The Pre-Poll, Poll

Another topsy-turvy weekend in the Top 25 as college football never lets you down with the weekly drama it offers. It's good for Nebraska as you will see, as we give you our early prediction for just how this Top 25 will shake out when the poll comes out on Sunday.

Since the AP doesn't count in the BCS, forgive us if we don't include it into our equation for the speculation on just how this next top 25 will turn out. And we didn't include the Harris poll, because they take forever to come out.


So, it's the Coaches' poll, which actually might be the worst poll out of all of them, because as we know and are often reminded by the very coaches who vote on them, they don't watch the games.


But you can bet they have some lackey watching them for them, although, who knows how much that's worth.


Enough sunshine, though. It was another interesting week that was in college football, and we are going to give you the breakdown and our own super-duper-visual-depiction of anarchy in one of the many football polls around.

 

At No. 1 was, of course, Florida. And going into this game, considering the fact that Tim Tebow is coming back from a concussion and that the Gators would be playing on the road against No. 4 LSU, all they had to do was win to maintain their spot at the top of the collegiate ranks. They did that, and no, it wasn't a spectacular butt-romping of Les "Mad Hatter" Miles' football team, a win was good enough.


So, we know LSU is going to drop, but how much?


We'll get to that, but we think there's going to be a small shuffle between No. 2 and No. 3 as the second-ranked Texas Longhorns, in rather lackluster fashion, perhaps looking ahead to Oklahoma next week, hardly destroyed the struggling Colorado Buffaloes, going into half trailing, and not taking the lead from the Buffs until around the eight-minute mark of the third quarter. Combine that with  a fairly dominant performance by the third-ranked Crimson Tide over woefully overrated, Ole Miss, we figure that's enough for these two to change positions for the week.


So, if you are keeping track at home, here is how we think it will look thus far"


1 – Florida
2 – Alabama
3 – Texas


OK, so LSU was at No. 4, but they obviously won't stay there. How far will they drop? Considering the fact that Florida is considered God's team or darn near close to it, LSU won't be overly penalized for the loss, even if it came at home.


But what does make their drop a little more significant is what happened right below them:


Virginia Tech, ranked fifth going into the week, absolutely hammered Boston College, 48-14. Yes, beating B.C. is about as difficult as running snails over in a closet with a steamroller, but doing it both in the air and on the ground, the Hokies romped the way a team ranked that high is supposed to romp.


At No. 6 we think there will be a little fluctuation as Boise State, the current No. 6, won't play until the middle of this next week and USC, currently sitting at No. 7, was idle.


Not sitting idly by, though, was No. 8 Ohio State, who may not be all that great, but they did manage to beat a previously unbeaten and ranked Wisconsin team, who came into this weekend 25th in the country. Ohio State, playing at home, drubbed the Badgers, 31-13, knocking Wisconsin off the list, and we believe helping their case in leapfrogging the Smurfs and the Trojans, landing at No. 5.


So, that means Ohio State should leap over both USC and Boise State. But because of the love the non-BCS schools don't get, this is where we think LSU lands, taking over Boise's spot at No. 6, while USC remains at seventh and BSU, because they are BSU, moves down to No. 8.


So, here's how the list shakes out now that LSU has officially landed:


4 – Virginia Tech
5 – Ohio State
6 – LSU
7 – USC
8 – Boise State


At No. 9 is TCU, another team in limbo, meaning they play in a conference that nobody even cares about. But, sitting at 4-0, they kind of, sort of beat a 3-2 Air Force team, 20-17. You know as well as anyone else that all anyone needs is an excuse to drop a team not amongst the BCS elitists, and barely beating a barely marginal team isn't going to win you any love in the poll. We figure it's just what the pollsters need to drop them a notch or two.


But where?


Cincinnati comes in at No. 10, but they are idle, which doesn't bode well for them. As we have seen this year, being idle doesn't mean you won't drop in the polls. 11th ranked Miami won in convincing fashion, but over Florida A&M, which is a proud member of the mostly-pride-less MEAC.  The 48-16 win could have been 400-16, and it would have counted about the same.


But, they won't drop. Point of fact, actually playing and winning, we think, will move them up a spot as they knock down the idle-Bearcats to where the Canes just were.


