Tuesday, September 15

BlogPoll ballot #2: In which Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, and Tennessee feel almost as lousy as I do.

The BlogPoll/SEC Power Poll stuff is late this week because I spent part of Monday night and all of yesterday wriggling in the kung fu grip of some disgusting stomach bug. Obviously I won't go into all the gory details of this particular illness, except to say that if it's anything at all like what Joe Cox was dealing with the week before the Oklahoma State game, then going 15-of-30 with two INTs seems a lot more reasonable.

Games watched: Georgia Tech-Clemson, parts of Toledo-Colorado, second half of Wake Forest-Stanford, parts of Michigan-Notre Dame, Georgia-South Carolina, seocnd half of USC-Ohio State, parts of LSU-Vanderbilt.

The next five: North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Oregon State, Auburn.

Dropped out: Michigan State (18), North Carolina (21), Notre Dame (24), Oregon State (25).

· Not much action in the top ten -- Boise State probably didn't need to jump four spots for crushing Miami-Ohio at home (Kentucky beat them by nearly as big a margin, and at a neutral site, no less), but they get pulled into a vacuum created by Oklahoma State plummeting out of the top five and LSU getting dinged for a lackluster performance against Vanderbilt in Death Valley. I watched the replay of the LSU-Vandy game late Monday night while my roiling stomach was keeping me awake, and that was not a performance I would've sat out in the pouring rain for.

· Houston, who beat Oklahoma State by double digits on the road and has yet to lose a game, gets to go above the Cowboys until they prove themselves unworthy of the privilege. Like Doc Saturday, I find this eminently logical, and can't understand why the poll voters (particularly the coaches) don't.

· Welcome to the poll: Houston, obvs; Kansas, who skirted a tricky upset opportunity at UTEP; Texas Tech, who only beat Rice but looked a lot smoother than they did on opening day; and Michigan and their astonishingly fast honky QB.

· Wave goodbye to Michigan State, who lost at the very last second to Central Michigan; Notre Dame, outlasted by the Wolverines; and North Carolina and Oregon State, both of whom got chased for the full four quarters by unranked opponents.

· Part of me wanted to put Georgia back in the top 25 thanks to their thrilling win over South Carolina -- but the other, and obviously more convincing, part of me still isn't solid on them as a ranked contender after seeing just how fantastically lucky the Dawgs had to get in a lot of areas merely to escape the Gamecocks by four points. If they beat Arkansas this weekend, though, they'll get ranked.

Aaaand the equally late Power Poll ballot:

1. Florida -- Florida emptied the bench in the second half and Troy still couldn't move the ball on 'em. Brandon Spikes isn't going to sack Jonathan Crompton so much as he's going to envelop him and absorb him like an amoeba.

2. Alabama -- If you saw any of Bama's midseason games from 2008, you saw that post-Virginia Tech sleepwalk coming from a mile away.

3. LSU -- Another so-so performance from the Tigers, though their defense definitely looked better than it did out in Seattle.

4. Ole Miss -- Memphis getting handled by MTSU doesn't put the Rebels' opening-weekend performance in a particularly good light. It'll be another couple weeks before we start getting a handle on what kind of team this really is.

5. Georgia -- The South Carolina game proved there are some absolutely phenomenal athletes on this team -- they just don't always know what the hell they're doing out there. Step it up, coaches.

6. Arkansas -- Another team we know next to nothing about, but their visit from Georgia will tell us a lot. If Arkansas' defense hasn't improved substantially over last season and Georgia's pass rush remains nonexistent, it could be another 41-37 game in Fayetteville.

7. South Carolina -- Garcia is definitely maturing as a QB, but other than him, Eric Norwood, and maybe Weslye Saunders, there still just aren't a whole lot of reliable playmakers on this team.

8. Auburn -- How they went from last year's burrito fart of an offense to starting off '09 with their first back-to-back 500-yard games since the '70s, I have no idea. Don't know if they'll be able to keep it up against big-boy defenses, but this is still a way better start than I expected under Chizik.

9. Tennessee -- Oh, there you are, Jonathan Crompton! I was wondering where you'd gotten off to! Still not quite up to speed on that tricky center exchange, I see?

10. Kentucky -- Yet another total enigma. Beating Louisville next week should pretty much be expected, so the first real test of their intestinal fortitude comes in two weeks when Florida comes to town.

11. Vanderbilt -- Defense played well, offense was the same old mess. Without the laundry list of lucky breaks they got last year, this is probably a five-win team at best.

12. Mississippi State -- Mullen may have the right attitude, but what he doesn't have is playmakers, on either side of the ball. Any SEC wins they get this year will be big upsets.

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