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Week Six BlogPoll Doesn't Like Pac-12 Beatpaths

Alabama remains a strong #1, the top three separate from the pack, and Tennessee picks up some votes for its loss in Athens. Oh yes, and voters think Southern Cal is better than Stanford, Stanford is better than Washington, and Nebraska is better than UCLA.

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Just as it has all season, Alabama captured the #1 spot in the week six Blogpoll (full results here), nabbing 76 of 85 possible first-place votes. The others went to #2 Oregon (3), #3 Florida State (1), #5 Georgia (1), #6 Kansas State (2), #9 Notre Dame (1), and #13 Oregon State. The entire top seven was unchanged from last week and again matches the Rocky Top Talk ballot perfectly.

Our disagreement again begins at #8, where West Virginia rose in the overall poll on the strength of a win over Baylor. In our ballot, Florida rode stronger than expected performances from Texas A&M and Tennessee to the eighth spot. But despite the disagreement in placement, the BlogPoll top eleven contains the same teams as our ballot's top eleven, with West Virginia followed by Notre Dame, Texas, and Florida.

At #12 is Ohio State, followed by an Oregon State team with three wins over BCS teams--two on the road--and one road win over a ranked team. And then it gets a little iffy, if you have any sympathy with the sometimes fine folks at the Head-to-Head Police. Southern Cal checks in at #14. Stanford, who beat Southern Cal and has the same record as Southern Cal, is #18. Washington, who beat Stanford and has the same record as both, is not ranked. Similarly, UCLA beat Nebraska and pulls in two spots behind the 'Huskers at #24.

Now regular readers know that I'm not a member of the Head-to-Head police. Last year, when Arizona State traveled cross-country and fell by three in Champaign before destroying Southern Cal the next week, I argued that the Sun Devils were better than the Illini. Losing by 3 on a cross-country road trip indicates teams of similar quality, and Arizona State was superior in the rest of the resume. Will still disagrees, but I think defying head-to-head is at least reasonable in some cases. But this case? Southern Cal's best win is by 13 against Syracuse. That's not enough to jump them over the team that beat them, especially not four places over the team that beat them. And Stanford's loss doesn't look as ugly as Washington's, but a lot of teams would lose by 38 on the road at night to the defending SEC champions. If you want to argue that the Cardinal should be ahead, be my guest. But ten places ahead? With Northwestern between you? As to Nebraska and UCLA, Nebraska did make a cross-country trip, but they also allowed 650 yards of offense, so they can stay behind, thank you very much.

As you might imagine from this discussion, we lead off the "RTT loves" section with Washington. Our ballot had them tucked in just ahead of Stanford at #25. They were not ranked in the overall poll. Additionally, we ranked Texas A&M #14, on the grounds that Florida was starting to look impressive and that winning SEC games by 48 is pretty cool, even if the opponent is bad. The Aggies were also left out of the final poll. And our love for the WACky Bulldogs was not shared by the voters at large. Our #20 Louisiana Tech was also left out of the final poll, setting up a potential battle of Rocky Top Talk favorites in Shreveport in October 13th when Tech hosts A&M.

Teams the voters at Rocky Top Talk aren't so fond of? We didn't vote for #22 Nebraska, #23 Rutgers, or #25 Ohio, but all were strongly in the consideration pile, so our opinions there probably aren't so divergent. Our biggest negative disagreement is on Northwestern, who came in at #20 despite giving up 41 points to Syracuse in their signature win in week one. Yes, they've beaten three BCS conference teams. Those three BCS conference teams are Syracuse, Boston College, and Vanderbilt. None have been blowouts. Two have been at home. If you beat Penn State, we'll talk. But now, I'd have more respect for beating ULM, Louisiana Tech, and BYU.

  • As you may have guessed from the results, two of our votes were pretty extreme. Only one voter, Falcon Blog, put Washington ahead of our #15, and did so by only one position. We admit that Washington may not stay this high (particularly with a trip to Eugene coming this Saturday), but this is October, so we're looking at resumes, and they have better wins than most of the rabble. We do provide the highest vote for Texas A&M, whose only other top 19 votes come from their own blog (Good Bull Hunting, #15) and Florida's blog (Alligator Army, #16). Interesting, the folks who see them in person like them the best. With the Aggies, it's all about eye test. We'll see how that stands up in the coming weeks.
  • Tennessee's next opponent, Mississippi State, checks in at #21 and received two top ten votes, #9 from Coug Center and #10 from Hammer and Rails.
  • Tennessee, on the other hand, lost voters with its loss in Athens, but picked up votes, as four votes in the 20s has changed to one vote in the teens. The 7th Floor, who also ranked Miami and is thus obviously impressed with offense, puts Tennessee #16, right between Ohio State and Stanford. Then again, they ranked Washington State, who lost to Colorado, who was down 69-0 to Fresno State at one point a couple weeks ago. So maybe we shouldn't value their opinion. One can't even play it off as a mistaken attempt to vote for Washington, who came in #18 on their ballot.