A little movement this week in the top 10 due to losses by Michigan and Illinois. With Michigan State beating Michigan, the first Top 25 Mexican Standoff of the year is complete, as the Michigans and Notre Dame have canceled each other out. Oregon jumps to the top of the one-loss teams, as their victory over Arizona State and the continued success of LSU drives their strength of schedule through the roof and their point margin moves ahead of unbeatens like Oklahoma State and Clemson. Virginia Tech bounces with a combination of a win over 4-2 Wake Forest and every other FBS team they have played winning this week. Otherwise, not much to discuss here. Teams that lost dipped. Teams that won more or less stayed put. Much ado about nothing.
We still have a full ranking of all 120 teams, so let's examine the best and worst with seven weeks down.
WORST UNDEFEATED: There are only ten remaining teams without a loss, and they're all ranked, so you can quickly see that the Houston Cougars come in tenth. The Cougs have an impressive +146 MOV (at least impressive compared to Kansas State's +59, Clemson's +104, and Oklahoma State's +131) but it comes at the expense of one of the worst schedules in the top 25: 12-19 overall record, with no games against +.500 teams and their best win coming against #64 UTEP. Only Wisconsin and Stanford measure worse, and they have both been far more dominant.
BEST WINLESS: There are only three truly winless teams left (New Mexico, Florida Atlantic, and UAB), but the Blogpoll doesn't really count wins over FCS teams, so the de facto best winless team is Boston College. The Golden Eagles are 1-5 on the season, with a sole win coming over FCS heavyweight UMass (BLOGRULE: Can't mention UMass without an obligatory Pixies link). They've had some rough losses, though: Seven points to jNWU, one point to Duke, and eight points to Wake Forest. Despite BC's record, their net MOV is only -37.
MOST IMPROBABLY GOOD RECORD: This award has to go to the Auburn Tigers, who sit at 5-2 with wins over South Carolina and Florida despite a meager +3 margin of victory. This is in large part due to a lackluster come-from-behind four-point win over #66 Utah State and a closer-than-it-should-have-been win over Florida Atlantic (which, again, has yet to win a game and lost this weekend at home to Western Kentucky by a larger margin). They've also been killed by poll darlings Clemson and Arkansas in games that weren't as close as their final scores indicated. Any momentum for this team in the poll is due to its name, lingering unsubstantiated OMG FLORIDA sentiment, and the win over South Carolina; for some, that apparently is enough.
MOST INEXPLICABLY BAD RECORD: We've set a record, because the Utah State Aggies are getting two mentions in one post. USU sits at 2-4 this year, with a +60 MOV against a schedule that is 18-11 (with an FCS win in there, to be fair), but has been the victim of some horrendous results. There was the aforementioned bloodletting against Auburn, a one-point loss to truly horrendous Colorado State, a bedwetting loss to in-state rival BYU on national television, and last week's loss to Fresno. Oddly enough, Utah State's only FCS win came in a 63-19 blowout of 4-2 Wyoming, a far more impressive performance against the Cowboys than Nebraska was able to muster in the previous week.
WORST BCS CONFERENCE TEAM: I check this every week for pure schadenfreude purposes. There are a wide variety of possibilities for worst BCS team this season, too. Kentucky is 2-4 with a MOV of -96 and its only two wins coming against two of the nation's worst mid-majors. Colorado is 1-6 and giving up points by the bucketload (252 conceded in seven games, good for fourth-worst in the country). Indiana, Arizona, and Boston College are all winless against FBS competition. And Mississippi and Kansas haven't been remotely competitive against any team with a pulse.
But the winner of this award can be only one team: the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who are currently undergoing a true existential crisis with a new coach who clearly hates his team and is getting into arguments with the previous coach. Minnesota lost by two touchdowns to lowly New Mexico State. Goldy was beaten by two scores in a cupcake game against North Dakota State. They suffered the worst conference loss in program history in their Big Ten opener against Michigan; to put it in perspective, the last time the Gophers lost by 55, they literally stopped playing in the stadium where the game was played. Minnesota has scored 108 points; only twelve teams (and only two BCS-level teams, both from the state of Kentucky) have scored fewer. They have also given up 210 points on defense, worse than all but 18 teams. They are one of only two BCS teams with a net MOV below -100, and their opponents are a mere 12-11 on the season (the other team with a net MOV below -100, Kansas, has played a schedule that is 25-7). And, oh yeah, they play Nebraska next week. GopherQuest is on like Donkey Kong.
MID-MAJOR SLEEPER DU JOUR: We all know about Boise and Houston, so let me fly the freek flag for the Temple Owls. Temple is currently 5-2 under the immortal Steve Addazio, with losses to #10 Penn State (by just four points) and a better-than-advertised Toledo Rockets squad (Toledo sits at 4-3 with respectable losses to Boise and OSU and a not-quite-so-respectable loss to Syracuse, but they've messed up some mid-majors this year). In their other five games, Temple has blown shit up: Five wins by a total score of 197-17, two consecutive shutouts of Ball State and Buffalo, and a surprising beatdown of Maryland in College Park. Penn State fans lamented the closer-than-expected win over the Owls in week three, but it's probably the best win on their schedule so far.
Blogpoll Games O' the Week
#7 Wisconsin at #13 Michigan State: The knock on Wisconsin so far has been schedule. Sure, the Nebraska win was great, but there's the sneaking suspicion in the numbers that Nebraska (especially on defense) wasn't who we thought they were. A win over MSU in Lansing would assuage many of the concerns about Wisky's cushy non-conference slate. As for Michigan State, their season has surprisingly been about the defense and not their skill position players so far. They stopped Michigan last week, but this is another leap in level of difficulty.
#31 North Carolina at #9 Clemson: Another week, another test for Clemson. If their recent history holds, the Tigers will win this game in some extraordinary manner, and North Carolina will immediately enter a death spiral. Then again, given that they dropped a game this weekend to schizophrenic Miami, the Tar Heels might already be there.
#5 Oklahoma State at #39 Missouri: Poor Mizzou. They've now faced Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Okie State in the span of four weeks with only a telephone trophy to show for it. There are some warning signs here, though: The Tigers have yet to lose at home this year, and Oklahoma State is flying pretty close to the sun with only a Texas A&M collapse standing out on their resume to date. Mild chance of an upset here.
Battle of Who Could Care Less: #119 Memphis at #112 Tulane: It's so bad at Memphis that Jerry Lawler took time out from wearing patterned t-shirts and walking out on Hunter Hearst Helmsley's dangerous regime to call for the firing of the coach and athletic director. The Tigers are 1-6 against a schedule that is 11-17 in games against Not Memphis, and have only been within a touchdown of Middle Tennessee State in those six losses. Tulane hasn't been much better, going 2-5 so far with wins over an FCS opponent and the worst team in the country (Alabama-Birmingham) and massive losses to a schedule that is 9-20 against other opponents. This one won't be pretty, but then again, not much about Conference USA is this year.