Alabama maintains its strangle-hold on the top spot in the week eight BlogPoll (full results here), garnering 62 of 73 first place votes. They're joined in the top three by Oregon and Florida. What do those three teams have in common? Tennessee has road games scheduled against each in 2013. Won't that be fun? The other 11 first place votes went to #2 Oregon (3), #3 Florida (5), #4 Kansas State (1), #5 Notre Dame (4), and #10 Ohio State (1).
For the third week in a row, the top five matches exactly the Rocky Top Talk ballot. At #6? Divergence. LSU and South Carolina follow Notre Dame at #6 and #7, each one spot behind where we--making room for Oregon State--placed them. The Beavers come in #8, followed by Oklahoma and Ohio State. So in the top nine, our only disagreement with the overall BlogPoll was placement of Oregon State. And they're confusing, because of being undefeated, having played lots of good teams, but not having played any legitimate top 25 teams.
After that comes the head-to-head police's nightmare. Southern Cal comes in #12, ten spots ahead of a Stanford team that beat them. To be clear, I have no problem with putting the Trojans ahead of the Cardinal, even though our ballot is reversed. They do, after all, have one fewer loss. But I'm not sure what either team has done to merit a ten spot separation. What I do have a problem with is dropping Stanford five spots after an overtime loss on the road to Notre Dame. If you have Notre Dame #5 (which the BlogPoll does), you should expect them to beat #17 at home. If it's a blowout, maybe that lowers your opinion of #17. But if it goes to overtime, how do you justify dropping #17 to #22? They've gone above and beyond expectations and are penalized for it? Makes no sense.
The other thing that makes no sense is having West Virginia #17 and Texas Tech #18. I've had my fair share of arguments with the head-to-head police, on the grounds that close road games in letdown situations really don't prove the home team as superior. But 49-14 is not close. Two teams played, this week, and it was a 35 point game. And you're trying to tell me that the team that lost by 35 is better. Sorry, not buying. Now if Texas Tech gets blown out by TCU this weekend (which is quite possible--see 2011 Texas Tech/Iowa State game), we can talk. But for now, the Red Raiders have to be ahead. At least the BlogPoll is an improvement over the coaches' poll, which has West Virginia #15 and Texas Tech #20.
The BlogPoll is also not impressed with Iowa State's crushing victory over TCU (on the road, I might add). The Frogs are ranked #24 and the Cyclones, whose only losses are to the #4 and #18 teams, are left out.
One other jump worthy of note is Mississippi State, who rode the win over Tennessee from #19 to #14.
Biggest disagreements between the Rocky Top Talk ballot and the overall poll? Mostly Stanford. We have the Cardinal holding steady at #10 after an OT loss in South Bend, while the overall poll has them #22. Additionally, we are less impressed with Mississippi State, who we placed #21, than the voters at large, who put them #14. Tennessee fans have seen this too much to be impressed?
Three teams make the Rocky Top Talk ballot that could not squeeze into the final poll: #22 Iowa State, #24 Western Kentucky, and #25 Louisiana Tech. Balancing it out, we failed to rank #24 TCU and #25 Michigan, both of whom were near the top of our consideration pile. Our full ballot:
- Extreme votes? None here, but we came close. Four voters put Mississippi State #22, and we provided the second highest vote for Stanford, who got a #6 selection from From Old Virginia (who has Notre Dame #1).
- As mentioned earlier, next week's opponent got mostly first-place votes. Their lowest ranking was #5 from OBNUG, who has them behind the Ohio Bobcats and South Carolina Gamecocks, among others. Their main criteria is number of FBS wins, so I'm inclined to dismiss them. Alabama's next lowest vote was #4, from Bring on the Cats and Tomahawk Nation.
- Nobody voted for the Vols. Shocking.