I present to you Week 7 of the Bring On The Cats Top 25 Poll, in which a strange semblance of order drifts down onto the poll like an unexpected autumn snow:
As always, your slate of voters is myself, Curtis Kitchen, EMAW 4 Ever, Jon Morse, JT VanGilder, Luke Thompson, nugget1224, PurpleBrunette, wildcat00 and KSUEMAW!
Seven more ranked teams lost last week, but unlike the week before when the losses turned everything upside-down, last week almost served to bring clarity to everything.
What do I mean by that? Well, basically every ballot had some combination of this week's top five teams in its top five, with only rare exceptions.
Despite a one-point difference between first and second, and a tie for seventh, you generally will see around 10-point differences between each team throughout the top 15. That means each team basically is considered one full step ahead of the next, without the huge gaps of public opinion that characterized previous week's iterations.
Another way to put it would be that this poll featured by far the least amount of variance yet, with all but seven ranked teams having variances of less than 7.1. (That's very low, indicating a high degree of agreement among voters regarding that team's rank.)
Arizona and Texas A&M suffered the biggest drops this week after ugly home losses, while Marshall, Minnesota and Stanford had the biggest jumps, mostly because of who fell out above them, more than who they actually beat.
Otherwise, there was slight upward tracking for most teams, with the odd exception of three Big 12 teams (Baylor, Oklahoma and TCU) that stayed exactly put. I say odd because Oklahoma State inexplicably jumped three spots despite almost finding a way to lose to KU.
The only new faces this week are the aforementioned Minnesota and Stanford, sliding in for departed Georgia Tech and UCLA.
- The BOTC voters agree with the Associated Press on the rankings of No. 1 Mississippi State, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 6 Auburn, No. 7 Alabama, No. 9 Oregon, No. 11 Oklahoma and No. 23 Stanford. That's the most such teams yet, more evidence that things are sliding into an agreed-upon hierarchy.
- The biggest AP divergences were a five-spot boost for TCU (there's that Big 12 bias again!); a seven-place increase for Marshall (undefeated is king); a five-spot deficit for Georgia (How are the 'Dawgs a top-10 team when their most impressive win to date is against a Mizzou team that received zero votes? BOTC is rightly skeptical); and a seven-place ding for Ohio State (speaking of overrated teams of which we are right to be skeptical). Then there's the ongoing, vast difference of opinion with North Dakota State, which almost isn't even worth discussing at this point.
- New variance king Arizona was dethroned by Marshall, despite a head-scratching loss to USC. (Aside: Have you noticed that road teams are winning almost every single Pac-12 match-up this year? Seriously, check out my chain in the comments.) The Wildcats checked in anywhere from eighth to 23rd this week, which still was good for second among teams ranked on all 10 ballots. Marshall ranged from sixth (JT prizes not losing above actually playing someone with a pulse) to 25th (three ballots gave the Herd just a token nod).
- This week, Georgia had the most variance overall, having been left off two ballots entirely, but checking in at fifth in Curtis' ballot. North Dakota State had the second most, missing four ballots, but coming in as high as 12th on one of them.
- The highest-ranked team not to appear on every ballot is still Georgia, which was omitted from two ballots (meaning UGa actually lost ground for beating the Tigers). Arizona State was left off one ballot, while Nebraska and Ohio State were left off two.
- Duke, Georgia Tech and USC each appeared on four ballots, yet couldn't crack the top 25. Keep trying, guys.
- This is the week I stop making fun of the last few throwaway teams that received votes, mostly because you could make a case from many of them over most two-loss teams at this point. (And it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I ranked Kentucky, which lost to Florida, or Oregon State prior to its home loss to Utah last night.)
- Absolutely no teams received votes last week, but not this week. That's a first.