At 12th is Penn State, which beat Eastern Illinois, 53-3. Yeah, kind of like Miami. Drubbing teams from the OVC counts as a win, but even in an overrated Big 10 Conference, it's not the type of win that will get you moved up in the polls.


So, let's take a look at the list now:


9 – Miami
10 – Cincinnati
11 – TCU
12 – Penn State


A little more shuffling at the next two spots as we figure, though, both Oklahoma State (No. 13) and Iowa (14th) won, Oklahoma State had their hands full most of the game with Texas A&M, while Iowa managed to hold serve and stay undefeated against a game, if not great Michigan team. Even though Iowa played at home while OSU was on the road, we'll give Michigan a little more credit for being good than the Aggies. But it's hardly climactic as we just have them switching positions right now.


So, let's just jot them in now, because it's going to get kind of busy after this:


13 – Iowa
14 – Oklahoma State


No. 15 Kansas had a nice chance to stay undefeated and keep the momentum going as they countdown to the showdown in Lawrence, between themselves and Nebraska. Well, they did win, but giving up 36 points and only winning by five over a rebuilding Iowa State team, isn't going to win you any friends in the polls, even if it's a coaching poll and you are Mark Mangino, seemingly a sentimental favorite every single year.


We figure them to drop at least one spot, and our prediction for who takes their spot is Oregon, which currently sits at No. 17.


Where's 16?


Thankfully, and finally, the Ole Miss Rebels will see Sunday end with their team off the top 25. Jevan Snead, the most overrated quarterback in the country, "helped" his Rebels to another whopping loss, this one to Alabama, 22-3. This supposedly offensive group has been offensive all right. But it isn't used in describing how prolific they are at putting points on the board.


They are just not that good, and Snead, who was actually considered a dark horse Heisman candidate at the beginning of the year, threw four more interceptions which takes his total in the last two games to seven. He has nine picks on the year.


So, they are dropping off the list. There's nothing stopping it anymore.


Ranked 17th coming into this weekend was the aforementioned Oregon Ducks, who went into UCLA and won by two touchdowns. UCLA was 3-1 going into the contest.


At 18th was Missouri, but like Ole Miss, they will go from being in the conversation, to straight out of it as we figure them to drop either off the polls or to the bottom of the top 25. We'll go with 25th right now, because the loss to Nebraska in Columbia was a blow, but how much do we really know about the two teams based on the weather? Hard to say. But you lose at home and give up 27 points in the fourth quarter, you're going to drop a ways.


With Ole Miss and Missouri taking the swan dive, surely teams ranked just a few notches below would benefit. Not Auburn, it would seem, as the 19th ranked, unbeaten Tigers go into Arkansas and get flat out whupped to the tune of 44-23. That kind of win might get Arkansas in the top 25, but they were 0-2 in conference play coming into this game. But do Missouri, Ole Miss and Auburn all drop out?


That takes us back to 16th, which we still haven't addressed, because these other teams were too busy dropping like flies. The next team down from Auburn, was BYU who has recovered from the pounding they took at home from Florida State two weeks ago. Well, the good news is that they are into conference play, which means it's going to be a lot more wine and roses than bitter surprises from opponents, most of whom are potential BCS doormats, but with different addresses. The bad part about that is that winning against UNLV, 59-21, which they did this last weekend, isn't going to net you a lot of points in the polls. What you need to have happen before you ultimately play TCU in a couple of weeks, is to have other people lose so you can move up.


Merry early Christmas, because so far, the plan is on pace, and they become the defacto 16th-ranked team, and Oklahoma moves in, coming off an almost equally unimpressive victory, this over a Robert-Griffen-less, Jay-Guy-less Baylor team, 33-7, in Norman.


The Sooners better find themselves a Red Zone offense this week, or Texas might beat them for the fourth time in the last five years.


OK, here's the next three that all of that writing has managed to pin down:


15 – Oregon
16 – BYU
17 – Oklahoma


Like BYU and Oklahoma, Nebraska moves up to 18th, because enough people in front of them lost. Sure, the win in Columbia was big. They got a monkey off their back that is six years running in Missouri, but the last three, overall. And they did it in dramatic fashion. The problem with Nebraska is, their offense is Jekyll and Hyde, and Jekyll never seems to leave Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Their defense is the only reason the team has just one loss on the year, because winning the Sun Belt title when you are in the Big 12, doesn't count.


