A sixth different team assumes the top spot on the ol' BlogPoll ballot this year -- Alabama, despite winning a thriller in Baton Rouge, gets their #1 ranking jacked by Mike Leach's band of marauding pirates. Lame, half-assed explanations follow.
Games watched: Virginia Tech-Maryland, Georgia-Kentucky, Alabama-LSU, most of Texas Tech-Oklahoma State.
Waiting room: Georgia Tech, Boston College, Oregon, West Virginia, Minnesota.
Dropped out: West Virginia (16), Georgia Tech (18), Kansas (21), Northwestern (22), Minnesota (23).
· First things first: Yes, there is a new #1, and while I'm not fully comfortable with the idea of dropping a team after a road win over a ranked opponent, let's compare the top two teams' performances this weekend: Alabama needed overtime to put away LSU, and scored only 14 offensive points in regulation against a team that allowed 38 to Georgia and 44 to Florida; Texas Tech, on the other hand, had a perfect letdown opportunity a week after knocking off then-#1 Texas but instead went to work and gave a 56-20 spanking to a top-10 team. Both the Tide and the Red Raiders, of course, will be tested a couple times between now and BCS selection Sunday, so there's plenty of time for this to get sorted out.
· The end result of this week's top-10 juggling is Penn State dropping five spots, Oklahoma taking their place in the top five, and Oklahoma State dropping only two spots despite catching a 36-point beatdown in Lubbock. Yeah, I probably should've dropped them more, but I couldn't put them below Missouri, whom they beat a few weeks ago, or Georgia, who drops two spots because top-10 teams simply don't give up 38 points to Kentucky.
· Below 16 or so, we once again have our usual revolving door of only-intermittently-good Big 10 and ACC teams. North Carolina is back in the rankings after smacking Georgia Tech around on Saturday, which means you should bet your life savings on Maryland over the Tarheels this weekend. BYU, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Virginia Tech also find their way back into the top 25 after victories of varying degrees of awesomeness. Air Force gets this week's "OK, I gotta find one more team to throw in here" award at #25, but they're 8-2 and only lost to Utah by a TD, so they're as worthy as anyone else at this point.
And now the SEC Power Poll ballot:
1. Florida -- The Gators have become so dominant that they couldn't even figure out a way to get played close by Vanderbilt, which has frequently been their M.O. against the Commodores this late in the season. Unless Steve Spurrier can find a way to punk his old team again, it looks like the SEC championship is going to be a play-in game for the BCS National Championship tilt. As well it should be.
2. Alabama -- Only scored 21 points in regulation against an LSU team that's allowed two opponents to go over the half-century mark. Probably gonna need to work on that between now and December 6.
3. Georgia -- Our special teams are for very special people! Can't protect a punter? Can't tackle a kick returner until he's gone 96 yards? That's OK, you get a gold star anyway, because you tried REALLY HARD and that means you're all winners! Now come over here and get a juice box!
4. LSU -- Valiant effort against the Tide, but that plus two bucks will get you a cup of coffee at the Cotton Bowl. Or something.
5. South Carolina -- Get stomped by Florida, whack Clemson, get invited to the Peach Bowl. Eh, I guess there are worse ways to finish out a regular season.
6. Ole Miss -- A win over ULM this weekend will earn them bowl eligibility and something to hold over Alabama's heads. It's like Christmas in November!
7. Kentucky -- After two months of tripping over their own shoelaces on offense but playing solid D, the Wildcats pulled a 180 and found themselves in a shootout against UGA. Randall Cobb looks like the real deal at QB, though.
8. Vanderbilt -- Kentucky, Tennessee, Wake Forest: Three chances left to achieve bowl eligibility, and it's conceivable that the 'Dores could lose all three. Though I'm still getting used to treating "OMG Vanderbilt could actually lose to Tennessee" as a shocking statement.
9. Arkansas -- So much for a bowl bid, though even a 5-7 Razorback squad is still way beyond where they looked like they were going to end up at the beginning of the year.
10. Auburn -- Still have yet to beat a D-IA opponent in the post-Tony Franklin era, and hopefully they'll wait until after this week to figure out how to do that.
11. Mississippi State -- The best they can hope for is that Alabama is so hungover from the LSU win that they end up in another 3-2 situation in Tuscaloosa this weekend.
12. Tennessee -- Yeah, I know Tennessee beat Missy State earlier this season, but anyone who caught any of the UT-Wyoming game on Saturday knows that this team has completely packed it in after Fulmer's forced retirement. If MSU and Tennessee played this weekend on a neutral field, the Vols would lose by 10 points.