Exploring the Polls: A Weekly Look at the College Football Top 25

4 09 2007

by mr. travis

Every week, Cacophony will take a look at the top ten in the NCAA football rankings, throwing out bits of wisdom regarding which teams were screwed, who is overrated, and who is in their proper place in the scheme of things on the road to the BCS championship.

Well, this is a surprise. Perhaps it’s because of the unprecedented nature of their defeat to Division I-AA Appalachian State, but Michigan found itself out of the top 25 in both the AP and USA today polls. Not that they don’t deserve it, but I honestly believed that the ol’ Midwest/East coast bias would rear its ugly head, giving Michigan a last hour reprieve, sinking them at the very least to the low teens. So, I applaud this decision by the voting body. Quite frankly, any national championship contender that is defeated by a team in a lower football division (even one as good as Appalachian State) should have to win every single one of their games by a decisive margin to even be considered into the top 25 again. The reality of it is that if Michigan wins against Oregon next week (and that is a big IF), they will be back in the top 25 and on their way to being a top ten team again. I wonder if a Pac 10 team such as UCLA or Cal had been in Michigan’s shoes, if they would ever sniff the top 25 again for the rest of the season.

Besides the omission of Michigan, there really aren’t too many surprises, mostly because everything went according to plan. The only other upset was Clemson over Florida State, which led to FSU’s dismissal from the top 25 leaving them alone with Michigan as the only two schools to be dropped from the polls.

Here’s how the top 10 squared up:

USC (#1 AP Poll/#1 USA Today Poll)

Was anyone else surprised that USC didn’t defeat Idaho by a larger margin? For a team touted as one of the best ever, their 408 yards of total offense against a sub par opponent puts a question mark on the proceedings, especially when cross town rival UCLA put up much bigger numbers against Stanford. Of course, star tailback Chauncey Washington was unavailable as was their top receiver Patrick Turner. So, from that perspective, maybe this was the calm before the storm.

Next Week: Bye. The Trojans will prep themselves for their first real opponent in number 16 Nebraska on September 15th.

LSU (#2 AP Poll/#2 USA Today Poll)

Not only did LSU shut out the Mississippi State Bulldogs, they also intercepted six passes and held their running game to a whopping ten yards on 26 carries. Yet, one has to question the validity of such a victory when coach Les Miles spent his summer ripping USC for supposedly playing in an easy conference. Maybe Coach Miles should look into playing his first game against a division AA school next season if he wants to prove his team faces tough competition throughout the year.

Next Week: Virginia Tech. The first real test to the Tigers’ season comes in the form of number 9 Virginia Tech who didn’t look all that top ten worthy in their own opener. Regardless, this should be the game of the week and a good trial for both teams.

West Virginia (#3 AP Poll/#4 USA Today Poll)

The Slaton/White show was in full effect as receiver Steve Slaton caught for 108 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback Pat White threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for two more scores. Of course, this was against that powerhouse Western Michigan whose wonderful defense allowed West Virginia to score a whopping 62 points.

Next Week: Marshall. Oh wow. Another tough team. And another really tough schedule from the Big East powerhouse that is West Virginia.

Florida (#4 AP Poll/#3 USA Today Poll)

The Urban Meyer era began with a nice shellacking of division IA newbie Western Kentucky. Maybe next year they can open against Appalachian State. Wait, isn’t this the SEC, the supposed conference that has the toughest schedule out of any other division in college football?

Next Week: Troy. Yes, SEC powerhouse Florida takes on another team that will do absolutely nothing to challenge them.

Oklahoma (#5 AP Poll/#6 USA Today Poll)

What a day for quarterback Sam Bradford. In his first career start he tied the school record for consecutive completions (18) then broke the school record for yards in a half (350). But, does doing it against North Texas in a 79-10 demolition derby really mean anything? We’ll see as next week Oklahoma plays…

Next Week: Miami. They say defense wins ball games. We shall see as both teams will pit their solid d’s against each other. If Bradford can break passing records here, then I’ll run down my street wearing only an Oklahoma hat.

