I present to you Week 3 of the Bring On The Cats Top 25 Poll — or rather, the Top 26 Poll, as it turns out this week:
As always, your slate of voters is myself, Curtis Kitchen, EMAW 4 Ever, Jon Morse, JT VanGilder, Luke Thompson, nugget1224, PurpleBrunette, wildcat00 and KSUEMAW!
Georgia's loss was Texas A&M's gain. The Aggies picked up most of the Bulldog's stray votes and were able to jump Alabama for third place.
That Reveille-loving trend aside, the rest of the top 10 almost perfectly mirrors the national consensus.
The week's big loser, other than Georgia, obviously was USC, which plummeted 12 spots (and was left off half the ballots). Oh, and Virginia Tech, which fell out completely and didn't receive a single vote.
The biggest beneficiary of all this chaos was South Carolina, which rocketed back up 12 spots from unranked status to become the third-highest-ranked one-loss team.
Everyone else moved up incrementally, although the Huskers posted a larger-than-average jump of five spots after an impressive road beatdown of Fresno State.
Special kudos to North Dakota State, which finally enters the poll on the strength of fanboy love from me (18th) and JT (an almost inexplicable 13th). Other than the FCS Top 25, is this the Bison's first poll ranking?
On the whole, our poll is pretty close to the AP poll, although there are some glaring differences (other than the Bison, of course).
The most obvious is K-State's virtual top-10 status, which I assume is fan bias in anticipation of a signature victory Thursday night. Oklahoma State also benefits from a Big 12 bias, checking in five spots higher than in the AP poll.
An unusual tie for 25th place caused me to have to include 26 teams this week. That wouldn't have happened with a tie at any other position. So, Clemson and Ohio State, congratulations? You're trailing an FCS team!
- Bad week for the ACC, man, as three teams dropped out. On the bright side, the first four awaiting entry all are from the ACC. Counting Clemson, that's five in a row. On the brighter side, at least you're not the Big Ten.
- BOTC voters agree that Florida State and Oregon are in great shape for playoff berths, but the other two teams are far from a consensus. A total of 25 points separates third from eighth. After that, there is a 40-point dropoff to the tier of Notre Dame and Ole Miss, then a 30-point dropoff to the next tier.
- By far, voters disagreed about Oklahoma State more than any other team, with some Cowboys apologists placing them in the top 10 and others leaving them off the ballot entirely.
- Among teams ranked on all ballots, Notre Dame easily had the most variance, checking in anywhere from eighth to 23rd. Oklahoma was next, ranging from second to 14th.
- The highest-ranked team not to appear on every ballot is UCLA, left off two entries despite three wins over at least decent competition. I think they might be the only team on the poll not to have played an FCS team, other than Notre Dame and BYU.
- Due to an oversight, Missouri does not appear on my ballot (sorry, Luke, but that's what you get for ranking the Wildcats 19th). By the time I caught it, it was too late to recalculate. If I had ranked the Tigers correctly, I would have placed them somewhere around 15th.
- TCU actually appeared on five ballots, but wasn't higher than 22nd on any of them and so couldn't achieve more than 12 points.
- Some surprising and perhaps questionable ballot entries that tend to happen at this time of year, when undefeated teams who actually haven't beaten anybody are prized above one-loss teams with "good" losses, included Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Syracuse (all courtesy of JT); Florida, despite a near-loss (that one was mine); Boston College and Northern Illinois (really, KSUEMAW?); and Memphis (Jon just won't let the Tigers go).
- Teams that received votes last week, but not this week: Minnesota, Rutgers, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Losing will do that to you.