Oh, last week was a disaster. It's Christmas morning, and dad hands you one of your presents, and you decide to try and be clever and funny and shake the box and... oops. Well, kids, it's time to open that box, dump everything out, and see what we're left with.
Last week's destruction resulted in a complete reshuffling of the deck with the exception of two teams. Florida State remains atop the combined poll, and the chaos actually allowed them -- for the first time all season -- to slightly extend their lead over second place. This obviously makes sense. Georgia also remains right where they were after last week, which in the context of everything that happened is simply a remarkable feat.
As always, the explanation for our methodology is located way back in our week one article. We should also note that once again, the coaches poll was missing a ballot. That means that while our PPB figures account for this, in terms of raw point totals a small loss in points in the coaches poll may actually indicate an increase in support for a team, and that effect is stronger toward the top of the poll than the bottom. Having said that, this week such distinctions are hardly relevant. To get to a point where the missing ballot could even possibly account for a delta change from positive to negative, you have to go all the way down to the high 30s... at which point it's still irrelevant because we're talking about teams that might, if they were lucky, have received a couple of extra points from that missing vote.
And now, the magic table:
|North Dakota State||39||44||44||0.025||39||-5||0.025||0.000|
|North Carolina State||43||44||47||0.000||42||-5||0.008||-0.008|
Where the real damage was done
As noted, Florida State remains on top and got a little breathing room. What's most important here this week is that instead of four teams fighting over number one, we're down to two. Auburn is only a quarter of a point back of the Seminoles, but there's a 2.5 point gap between Auburn and the next group, even though Baylor and Mississippi State each received first-place votes. Baylor, across all 121 ballots, received exactly two more points than Ole Miss, and therefore claim third place in our combined poll by a mere .008 PPB. Mississippi State lags back a bit despite being dead even with Ole Miss in the AP poll thanks to the coaches very clearly and indisputably having Baylor and Ole Miss 3-4 with the Bulldogs actually in 6th.
Indeed, the top six in the coaches' poll are all properly separated; it's just that Notre Dame's gotten in the way. We have to include the Irish in the top group now as a result. They sit a little under one full PPB back of CLANGA.
Where the losers went
There's a 2.5 PPB drop from the Irish to the first of our former contenders. Alabama's fall was less precipitous than their cohorts, and they maintain a stable lead over Michigan State. The Spartans, in turn, have a solid 1.6 PPB lead over suddenly-relevant TCU, with Oklahoma clinging desperately to the frogs' legs. That gap is narrow due to the coaches still having the Sooners three spots higher than their murderers, which is nonsensical but whatever. Still within the margin behind Oklahoma are Oregon, Georgia, and the Pac-12's new darlings Arizona; this group of five teams are only separated by 1.1 PPB in total.
Those who were 4-1, and won
Texas A&M is on an island between groups here, being a full two PPB back of Arizona and two ahead of Ohio State. The Buckeyes, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State were all sucked upward to fill the space left abandoned by the massive losses within the middle of the poll. Another loser breaks up the party at 17, as UCLA landed here; they're followed in relatively even spacing by two more teams which won and advanced, although not as dramatically as K-State and the OSUs: East Carolina, who still managed to gain ground despite a lackluster win over SMU, and Arizona State, who had to rely on a hail mary to escape with a win.
Nebraska's next, sliding four spots after a loss to Sparty -- the smallest drop of any team which lost this weekend. Georgia Tech suddenly appears, having somehow managed to quietly get to 5-0; they are the lowest-ranked unbeaten among the Power 5, and for valid reasons. A win this week over Duke would help legitimize them somewhat. The top 25 wraps up with Missouri and Stanford -- both relatively close to Georgia Tech -- and Utah.
An interesting observation to be made here: while the top 13 are a chaotic mess because the two polls don't seem to agree on much of anything other than Florida State, Alabama, and Sparty, the bottom half of the top 25 actually sees most teams holding the same spot in both polls, and those that don't are only one or two places apart. Notably, both polls agree entirely on the A&M-Ohio State pairing and the ECU-ASU-Nebraska group; what differences remain are the result of Oklahoma State having a much higher level of support in the AP, and some confusion as to what should be done below Nebraska.
There's not much else here
The group of unranked teams which still have at least a half-point per ballot is dwindling rapidly. Clemson, who miss the top 25 by 0.5 PPB, and Marshall, with a solid 1.453 PPB, are hanging in there ready to strike. LSU is still getting just under a point per ballot, with much more support among the coaches than the writers. USC and Louisville complete this group.
After that, we've got the fallen Badgers and Mormons, and then the usual suspects that have been hanging out in the "receiving just a few votes" lobby for awhile now: West Virginia, Arkansas, Minnesota, Washington, Duke, Penn State, Iowa, North Dakota State, and Virginia. They're joined by returning guest stars Rutgers and Memphis, newcomers Kentucky and California, and the winners of this week's award for biggest drop by ordinal position: South Carolina, falling 18 places from 27th to "just got one point" at 45th.
The other awards, and fond farewells
The biggest loss of points from last week belongs to LSU, which shed over nine points per ballot as they fell from 15th to 28th. Oklahoma, A&M, UCLA, Stanford, USC, and BYU all registered losses of over seven PPB. The winner of this week's biggest point increase is TCU, picking up over 13.6 PPB over last week; they just barely beat Arizona, who gained just under 13.2. While those two schools were, respectively, second and third in terms of largest ordinal rise (17 and 16), the biggest gain was made by Utah -- who went from receiving no votes at all in either poll last week to #24 in the AP and #27 in the coaches' poll.
Leaving us this week as a result of receiving no votes at all: North Carolina, North Carolina State, Maryland, Cincinnati, and Texas. We'd like to thank the ACC for playing, and remind them that the best team in North Carolina is one they think beneath them.