If I had a vote in the AP Poll
1. Ohio State (10-0)…Okay, I know this is going to sound weird, but aren't the young Illini about the scrappiest 2-8 football team you've ever seen?
2. Michigan (10-0)…The Wolverines look like a tired football team that has lost its edge and focus. Can they get them both back before November 18th?
4. Louisville (8-0)…Got the big win they were looking this Thursday night but they could be headed towards an ambush in New Jersey next Thursday night.
5. Florida (8-1)…Hard to believe the Gators are headed to the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 2000.
6. Auburn (9-1)…Still sneaking around the SEC West, hoping that either the Volunteers or Tigers can help them get to the SEC Championship Game.
7. USC (7-1)…Feasted on the Cardinal, but now faces perhaps the toughest closing four-game stretch in all of college football.
8. Arkansas (8-1)…Has any team in America improved more since week one than the Razorbacks?
10. West Virginia (7-1)…The loss to Louisville dropped the Mountaineers out of the national title hunt, but they still have a shot at the BCS.
11. Rutgers (8-0)…The Scarlet Knights played in the first college football game ever in 1869, but they've never had a bigger home game than the one coming up this week.
12. LSU (7-2)…Finally got a signature win this season, winning in Knoxville. If they win out they could be an attractive at-large candidate for the BCS.
13. Notre Dame (8-1)…The Irish are going to be in the BCS, but I still think they're one of the more overrated teams in the country.
14. Tennessee (7-2)…The Volunteers are now out of the SEC and BCS picture, and they're beat up. Could motivation be a problem the rest of the way?
16. Georgia Tech (7-2)…All of a sudden the Yellow Jackets find themselves the favorite for their first ACC title since their co-national title season of 1990.
17. Wake Forest (8-1)…The Demon Deacons got the big win over B.C., but they may not win another game this season.
19. Boise State (9-0)…Will the computers allow them to climb high enough to get into the BCS considering their weak strength of schedule?
20. Boston College (7-2)…Despite this week's loss the Eagles still have a pretty decent shot of landing in the ACC Championship Game.
22. Brigham Young (7-2)…I still think the Cougars are the best team in a non-BCS conference, not Boise State.
23. Oregon (7-2)…The Ducks fell off the radar after hitting a rough patch in October, but can get back on it in a hurry by winning at USC.
24. Texas A&M (8-2)…Despite the tough loss at home to the Sooners, the Aggies still can get to a decent bowl game by beating Nebraska this week.
25. Maryland (7-2)…Seemingly out of nowhere the Terps now control their own destiny in the ACC Atlantic Division.
My Heisman Ballot (no changes from last week)
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly on the Cyclones
The Good—It's difficult to compliment anyone when you lose 31-10 to the Fresh Prince of Manhattan and 41-10 to bleeding Kansas, but a defense that is undermanned, malnourished talent-wise, and woefully minus playmakers has played hard all season long despite its inadequacies. I've said it before and I'll say it again, had the offense given similar effort this season this team wouldn't be 3-7, out of the bowl picture, and looking at the third winless conference campaign in the Dan McCarney era.
The Bad—The next two weeks will cause a breach in the Cyclone Nation as the debate over the future of Dan McCarney's future rages on. Actually, I thought that Saturday was so dismal there was a chance that Jamie Pollard would announce today that Dan McCarney wasn't returning next season, like Michigan State and North Carolina already did, or that Pollard would give Mac a vote of confidence for 2007. At this point, I'm not sure what more there is to see the next two weeks.
Mac's record is what it is. It won't improve or decline the next two weeks. You're not going to be convinced one way or the other that Mac is still the man or that he no longer is. If you're going to make a move, all you did was cost yourself two more weeks of looking for candidates. If you're not going to make a move, all you did was leave Mac hung out to dry unnecessarily for two weeks.
I don't believe that Pollard has decided to wait until the end of the season because he hasn't made a decision. He already knows whether or not he can sell 30,000 season tickets next year with Mac back at the helm. This is an athletic director always thinking two or three steps ahead. I think Pollard is waiting because he's still working donors, most of them loyal to Mac, to see if they'd be willing to ante up for a buyout, and/or because he already has one or two names in mind for a replacement so a lengthy search won't be needed.
The Ugly—You could sum up Iowa State's downright offensive performance on offense with an anecdote from legendary USC football coach John McKay. After he left the Trojans, he took over the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1970s, probably the worst team in NFL history not run by Matt Millen. After one particularly dismal Sunday, one reporter asked McKay about his team's woeful execution on offense? His answer was a priceless all-timer.
"My offense's execution," McKay replied, "I'm in favor of it."
(Steve Deace founded Cyclone Nation in 2002. He can be heard on the radio each weekday from 4-7 p.m. on 1040-WHO and seen each week on television on Mediacom's "Cy-Hawk Talk: State of the Nations" on Connections Channel throughout 500,000 homes in Iowa. His opinions are just that, his opinions, and not necessarily the opinions of Cyclone Nation staff.)