Dropped Out: Iowa (#18), Virginia Tech (#20), Georgia (#22), Penn State (#24).
Sorry for not posting more, Evil Accounting Exam of Doom kinda required my attention. Anyway, I don't even really remember what games I watched, so I'll just skip straight to my thoughts, expanded somewhat from the usual:
The Top Nine
1. Ohio State - We've looked consistently good, Michigan's looked consistently good. I've got the Buckeyes just a little bit ahead of Michigan, based mostly on the win over Texas. It's better than anything anyone else has.
2. Michigan - Some would argue that their win over Penn State was better than ours, and it's tough to argue otherwise, so I won't. My response instead would be that our win over Michigan State was better than theirs, so they cancel out. Fortunately, we get to settle the whole thing on the field, and it's looking more and more like it'll be for all the proverbial marbles.
3. USC - I kinda think several teams below them would beat them, but going undefeated in a real (i.e. non-Big East) conference counts for something, so they stay top three.
4. Texas - Interesting factoid: this weekend's game against Nebraska will be the first time they've traveled outside of Texas this season. They may have been the quietest top ten team this season. They had the loss to Ohio State, then they've split their time between destroying crappy teams from other parts of Texas and looking respectable against decent Big 12 competition. I'll feel a lot better about the top five ranking for them if they get by Nebraska.
5. Tennessee - I think one of the SEC teams is a top five team, but which one? Momentum has gotten the Vols to this ranking, but I don't really know if they're the best of the conference or not.
6. California - Probably the best team in the Pac 10, but that whuppin' at Tennessee should still be factored in. USC plays them followed by Notre Dame in a couple weeks, and those two games will go a long way toward sorting out the top ten.
7. Notre Dame - They don't really seem like a top ten team, but who else is there? They got stomped by Michigan, and they were going to lose to Michigan State before they made like Cinderella at midnight and turned back into MSU, but they've been fine other than that. Maybe they just have a problem with teams from Michigan. None of the directional Michigan schools are on the schedule, so it's smooth sailing for the Fighting Irish.
8. West Virginia - All they do is run the ball. They don't throw it, and they don't play defense. But they run the ball really, really, really well. I think, though, that all the teams ranked above them (and maybe several below) could stop their rushing attack. Therefore, they're at number eight.
9. Clemson - They also run the ball really well. They're sort of West Virginia minus the option and plus a bit of defense. I think they're more talented than West Virginia, in fact. However, the fact remains that they are Clemson, the Michigan State of the ACC. As a result, I have difficulty putting them any higher than this.
And the rest:
All those SEC teams - will you all kindly sort out who's good in the conference? Everyone's beating up on each other, and I understand that's all good, exciting, rough-and-tumble southern footbaw, but as a Yankee observer, I have a tough time telling if that means you're all good, or all decent. Until a pecking order emerges, I'm just going to stick Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, and LSU in a jumble.
14. Georgia Tech - They sure looked impressive against Bye, huh? Ok, I'm not sure why they got that boost. But I don't think it's too crazy a place for them. Calvin Johnson's awesome, the defense is good. Why not #14 for them?
15. Louisville - I saw Cincinnati. They have potential, but they aren't good. If you expect me to think you're a top ten team, you should not have to hold on to beat Cincinnati at home.
18. Wisconsin - Gradually establishing themselves as the third-best team in the Big Ten. How good does that make them? I dunno, but 18 feels about right.
20. Oklahoma - Not their fault, but Oklahoma minus Adrian Peterson is probably not a top-25 team. I'll wait until they lose before I kick them out, though, just in case.
Miami - I know I'm piling on here, but fighting with Florida International? Really? C'mon, guys. I expected better. If Youngstown State tries to pick a fight with the Buckeyes next season, I expect the players to laugh in their collective Penguin faces. I certainly don't expect any players to step in swinging helmets.