Wisconsin (#5 AP Poll/#5 USA Today Poll)

The Big Ten was looking at another upset when the Badgers found themselves tied with Washington State during the 2nd quarter. But, then quarterback Tyler Donovan went off, ending the game with 284 yards, 3 TD’s, and another one on the ground.

Next Week: UNLV. A warm up for their big game against that powerhouse the Citadel the following week.

Texas (#7 AP Poll/#7 USA Today Poll)

Texas’ win over Arkansas State wasn’t exactly decisive at 21-13. In fact, at time it was downright ugly, raising several red flags as to whether or not quarterback Colt McCoy (has there ever been a better named QB for a Texas school?) has the skills to guide Mac Brown’s Longhorns to the Promised Land. It’s not all on him though. The sloppy play of the Longhorns after a torrid start was enough to make Matthew McConaughey curl into the fetal position and cry like a schoolgirl with a skinned knee. While this may be an aberration, this was not the play of a top ten school.

Next week: TCU. Another tough game for Texas against #21 TCU. Hopefully, they can pull it together enough so that their man-mascot Matty Mac will have a pearly white smile and a lot to say to any reporter who questions him as if he has anything at all to do with Texas football.

Louisville (#8 AP Poll/#8 USA Today Poll)

Louisville opponent Murray State put up a good fight for the first quarter. Then it all went to hell. Like a 73-10 hell.

Next Week: Middle Tennessee State. Yeah, you read that right. Middle Tennessee State. Louisville may as well play the local pee wee team at the rate their schedule is going.

Virginia Tech (#9 AP Poll/#9 USA Today Poll)

The Hokies inaugural game on Saturday was one played with a lot of emotion, most of it probably mixed. So their troubles with East Carolina can be excused. But, Virginia Tech is more defense minded anyway at this point, so perhaps low scoring offensive excursions such as this can be expected.

Next Week: LSU. This is the big game for next week, a tough challenge for Virginia Tech who doesn’t quite match up on paper. Hopefully the Hokies can take some of the emotions coming off of the previous game and put the towards something positive, like maybe shoring up their offensive line that was obliterated by that bastion of defensive ability, ECU.

California (#10 AP Poll/#10 USA Today Poll)

Cal’s defense looks shoddy at best, with Tennessee scoring pretty much at will. But, with a huge win on Saturday by Cal that takes that brutal defeat last year by Tennessee off their back, it’s time to look forward. With an offense that includes playmaker DeSean Jackson (who had one of the best kick returns I’ve seen) they have potential to win every game..but they will be shootouts.

Next Week: Colorado State. Expect more of the same, though CSU doesn’t have the same potent offense as Tennessee, which makes the chance of this being a shootout a bit less likely.

And the rest:

Georgia (#11 AP Poll/#12 USA Today Poll)
Ohio State (#12 AP Poll/#11 USA Today Poll)
UCLA (#13 AP Poll/#14 USA Today Poll)
Penn State (#14 AP Poll/#15 USA Today Poll)
Rutgers (#15 AP Poll/#16 USA Today Poll)
Nebraska (#16Ap Poll/#17 USA Today Poll)
Auburn (#17 AP Poll/#13 USA Today Poll)
Arkansas (#18 AP Poll/#18 USA Today Poll)
TCU (#19 AP Poll/#19 USA Today Poll)
Hawaii (#20 AP Poll/#22 USA Today Poll)
Georgia Tech (#21 AP Poll/#21 USA Today Poll)
Boise State (#22 AP Poll/#25 USA Today Poll)
Texas A&M (#23 AP Poll/#23 USA Today Poll)
Tennessee (#24 AP Poll/#24 USA Today Poll)
Clemson (#25 AP Poll/ – USA Today Poll)
Boston College ( – AP Poll/#25 USA Today Poll)

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