Much of the conversation about the Top 25 polls yesterday focused on two questions: Would the voters be less stubborn than they have in the past and move Mississippi State and/or Ole Miss past Florida State, and which one would get the top spot. The Bulldogs won that argument, with Ole Miss clocking in at No. 3, behind the Seminoles. Mississippi State has never been ranked No. 1 before.
|1||Mississippi State (45)
||Mississippi State (26)
|2||Florida State (12)
||Florida State (31)
|3||Ole Miss (3)
||Ole Miss (5)
|5||Notre Dame||Notre Dame|
|13||Ohio State||Ohio State|
|14||Kansas State||Kansas State|
|15||Oklahoma State||Oklahoma State|
|18||East Carolina||Arizona State|
|21||Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
For a composite Top 25 college football ranking, visit SBNation.com
Just how impressed were voters with Mississippi State's win against Auburn? The Bulldogs picked up 43 first-place votes in the AP poll, meaning roughly 72 percent of the overall voters in the survey didn't vote for Mississippi State as the No. 1 team last week and did this week. A lot of those votes probably came out of the hide of Auburn, which had 23 ballots last week and none this time around, but FSU lost 23 -- and some of those went to Mississippi State. Ole Miss picked up three after having none the week before.
For at least the second time this year, the coaches poll gives Florida State the most first-place votes and places them at No. 2. There is still a subset of voters not putting the Seminoles in the top two places on their ballots. It's only a one-point win for Mississippi State, and the gap between the Bulldogs and Florida State in No. 1 votes is narrow, so it might not be a particularly large subset of voters. There's likely a number of voters who have Ole Miss and Mississippi State in the top two spots with FSU following at No. 3, and that might make the difference right now.
Auburn falls four spots in the AP poll and six among the coaches after the loss to Mississippi State, while Alabama stands pat at No. 7 after an uninspiring win against Arkansas. That means that there are still four SEC West teams in the Top 10 -- or, actually, four SEC West teams in the Top 8. It's still viewed as far and away the best division in college football, at least among the poll voters.
Georgia's decimation of Missouri apparently didn't impress the coaches, who kept the Dawgs at No. 10, but it convinced the sportswriters to move them up three spots and make Georgia consensus Top 10 team. I still wonder if they're a bit of a Paper Bulldog here -- I think Georgia is a very good team this year, but I'm not sold on Top 10 good just yet -- but, with a road game against an Arkansas team that's more impressive than its record coming up this Saturday, we'll find out soon enough.
Texas A&M plummets seven spots after the loss to Ole Miss, meaning the Aggies have now lost a total of either 14 or 15 positions in the last two weeks, depending on the poll. Missouri, unsurprisingly, is gone entirely after the face-plant against Georgia, which is now the only ranked team in the SEC East. The conference as a whole is down to six teams in the poll, which I believe is the lowest mark of the season.
Elsewhere, Ohio State has managed to work its way back up to No. 13 after losing to Virginia Tech, a team that has gone 2-2 since knocking off the Buckeyes in Columbus. I realize you could say something similar about Georgia after the South Carolina loss (though that was at least in Columbia), but it's always odd to see voters ignore what happened to a team's previous opponents when ranking them. If you're wondering, Ohio State's wins since then have come against Kent State, Cincinnati and Maryland, with only the later being a road game for the Buckeyes.
Notre Dame moves up a spot in the AP, making their game this weekend against Florida State a consensus Top 5 showdown. Clemson also moves back onto the board -- more firmly in the coaches poll, which had them at No. 25 last week -- helping Georgia's strength of schedule argument should the Bulldogs need it at some point.
The Pac-12 has six teams in the poll, tying the SEC. UCLA falls completely out after an impressive two-week implosion against Utah and Oregon which will shock fans of Jim Mora's Atlanta Falcons teams not at all. The Big 12 isn't far behind with five teams among the Top 25. Something both of those conferences are likely to point out: That amounts to half of their leagues in the Top 25, while the SEC is slightly below that level.
The most interesting undercard to watch might be East Carolina vs. Marshall. Assuming that the Top 25 tracks fairly close to selection committee rankings -- and, as we've said numerous times before, there's no way to be sure how close the match will be -- the battle for a higher ranking between those two teams could be for a spot in one of the bowls seeded by the selection committee. Right now, ECU (another puzzling victim of South Carolina) has the edge, but watch this space.