I present to you Week 6 of the Bring On The Cats Top 25 Poll, in which our voters attempt to derive order from the chaos that was produced by Armageddon Saturday:
As always, your slate of voters is myself, Curtis Kitchen, EMAW 4 Ever, Jon Morse, JT VanGilder, Luke Thompson, nugget1224, PurpleBrunette, wildcat00 and KSUEMAW!
Following a turbulent weekend that saw 11 of the Top 25 teams lose, voters were left with the unenviable task of sorting out the chaos. Obviously, it took a little longer than usual to make sense of all the shakeups.
The results? Like last week, four teams still are replacing first-place votes, but three of them are entirely new teams!
Just 30 points separate first place from fifth place this week, and only 40 from first to sixth, continuing a trend that has been apparent for several weeks.
The rest of the poll featured violent moves up and down, highlighted by the meteoric rises of upset kings/undefeated teams Arizona (+16), Georgia Tech (+14) and TCU (+13), as well as the precipitous falls of the defeated: A&M (-6), Alabama (-7), Nebraska (-7), Oklahoma (-8), Oregon (-9) and UCLA (-10).
The chaos was so pervasive that not one single team remained where it was last week, the smallest move was two spots and a team that didn't receive a single vote last week (Utah) checks in at No. 23 this week.
This also was a week of new faces. In addition to Georgia Tech and Utah, Arizona State returned on a prayer, Marshall made its debut appearance and beloved North Dakota State hopped back in on the strength of appearing on half of the ballots (not including mine, believe it or not).
Obvious dropouts were BYU, which suffered two losses in one night; two-loss LSU, an increasingly pathetic looking team; two-loss Stanford, whose best win was an uninspiring performance in Seattle; two-loss Wisconsin, who has two really ugly performances away from home; and two-loss USC, whose best win is the aforementioned Stanford.
- The BOTC voters agree with the Associated Press on the rankings of No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 18 UCLA, No. 19 East Carolina and No. 20 Arizona State. Most of the top 10 also was close, with all teams residing within two places of their AP rank.
- The biggest AP divergences were five-place boosts for Georgia Tech (due mostly to my putting the Jackets ninth) and Kansas State (duh!); a whopping 18-spot boost for North Dakota State (the AP hates the FCS, I guess); a six-place deficit for Michigan State (did you watch that fourth-quarter meltdown?!); and a seven-spot ding for Ohio State (Virginia Tech, yo). Analysis: We like undefeated teams and we hate the Big Ten Conference.
- Oklahoma State can breathe easy — we have a new variance king. That would be enigmatic Arizona, which nearly lost at home to Cal, but dominated Oregon on the road. The Wildcats checked in anywhere from third to 19th, reflecting the uncertainty of AP voters in the wake of a turbulent weekend. The second highest variance among teams appearing on all ballots went to Michigan State, which ranges from eighth to 19th.
- This week, Georgia Tech had the most variance overall, having been left off two ballots entirely, but checking in at ninth in two others. Marshall came in second, being omitted on three ballots, but appearing at a ludicrous 10th on one (JT did it) and 25th on three others.
- The highest-ranked team not to appear on every ballot is Georgia, which was omitted from one ballot (perhaps accidentally — I didn't ask). Arizona State, East Carolina, Georgia Tech and Utah all were left off two ballots.
- The BOTC Top 25 said no to acronyms this week, ejecting BYU, LSU and USC. Red also was an unpopular color, as Stanford, USC and Wisconsin all tumbled out.
- For the second straight week, Missouri managed to appear on at least half of the ballots, yet not break into the Top 25. That's what happens when you lose at home to Indiana and South Carolina keeps losing.
- A couple of people threw Brigham Young some pity votes, even though the Cougars' season is going to start swirling down the toilet now without Taysom Hill. I also was curious to see three votes for LSU, which very well may lose to Florida on Saturday.
- Some other surprising and perhaps questionable ballot entries included Minnesota (because beating Michigan is so impressive), Oregon State (who have the Beavers beaten?), South Carolina (three losses, people, three losses), USC (Curtis also thinks Stanford is the bomb, so I guess this makes a little sense), West Virginia (Luke, when the Red Raiders upset the Mountaineers, you will feel a little sheepish for clinging to Dana's golden locks) and Wisconsin (which managed to lose despite almost 300 rushing yards — that shouldn't even be physically possible).
- Teams that received votes last week, but not this week: North Carolina State and Yale. (JT finally came to his senses.)