Here it is, the only poll you truly need. Our methodology is simple, we poll a group of voters and stack rank teams based on average position. Ties are broken based on the gross number of ballots teams appear on. For instance, say two teams have an average spot of 3.25; but one team is on 9 ballots, and the other is on 16 ballots, the team on 16 ballots gets seeded higher. Voters have been asked to ignore expectations, past season performance, and brand when making their selections. Moreover, voters are diverse with numerous rooting interests so the biases cancel themselves out. The results are obviously the best and most accurate results anywhere. Parentheses dictate prior rank.
To the poll!
10. Florida Gators (N/R)
The Gators win quality keeps improving. They demolished a good, albeit lucky, Mississippi team, and the other teams that have fallen to Florida continue to look better both on the field and in statistical categories. Florida will have its hands full over the next few weeks, starting with Mizzou, who has taken the Gators lunch money to the tune of double digit beat downs the past two seasons. Mizzou is bad this year, but not bad enough to look past. Florida has played 65 minutes of incredible football this season, the rest has been average. If Florida can continue the upward trend, we may be talking about them for a New Year’s bowl.
9. Clemson Tigers (N/R)
As the person who writes this, I get to say whatever I want here, but I don’t always get my way in the poll. I don’t think Clemson should be a top 10 team. I didn’t think Notre Dame was a top 10 team. I understand the ranking if the preseason poll is to be believed, but the Tigers just aren’t exciting. Still, they have won the games they were supposed to, so there’s that. But they’re still very much an unknown quantity.
8. TCU Horned Frogs (N/R)
Oh good, let’s get the second iffy team out of the way early, too. Last time we did the poll, a lot more people thought they were a shaky top ten team (hence, why they were unrated). TCU is still highly suspect. And TCU fans have responded to criticism this past week by saying, “Look! We killed Texas! Shut up!” No, straw man TCU fan, you shut up. The Frogs barely escaped the Fighting Kliff Kingsburies. They are not a top ten team by my estimation, but the Big XII is so bad that the Frogs are surviving on the eye test. But, who have they played?
7. Utah Utes (N/R)
First off, can we talk about the name? The Utes are a Native American tribe local to Utah. The state was named after them, but this is redundant. It’s like calling a team the Georgia Georgians, or the Virginia Virginians, or the Houston Texans….
Notwithstanding the foregoing, Utah looks and feels like a team that belongs. They’re undefeated in the PAC, they’ve beat teams that have looked good in earlier weeks, and some teams the Utes beat have looked pretty good as well, namely Michigan. Utah squares off with Cal this weekend which will leave only one team undefeated in the PAC.
6. Michigan State (1)
Michigan State looked great against Oregon and the quality of that win has seemed to erode. With the recent lackluster showing against Purdue, I’m not sure Sparty is long for the top ten. They play a pretty soft schedule until facing Michigan in ten days and Ohio State later this season. I’m not convinced the team that showed up to play Purdue wins either of those games.
5. Oklahoma (N/R)
Oklahoma is undefeated and has bested Tennessee and WVU for its top wins. They look to embarrass Texas this weekend in the Red River Shootout, and they will. Oklahoma looks good and wins games. I like them better than anyone else to come out of the Big XII. They seem to play defense.
4. Texas A&M (8)
The Aggies continue to impress on both sides of the ball, despite a couple of their wins starting to erode. The impressive performances against tough opponents don’t look as impressive when said opponents continue to get beat every week. However, the win against Arizona State is buoying the team upward as the conference wins are losing their luster. A&M has a gut check game against Alabama in two weekends, and that will determine who the real team to beat in the SEC West is.
3. Ohio State (5)
I object to this with vigor. Sure, Ohio State hasn’t lost. Sure, Ohio State won last season. But, this team is a specter of last season’s team. Ohio State took some time to get rolling last season, but they did not appear to have the same issues they currently have. The QB drama and the inability to give Zeke Elliott a steady diet of the football is holding them back. They play lowly Maryland this week, and are 1-4 against the spread. The Buckeyes can limp along with their weak schedule for awhile. But, resurgent Michigan and a capable Spartans team loom large considering how OSU has played. Right now, they do not look like a playoff team. But, they may yet rise to the challenge. Still, they are top 4 on our poll (and others), and that counts for something.
2. Baylor (N/R)
Man, what a difference a couple of weeks makes! Baylor is in an interesting position, they find their fate tied to that of TCU. This, the Big XII has become Highlander and THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE! Baylor has won all the games it’s supposed to without much pomp and circumstance. Much of the Big XII schedule remains, but Baylor has looked better against crap than TCU has. The Bears are more convincing, but like I said, I’d still pick Oklahoma.
The Tigers as a scheming team are woefully one-dimensional on offense. The bright side? That one dimension is Leonard Fournette. It’s not a problem until it becomes one. Stop Fournette and you stop LSU, but that’s easier said than done. LSU showed some weakness this past weekend but still managed to pull away in garbage time. They face South Carolina this weekend in a game moved due to flood and then host the Gators the following weekend. The game in two weeks should go a long way in showing us whether incomplete LSU should be feared nationally. My guess is, they should. But, the Tigers have got to find some balance if they hope to survive in the SEC this year.
Boom! Top ten! I’m working on the spread picks segment now. I’m thinking of renaming it “Bet the Board.” Anyway, this poll is far different from two weeks ago. I imagine that’ll happen again in two more–I need more voters. This season is awesome.