Despite the absolute misery of this past weekend -- Georgia got blown into Pringles crumbs by Jonathan Crompton; the Redskins managed to lose to a winless team for the second time in three weeks; even my fricking fantasy team is in the process of losing -- I managed to get up off the mat and throw together a couple poll ballots. Georgia, needless to say, isn't included in this week's BlogPoll ballot, but they do make an appearance in the "Others Receiving Scorn" category.
Games watched: Nebraska-Missouri, most of Nevada-Louisiana Tech, Tennessee-Georgia, most of Alabama-Ole Miss, most of Florida-LSU before I slipped into a Kasteel-Tripel-and-shame-induced coma.
The next five: Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Oregon State, Missouri, Tennessee.
Dropped out: Missouri (18), Michigan (25).
· Alabama, who has beaten the crap out of three SEC opponents in a row, takes the top spot; Texas, undefeated but a team that has also spent three of the last four weeks getting off to very slow starts against drastically overmatched opponents, gets bumped down to number three. Florida, bumped down to number three a couple weeks ago following Tebow's injury, climbs back up to #2; if they can combine their smothering defense with a 100-percent-healthy Tebow, they'll be every bit the unstoppable force we figured they'd be at the start of the season.
· Virginia Tech muscles their way ahead of Cincinnati and Boise State based on two dominating performances over teams with winning records in the last three weeks. That close win over Nebraska suddenly looks a lot more impressive, too.
· Oklahoma gets a big bump thanks to Sam Bradford's dominating return to action against Baylor. Yeah, it was only Baylor, and yeah, moving the Sooners back into the top 10 is based partially on faith; but this is a team we really haven't gotten to see at full strength practically all season long, and I think we'll continue to see top-10-caliber performances from them now that Bradford is back. Then again, if they get beaten by Texas this weekend, they'll fall out of the top 10 by default, and they'll have the same record as (gulp) Georgia, so . . . maybe not.
· Biggest risers of the week: Nebraska and Texas Tech, big winners out of the Big XII, and South Carolina, whom I'm probably giving too much credit for a too-close-for-comfort win over Kentucky, but they are sitting at 5-1, so they get a little more benefit of the doubt than usual.
· South Carolina is joined as a new top 25 member by Arkansas, whose formerly nonexistent defense has clubbed both Texas A&M (who led the nation in total offense before facing the Hogs) and Auburn (averaging more than 500 total yards per game) like baby seals the past two weeks. Sure, they're only 3-2, but if the Razorbacks have managed to figure out how to stop people, that's all of a sudden a very dangerous team.
· Out of the rankings: Michigan, who's suffered two heartbreaks in a row and is struggling big-time on defense, and Missouri, whose collapse in the rain against Nebraska deprived them of what would've been their only real marquee win of the season thus far.
SEC Power Poll ballot follows:
1. Alabama -- The Bear himself would be impressed with the ruthlessly efficient, no-frills way the Tide goes about beating their opponents to a pulp. Before, I was a little cagey about pronouncing them the best team in the country, but I'm not anymore.
2. Florida -- The win over LSU was, shall we say, less than aesthetically pleasing, but no less dominant for that; a fully healthy Tebow combined with this defense will make the Gators all but invincible.
3. LSU -- They're certainly not the first team to be strangled by Florida's defense, but the game was close enough that even a modicum of offensive production might've turned the tide.
4. South Carolina -- Narrowly avoided the letdown trap against Kentucky and look like they might finally be fielding the offense Steve Spurrier wanted all along. Will give Alabama a test next week if the Tide aren't paying attention.
5. Arkansas -- We've just seen a picture of how good the Razorbacks could be if they could consistently lock down on defense, and it is not pretty for the rest of the SEC West.
6. Auburn -- Even with Tuberville gone, the Tigers' severe allergy to 11 a.m. kickoffs remains. No way should Arkansas's D have ever housed a Malzahn offense like that.
7. Tennessee -- Crompton finally got to look like a hero. Now excuse me while I swallow a bottle of pills. (And we handed Kiffykins his first-ever SEC victory, so make that two bottles of pills.)
8. Georgia -- After several weeks of being good at a few things but never everything at once, the Dawgs finally played a game in which they were good at absolutely NOTHING at once. Never thought I'd be saying this, but "Mark Richt is on the hot seat" is no longer a completely insane position.
9. Ole Miss -- Jevan Snead has regressed so rapidly that SEC West defenses may temporarily mistake him for Brandon Cox. At this point it's not crazy to think the Rebels might still be clawing their way to bowl eligibility by the last couple weeks of the season.
10. Mississippi State -- Never came up with an answer for Houston's Case Keenum, but they were in that game otherwise.
11. Kentucky -- Was that a legitimate sign of life from the flatlining Wildcats, or just the Gamecocks getting sloppy because they were looking ahead to Alabama? I guess we'll get a definitive answer this week when UK heads to Auburn.
12. Vanderbilt -- A loss to Army? The Commodores are quickly turning back into the Bad Old 'Dores of the mid-'90s. (Which, of course, means they'll still play Georgia to the wall this weekend.)