Tuesday, November 3, 2009

GFB Top 25 Week 10

Last weekend saw few big games with really one big result that shakes up the standings. In the most pressing debate this week between Oregon and Boise State, I am siding with the Ducks and their hideous uniforms, but I'm going to finally give the Broncos some credit and move them out of the teens and into the top 10 for the first time all year.

Before I get to the explanation, here's my Top 25 for week 10:

1. Alabama (8-0)
2. Florida (8-0)
3. Texas (8-0)
4. Iowa (9-0)
5. Cincinnati (8-0)
6. TCU (8-0)
7. Oregon (7-1)
8. Boise State (8-0)
9. Georgia Tech (8-1)
10. LSU (7-1)
11. Penn State (8-1)
12. USC (6-2)
13. Ohio State (6-2)
14. Miami (6-2)
15. Wisconsin (5-2)
16. California (6-2)
17. Arizona (5-2)
18. Oklahoma (4-3)
19. Virginia Tech (5-3)
20. Pittsburgh (7-1)
21. Utah (6-1)
22. Notre Dame (6-2)
23. Houston (6-1)
24. Oklahoma State (6-2)
25. BYU (6-2)

Dropped Out: 18. South Carolina (6-3) 19. West Virginia (6-2)

Ok, so my rationale for putting Oregon ahead of Boise State is as follows: head-to-head carries some weight in an argument of two teams, but shouldn't carry ALL of it. Yes Boise thumped Oregon 19-8 on opening night, and yes the Broncos have played pretty well since then. My caveat is that Oregon has turned their season around and is playing like one of the best four teams or five teams in the country right now against a much, much tougher schedule than Boise has seen. I believe in a rematch Oregon would win on a neutral field and I don't think the Broncos would be undefeated right now if they played Oregon's schedule.

While most of that is pure opinion, I am starting to use the Jeff Sagarin ratings more and more as a good barometer of how good teams are. After blowing out USC, Sagarin has the Ducks rated 2nd in the entire country (he has Florida first) while playing the eighth toughest schedule. He has Boise rated 6th (which is actually higher than the BCS has them ranked this week) while playing the country's 81st toughest schedule. So yes the Broncos beat the Quack Attack at the beginning of the season, and while the Broncos have continued to play very well, this Oregon team is playing light years better than they did that night. So they're one spot ahead in my poll.

As for the six teams ahead of Oregon and Boise, I left Bama and Florida as my top two: I'm not moving Bama down on a bye week, but was definitely impressed by the Gators finally blowing somebody out, especially in a rivalry game. Texas jumps Iowa because as much as I'm a Big Ten-homer, I just don't have the confidence they could beat any of the top three, let alone top seven or eight right, right now. Still, they've won all of their games regardless of the margin and have done it against a difficult schedule, so they only drop to four.

Cincy stays at five after another blowout, this one with their backup QB, and TCU moves up as well after plowing over UNLV. Georgia Tech should win out and go to the Orange Bowl but this is probably as high as they'll get barring disaster in front of them, while LSU and Penn State get monster opportunities to move up this week with games against Bama and Ohio State.

SC takes Virginia Tech's spot atop a growing group of good two-loss teams. We'll get to Tech in a bit, but I have the Trojans ahead of Ohio State because of their win and both teams (despite USC getting blown out) have still played pretty well overall. Miami drops after escaping with their lives against Wake. Of the three, Ohio State is definitely peaking while the other two seem to be going the wrong direction.

The losses for the next three teams- Sconnie, Cal, and Arizona- continue to look better and better (or maybe a better way to say it is "less worse") as Iowa, Ohio State, Oregon, and USC are proving to be pretty darn good.

Oklahoma and the aforementioned Hokies are the two best three loss teams in the country right now, with Oklahoma getting the nod over Va Tech because the Sooners do not have an inexplicable loss to North Carolina on their record (Stewart Mandell of SI.com pointed this out a couple of weeks ago, and the Tar Heels shocker drove home his point: if you're a ranked team with conference title aspirations, DO NOT play on Thursday nights. No matter how much ESPN pays you and how much exposure it gets you, don't do it. Just don't), and also have played without their Heisman trophy-winning quarterback (Sam Bradford) and best offensive weapon (TE Jermaine Gresham) for pretty much the entire season.

How good are Pitt and Utah? No real idea, but good enough to each have just one loss but I'm not sold on the strength of their conferences, so for now they drop to here. Notre Dame jumps into the poll because as much as I hate them, they are 6-2 and Sagarin thinks they play a pretty tough schedule (ranked 22). The last four games won't be easy with Navy, Pitt, UConn and Standford on their November slate.

Oklahoma State's blowout loss to Texas not only drops the Cowpokes in the rankings but Houston too. Why? Neither of them have really played anyone of consequence. Oklahoma State lost to the only two good teams on their schedule, and Houston? Sagarin rates their schedule 95th, and their "quality wins" against the Cowboys and Texas Tech look less and less impressive each week. BYU stays in after a bye week because honestly, there just wasn't anyone I liked better in their spot right now.

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