yards) leads me to believe that MSU will finish in the upper half of the division this year. As long as Dak Prescott remains healthy, this is a very dangerous team.
15. Wisconsin – The Badgers’ 68-17 victory over Bowling Green is more impressive than it looks. Remember, just last week, the Falcons upset Indiana, which upset defending SEC champion Missouri yesterday.
16. Stanford – Idle.
17. Clemson – No, the Tigers don’t drop this week. Remember, this poll is about where I think teams will finish the season. Since I expected Clemson to lose the ‘Noles, there’s no change this week.
18. Nebraska – Thanks to a 229-yard effort by Ameer Abdullah, the Cornhuskers were able to withstand 359 yards passing from Miami’s Brad Kaaya.
19. Penn State – Idle.
20. Oklahoma State – Idle.
21. Ohio State – Idle.
22. USC – Idle.
24. LSU – The Tigers tumble 10 spots this week, after losing to Mississippi State. It’ll be interesting to see what Les Miles does at quarterback before the team travels to Jordan-Hare in two weeks to face Auburn.
25. BYU – The Cougars debut in this week’s poll after a decisive victory over Virginia. I wonder if the ACC regrets the decision to not include games with BYU as a “quality non-conference” game.