This is how I would rank the top teams in college football this week if I had a vote in the AP Poll:
1. LSU (6-0)…The indisputable top team in the country now – but the next three games are the toughest part of their schedule.
2. California (5-0)…No team in college football has benefited more from the shake up at the top the past two weeks.
3. Ohio State (6-0)…Okay, on second thought, maybe it's the Buckeyes who have benefited the most the past two weeks.
6. Oklahoma (5-1)…All of a sudden the Sooners are right back in the BCS title hunt, and they have a very favorable schedule the rest of the way.
7. Oregon (4-1)…It's entirely possible the Ducks could be favored in every one of their remaining games.
8. Missouri (5-0)…By taking the Huskers behind the woodshed the Tigers sent a message this is the year they're finally for real.
9. Cincinnati (6-0)…Halfway through the season there hasn't been a more fundamentally sound and better-coached team than the Bearcats.
11. USC (4-1)…Tough call dropping the Trojans this far, but when you look at their 2007 on-field resume it's really not all that impressive.
15. Kentucky (5-1)…Though their tenure in the top 10 was short-lived, they could get right back up there by upsetting the #1 team in the nation this week.
16. Auburn (4-2)…Left for dead a couple of weeks ago, it turns out that Tommy Tuberville hasn't forgotten how to coach after all.
17. Florida (4-2)…If there was a tournament in college football the defending champs would still be a threat to repeat; but there's not so they aren't.
19. Wisconsin (5-1)…Now that the nation's longest winning streak is over the Badgers can settle into becoming a middle of the pack Big Ten team.
20. Virginia Tech (5-1)…Finally defeated an opponent with a pulse by using Beamer-ball to escape Death Valley.
21. Florida State (4-1)…The steadily improving Seminoles should be 7-1 when they visit Boston College to open November.
22. Georgia (4-2)…Ran into an absolute buzzsaw in Knoxville and missed a golden opportunity to jump ahead of the Gators in the SEC East.
23. Maryland (4-2)…The surprising Terrapins really have a chance to get on a roll the next three weeks with three winnable games.
My Heisman Ballot
Five Thoughts on the Cyclones
1. It's good to see that the long-expected announcement regarding the athletic department regaining control of Hilton Coliseum has been formalized. This is another key cog in Jamie Pollard's ambitious vision/revenue plan for ISU's future. And if you've been watching the present this fall then you know Cyclone sports are all about the future.
2. The Iowa State wrestlers are ranked #2 in the country. While I can't name a single Cyclone wrestler (does Cael Sanderson count?) that's still pretty cool.
3. Remember when folks said we shouldn't let Dan McCarney "resign" because no big-time coaches would be interested in coming to Iowa State. Well, look at how two of the other candidates for the job did this weekend. Jim Harbaugh led the Cardinal to the biggest upset in college football history not involving Appalachian State with his backup quarterback in the L.A. Coliseum. In the final two minutes, that backup quarterback converted a 4th-and-20 and a 4th-and-goal from the 10-yard line to upset the previously top-ranked Trojans. Meanwhile, Brian Kelly has the most fundamentally-sound and well-coached football team I've seen in all of college football so far this season at Cincinnati. They're a machine. Both of those individuals would've taken the ISU job it were offered, but it wasn't. Jamie Pollard chose to go with Gene Chizik instead. If you trust Jamie, which I do, that should bode well for the future of ISU football.
4. How is it that Iowa sucks worse on the field than we do, and we beat them on the field, but recruit Russell Ellington de-commits from us to play for them? That's why I detest all of the attention on recruiting and barely follow it myself. It compels grown men with marriages and jobs to care too much about the whims of young men who haven't even attended their senior proms yet. Besides, if recruiting rankings really mattered, wouldn't that be reflected in this week's team rankings? For instance, USC, Michigan, Florida State, Tennessee, Texas, and Notre Dame supposedly have top-10 recruiting classes every year. Yet none of them are ranked in the top 10 this week and only two of them are even ranked at all. Where are all the four and five-star recruits for South Florida, Boston College, Cincinnati, Missouri, Kansas, and Kentucky? The reality of recruiting ranks is this: a player's character and a coaching staff's ability to develop players is far more important than all the recruiting rankings combined.
5. I saved the worst for last: I'm not sure we're going to win another football game this season. Enjoy the Cy-Hawk Trophy.