Here are my blogpoll thoughts.
Who’s Number 1?
Why does this question even need to be asked? Alabama has less style and flash than Nick Saban’s hairdo, but they’ve proven that they know how to win under all kinds of conditions. While John Parker Wilson wouldn’t start for 9 of the teams in the Big 12, his entire offensive and defensive lines probably would. Can Bama stop the roll that Florida is on? Percy Harvin may help decide both teams’ fates.
The Beauty Contest for #2
The case for Texas is compelling and goes beyond the head-to-head win over OU. Arguments are usually reduced to snippets and one-bullet statements when the talking heads get involved, and not coincidentally, that’s now the only thing anyone wants to discuss. Beyond a double digit win on a neutral field, how about the fact that Texas played the toughest stretch of football in the entire nation this year? Texas did that in October and lost on the last play of the final game of that run. That loss happened after losing an All-Conference WR (Quan Cosby) on the first snap and an All-American DE (Brian Orakpo) for the entire second half. OU lost to Texas and then took 6 weeks off before playing Tech and then Oklahoma State. Need more? In the best offensive conference in the nation by a wide margin, playing against 5 top 10 scoring offenses (including Rice), Texas finishes with a scoring defense ranked 21st in the nation. Every single juggernaut offense faced scored 10 points or more below their scoring average against Texas.
Florida, USC and OU
Florida’s loss at home to a decent Mississippi team shouldn’t be too easily forgiven. They’ve clubbed some baby seals since then, but don’t carry credit too far. This season’s SEC is the normal SEC’s retarded cousin. LSU, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Georgia have all turned out to be paper tigers. Meyer never hesitates to step on the gas against a downtrodden opponent, and he still couldn’t match Texas’ victory margin against Arkansas. The Florida State team that UF rolled on Saturday couldn’t hold Marcus Outzen’s jock. Christian Ponder is spared the title of "Worst College QB since Chris Rix" only because of the existence of Jarrett Lee, another UF QB opponent. By the way, the vaunted SEC that gets so much love went 1-3 on Saturday against the hideously mediocre ACC.
If only USC could summon the ghost of Norm Chow, circa 2004, to help their offense resemble something more than pedestrian, they’d be worthy of consideration for the final match of charades. Alas, they can’t, and instead they have an offense that simply waits for their defense to win the battle of attrition against their opponents, and then they get to take out the trash. Remove blowouts to Washington St and Washington, two of the worst teams in the past 10 years, and this offense starts to really look questionable. Losing any game in the Pac 10 with USC’s talent is a laughable mockery of Pete Carroll’s growing legend.
And what about OU? If teaching holding as a skill is to be valued, by all means, OU should be 1st. If each contest were a 7 on 7 drill, there isn’t a team to rank ahead of OU. Unfortunately for the sooners, tackling is actually not just a skill to be taught to offensive linemen. At some point, they’re going to play someone (again) that has an offense that can match their own and also plays D itself. It is usually at that moment that they wish they had taught that whole tackling thing to their defense. Yes OU has laid waste to some teams of late, but they were doing just the same in September before laying an egg on the floor of the Cotton Bowl. Should they make it to the big BCS match-up, Big 12 fans should brace for another OU BCS bowl embarrassment, heretofore forgotten nationally only due to the aggressive ineptitude of Ohio State in similar situations. A test certainly awaits OU against Missouri, but nobody cheats like OU, and you can bet they’ll walk into that test with the answers.
The Back 5 of the Top 10
Utah looks great on paper and credit to them for playing Michigan and Oregon State this season. That said, both of those games were awfully tight, and both of those teams were milquetoast at best, so that gives us pause. Sure they can roll Weber State, but so did Eastern Washington. They do deserve a shot to play with a proven big boy, nonetheless.
Texas Tech had a jihad game against a wounded Texas and then slapped Oklahoma State in the face and made them cry. Outside of those events, they look like the same ol’Texas Tech. They barely won at home this weekend against an improving but poor Baylor team. They’d be lower if there were a intriguing option to swap in here.
Penn State benefits from playing in a conference that is frequently beaten in footraces by three-toed sloths. A nation cannot forget that clash of Big Televen titans, PSU & Ohio State, but it has certainly tried, repeatedly. When that is your signature W, you deserve to be relegated to the bottom of 1 time losers.
Boise State played and beat Oregon early in the season. They’ve run drills against tackling dummies ever since, and when that’s happened on Saturdays, they’ve received W’s as a reward for the hard practice. Perhaps they deserve a stronger position, but it’s tough to believe no matter how many teams they run through named St. this season. Seriously, Utah State, Idaho State, and New Mexico State?
Ohio State falls backward, stumbling, into the top 10 again. Does anyone get excited about this team besides their mothers and sweatervest manufacturers? If we could take Ball State ahead of them with a straight face, Ohio State wouldn’t be a part of this breakdown.