Another week is in the books, and I have yet to be swayed in any direction to make a change in my top three. Alabama’s victory at Texas A&M was more than good enough to secure my first place vote, although I will say I have some issues with the Crimson Tide’s defense. That said, Johnny Manziel and the Aggies offense is in the rear view mirror and I’m not convinced any one else on Alabama’s schedule will be able to provide such a threat (maybe Ole Miss?) between now and the SEC championship game? As I have stated from the very beginning, until somebody proves to me Alabama can be beaten, they will remain locked in to my number one spot.
Oregon has taken the momentum nationally to take over the second spot, but I’ll stick by my Ohio State (AP No. 4, Coaches No. 3) pick here. The temporary loss of Braxton Miller certainly has not affected the Buckeyes on offense as Kenny Guiton has proven more than capable of handling the quarterback duties and may even have a few Buckeye fans thinking he should be the starter. I’m not going to that extreme, but if you thought Ohio State’s success was directly proportional to whatever Braxton Miller does, over the last two weeks we may have seen that is not quite the case. For the Buckeyes it is 15 straight wins and counting under Urban Meyer. This is not a knock on Oregon at all mind you, but right now I’m sticking with the Buckeyes until I see a reason to drop them on their own merit.
I did knock Stanford down a peg despite a win on the east coast. I know LSU’s level of competition has not been great, but it is hard for me to overlook what the Tigers have done in three non-conference games and compare that with the two games we have seen from the Cardinal. elsewhere in my top ten, Oklahoma State and Georgia move up a spot as a result of my dropping Texas A&M, but I can’t drop the Aggies out of my top ten. They put up 42 points against the No. 1 team in the country, and they should absolutely be in the BCS at-large picture at the end of the season if they continue to play offense like this.
I also dropped Michigan despite a win. When Akron takes you down to the wire, you certainly do not deserve to move up and if I thought hard about dropping the Wolverines deeper in my poll. But I feel that even the best teams will have struggles at times and I look at Michigan coming off a perceived big win the previous week. Had Notre Dame lost to Purdue I very well may have dropped Michigan another spot or two. Northwestern’s drop was more a result of my wanting to move Washington up than Northwestern’s performance in a win against Western Michigan. I also dropped Wisconsin down to No. 25 after a bizarre ending against Arizona State, who debuts in my top 25 at No. 24. I felt the Badgers were still deserving of a top 25 spot after losing on the road. They played well enough to win and ultimately got screwed by the refs. It may not take much for Wisconsin to regain some steam in the top 25, but Arizona State was already on my radar as well so I had to include them this week ahead of the Badgers for now.
Central Florida remains my lone BCS buster in the top 25 this week after an impressive showing in a win at Penn State. Northern Illinois is officially on my radar and Boise State is back on my radar this week. The Broncos lost in week one at Washington and given the Huskies season so far that loss is not looking quite as bad as it once did (although they did get blown out by Washington).
Each week I will cast my updated top 25 ballot to the #SMCTop25 and share it here with you. For your reference, teams colored green are moving up in my poll and teams in red are moving down. Teams with neither color are staying firm from my previous poll. Here is my ballot heading in to week four.
2. Ohio State
8. Oklahoma State
10. Texas A&M
11. Florida State
12. South Carolina
21. Ole Miss
22. Notre Dame
23. Central Florida
24. Arizona State
Dropped Out: Nebraska
On the Radar: Texas Tech, Fresno State, Arizona, Auburn, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Boise State