Harris Poll Thoughts

Steve Townsend sees the national picture pretty much the same way everyone else does. And Townsend backs up his observations each week as a voter in the Harris Poll. This week the poll continues to have Southern Cal and Texas one and two and the three through five teams remained the same–Virginia Tech, Georgia and Alabama.

Harris Poll

Townsend said he continues to have Alabama as his top Southeastern Conference team, but said, "That doesn't take anything away from Georgia. Georgia's problem is that now they don't have their quarterback, who had been playing very well. I still think Georgia will beat Florida this week because Georgia will have a game plan for their number two quarterback."

Townsend said he knows a lot of people at other schools don't want to hear it, but it appears all but two teams are out of the running. "It looks like everyone is playing for third and fourth," Townsend said. "Texas is about as close as a team can be to a cinch to being able to run the table. Looking at the teams in that league, I just can't see them losing. USC still has a couple of tough games in California and UCLA, but I don't think either of those teams has enough defense to stop Southern Cal."

Townsend said, "I was interested in hearing Coach (Gene) Stallings, who votes on the retired coaches poll, saying that he had voted Texas number one for the last four weeks because he thought they were the most complete team; he thought defensively Southern Cal was lacking.

"Texas is in the top ten both offensively and defensively, which is pretty impressive."

Townsend said, "Alabama's coaches have done a heck of a job. Through seven games I think Mike Shula and Charlie Weiss at Notre Dame have done the two best jobs in the country; and I think Shula is probably a little ahead. To win a game like Alabama did Saturrday is like Alabama's 1990 win over Tennessee and Alabama's 1971 win over Southern Cal. There's no telling what a win like that can do for your program when you are beating teams with far superior personnel. I watch a lot of games every week and no one has done better than Mike Shula.

"One thing is their clock management. Someone deserves a lot of credit for that. And they've done it two weeks in a row, kicking the winning field goal and not leaving the opponent a chance."

He also noted that after Saturday he realized that "Tennessee is better than I had thought. They really have athletes up front. They have really had a tough schedule, too."

The Harris Poll originally had 114 voters. After a handful of changes prior to the start of the season, there were only 113 votes each week. Following the failure of one voter to participate again last week, that voter was dismissed. That voter will not be identified and will not be replaced.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Steve Townsend, an independent consultant for college football, is one of 113 voters in the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, which is part of the equation for choosing teams for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games at the end of the season. The BCS formula also consists of the USA Today Coaches Poll, and an average of six computer rankings (Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, Jeff Sagarin and Peter Wolfe). The first BCS standings will be released on October 17

Steve Townsend previously served as media relations director at Alabama (1988-98) and for the Southeastern Conference, co-publisher of Tiger Rag (the LSU equivalent of ‘BAMA Magazine), and as a graduate assistant under famed LSU Sports Information Director Paul Manasseh.

He shares his thoughts on his vote with BamaMag.com on a regular basis.

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