But it is good momentum for them as they get ready to host the offensively crazy Texas Tech Red Raiders.


Now, here is where it might be a bit sketchy, because based on the 49-44 "defensive" victory of Georgia Tech over Florida State, in Tallahassee, the Yellow Jackets might get a complimentary bump a little higher than we think they should go. Remember, this is a coaches' poll, and I think coaches love Bobby, even though his team is now 0-3 in the ACC. This win shouldn't really do all that much for Tech. It will move them up, but we wonder if they might get more credit for this one than they deserve.


But we'll go with what we think will happen, based on logic and then cringe when anything but seems to take control. Here's how the next two shape up:


18 – Nebraska
19 – Georgia Tech


At 20th we think will be South Florida, who won't play until the 15th when they host the top-10 Cincinnati Bearcats. They are undefeated, though, and they do have a win over a top 20 team, because until Florida State started to really stink up the place, they were ranked 18th before they lost to USF.


Here's where it gets interesting.


There's nobody left from the bottom of the poll to bring up due to the losses from Ole Miss, Missouri and Auburn. That's because Wisconsin came into this week ranked 25th, and now because of the loss to the Buckeyes…buh bye.


So, it's down to how far those losers from above, fall, combined with winners over teams good enough to warrant breaking onto the list:


Let's get this out of the way first:


20 – South Florida


OK, here we go:


At 21 is South Carolina, as the ole' ball coach gets his team back in the top 25 with a win over Kentucky, taking his team to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. The bad news for Spurrier, though, is that he's headin' to Bama next week.


At 22 we have West Virginia, who moved to 4-1 on the season with the 34-13 win over Syracuse. Yes, beating Syracuse is only a little more credible than it was last year when anyone could beat them. But WVU's only loss thus far has come to Auburn, who until the hiccup against Arkansas, was undefeated.


At 23 here comes the Fightin' Irish, fresh off that climactic win over that legendary Washington team. You know, Washington. The team that beat USC. Yes, it's also the same Washington that lost their next two games, which includes the Irish. So, not the best win in the world, and unless you have been watching "Rudy", probably not a big enough win to get you vaulted into the top 10 where all Irish fans maintain that ND should be ranked….at the very least.


At 24th, yeah, I have to give it to them, Arkansas makes it into our top 25 list following that absolute butt pounding they gave the Tigers. And it wasn't just super stud QB Ryan Mallet. He was just a fraction of all the ways Sewie went Hog-wild on previously unbeaten Auburn, rushing for 221 yards, while passing it for 274, and outside of the third quarter where Auburn did mount an impressive comeback, the offensively potent team scored a whopping three points in the other quarters. Them hoggies look good right now.


And round it out are the one and only Missouri Tigers, who unlike Auburn and Ole Miss, manage to stay in the top 25.


I'm a Big 12 homer, you say?


Maybe, but I prefer to look at the game they lost as a blow, but in perfect conditions Auburn got undressed. And it was only a matter of time before Ole Miss got knocked out of this poll, and people realized how stupid it was to have them as high as they were to begin with. Missouri is still a solid team, and I don't think you can draw much from a game where both quarterbacks from both teams struggled mightily, and it was defense which ultimately made the win possible for the Huskers.


I'd say they are still a solid team, which we'll probably see for most of the rest of the schedule. But Nebraska got them good this time around.


So, that's it, all the marbles, the whole enchilada…or something like that.


It's our prediction for today's new top 25.


It's meant for entertainment purposes only, so please, no wagering.


Here's how the final list looks:

 

1 – Florida
2 – Alabama
3 – Texas

4 – Virginia Tech
5 – Ohio State
6 – LSU
7 – USC
8 – Boise State
9 – Miami
10 – Cincinnati
11 – TCU
12 – Penn State
13 – Iowa
14 – Oklahoma State
15 – Oregon
16 – BYU
17 – Oklahoma
18 – Nebraska
19 – Georgia Tech
20 – South Florida
21 – South Carolina
22 – West Virginia
23 – Notre Dame
24 – Arkansas
25 – Missouri

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