BHGPoll Week Three: Enter the Tree

Stanford always seems to jump to the top of the poll the week after beating Southern Cal, and do so again this year. This time is a little different, however. Stanford has played three teams so far this year: San Jose State, Duke, and USC. Those three teams are 6-0 in games against anyone but Stanford. SJSU pounded Colorado State this weekend. Duke has a 20-point win over Florida International, a team that won eight games a year ago. USC, with wins over Hawaii and Syracuse, was supposed to be a contender to the throne. Stanford's three FBS-level opponents are undefeated in non-Stanford games, a perfect 6-0, and nobody else can say that.

Alabama is second, mostly because Arkansas really, truly sucks. Notre Dame jumps into the top 3 with a +60 margin of victory against a schedule that is 4-1 in other games; Navy is not good, but Michigan State and Purdue are two of the nation's best wins to date. RichRod's troops grab the fourth spot, and would be ranked right with Stanford if it weren't for a I-AA game against South Carolina State. And yes, that's the Cyclones at #5, also with two wins over teams that have lost to no one else, though it does feel like they will be the first to lose that designation.

On the other hand, Florida State is the nation's most impressive team, except that their schedule is killing them. That will all change with the conference season and annual meeting with Florida waiting out there. Ditto for Oregon, who would have gotten a boost from Fresno State's beatdown of Colorado if Colorado wasn't arguably the country's worst team. West Virginia just hasn't played anyone at all: Marshall is the country's #89 team, and James Madison is James Madison.

Baylor dropped out on more evidence, the other five on losses. Ohio, Rutgers, Oregon State, Northwestern, and USC sit barely on the outside. The Wildcats are interesting: The only team to beat three BCS-conference teams, but only +20 in victory margin and against three teams that are 1-2 overall. Beating the bottom of the BCS probably isn't going to help in the long run.

BHGPoll Games of the Week

No. 3 Arizona at No. 16 Oregon -- This is one of the national games of the week, only with the ratings flipped in the polls. We're not exactly confident in our No. 3 against their No. 3.

No. 11 Kansas State at No. 19 Oklahoma -- This game is fascinating: Steampunk Tebow faces a team that uses his evolutionary model in certain situations. Kansas State can slow Oklahoma down, quite literally, and pull the non-upset.

No. 20 Clemson at No. 13 Florida State -- Clemson got a bounce for the Auburn win, and then everyone forgot that Auburn isn't good. Auburn is so bad that the national media will somehow blame their performance (and Vanderbilt's, and Mississippi's, and Kentucky's, and Arkansas's) on the Big Ten in a matter of weeks.

Pillow Fight of the Week

No. 124 Massachusetts at No. 113 Miami (OH) -- UMass is currently the worst team in the poll, with a net margin of victory of -126, a full 52 points more less than the second-worst team (Idaho, -74). Miami is the worst one-win team in the country, though that is far more a function of schedule (losses to OSU and Boise State sandwiching a I-AA win). This game barely edged out No. 123 Idaho vs. No. 112 Wyoming.

Iowa in the poll

The penalty for a I-AA game is going to cream the Hawkeyes; essentially, the poll builds in a 30-point margin of victory for a game against the lesser division, a margin that was not made up in Iowa's victory over UNI. The Hawkeyes are 54th in the poll, based on a better-than-average schedule through three weeks.

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