As always, comments and critiques can go in the comment thread. Final poll goes into the hopper at midnight Tuesday.
So much for West Virginia.
So much for East Carolina.
So much for Auburn, North Carolina, Oregon, Iowa. It's been fun knowing you all (and, yes, after struggling with the Troy Trojans of Troy, so much for Ohio State).
Farmed out to prep school:
East Carolina, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, Iowa, Oregon
UNLV, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, Colorado, Clemson
Kansas State-Louisville, UConn-Baylor, Iowa-Pittsburgh, LSU-Auburn, $200 evaporate on a craps table
This was certainly a strange week, if only because our original hunches were confirmed. West Virginia was finally exposed as a Rich Rodriguez-created Frankenstein of discarded parts, and Bill Stewart is so inept, ESPN is publishing buyout details of an extension he signed last week. North Carolina flew a little too close to the sun after a win at Rutgers and had its wings melted by Frank Beamer's goiter (and Rutgers really sucks, by the way). Oregon was the last of the Pac-10 overrateds to be exposed. East Carolina reverted to being East Carolina.
Stll, no conference imploded like the ACC in week one, the Big East in week two, or the Pac-10 in week three. If any conference took a hit this week, it might well be the vaunted SEC, where the haves and have nots are distinguishing themselves very quickly. The preseason consensus thought held that Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina would turn the SEC East into a gauntlet from which nobody would escape unscathed. Now? Not so much. Tennessee looked positively horrible in losses at UCLA (who isn't good) and at home against Florida (who still is). South Carolina dropped games to Georgia (excusable) and Vandy (not so much).
Vandy is currently riding high among people unwilling to analyze the teams they have beaten. They are 4-0, with wins over South Carolina and Ole Miss. That's great, until you realize South Carolina and Ole Miss currently aren't any good (there's still hope for Ole Miss, a team loaded with talent but learning a new system that's unorthodox to say the least). The East is now a two-horse race (apologies to Kentucky and Vandy, but they're not in the same class as Georgia and Florida).
We haven't even mentioned the West. The most disappointing team not named Ohio State has been Auburn, who has a relatively fast defense (though nowhere near the level Mike Patrick made them out to be Saturday night), but no size on the defensive line and an offense Ken O'Keefe would be proud of. Trust me, Auburn fans: I'm an Iowa supporter. You don't recover from an offense like that. I thought Auburn was top 10 early this season; turns out the best-case scenario has them third in their division. It's why, despite a road win over War Eagle, LSU barely cracks the top 10; anyone who watched that game realizes Auburn really isn't that good. Four weeks are in the books, and the SEC is effectively a four-team elimination tournament, with the Coke Orgy and LSU's run-in with Alabama on November 8 determining the championship matchup.
The AP toyed with the idea of holding back its poll until week 4 last season, before caving to its own lack of discipline and returning to preseason polling this year. If week 4 is enough data for the AP, it's enough for us. This week, BHGP switches over to pure resume ranking, and the differences from last week are stark. Alabama jumps to #2, even though I think they'll end up outside the top 10. Ditto BYU and Ball State (who, yes, has a better resume so far than Texas). Seven teams drop out of last week's poll, to be replaced by the likes of UConn, Northwestern, and other squads who have dedicated their month to curbstomping cupcakes. In fact, every team from #16 through #21 is new to the poll, and only Boise State (and maybe TCU) look to have any staying power.
Yes, Ohio State is gone from the poll. In fact, OSU wasn't even close. Underwhelming wins against Ohio and Troy sandwiching a shitkicking on the west coast simply isn't enough to stay in.
Take this poll with a grain of salt. I'm still finding a system. I am manic-depressive.