It was always going to be easier for Alabama to get top billing in the USA Today poll -- due to the contractual obligation and all -- and for Arkansas to get to No. 5 and give the SEC more than half of that group, for reasons that will become clearer in a few moments. Check.
The final USA Today Top 25 rankings are already out, and the Top 10 looks like this:
3 Oklahoma State
6 Boise State
8 South Carolina
10 Michigan State
The SEC has half the Top 8 and a quarter of the Top 20 when you scroll all the way down to No. 20 Georgia. All of those are tops among any conferences. There are also a couple of current or future SEC teams that almost made the rankings: Missouri missed by 46 points and Auburn by 51. Texas A&M got five points, and Florida and Mississippi State each got one. I only wish I was making that last part up.
Arkansas essentially leapfrogged Boise State, which is somewhat defensible when you consider that the Hogs beat No. 16 Kansas State while the Broncos shellacked an Arizona State team that hasn't been above-average in months. South Carolina's 17-point waxing of Nebraska appeared to tell the coaches more about the Huskers than about the Gamecocks; South Carolina moves up one and Nebraska drops four spots.
All the drama this year surrounds the AP poll, which we are assured is on its way. That is, of course, the only avenue left for LSU to somehow win a share of the national title. How anyone could watch that game and then vote for LSU as the top team in the country confuses me, but we have to wait for these things to be official.
It will be harder for Arkansas to get into the Top 5 on those ballots for one reason: The coaches are not allowed to vote for Southern Cal, but the sports writers can. Southern Cal was No. 5 last week and Oregon was No. 6 even before the win against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The Hogs have to move past at least one of those teams and Stanford to make it.