Tuesday November 4th, 2008

Fans get understandably defensive when they see their team get "dropped" by the pollsters in spite of a win, but there's a difference between being "dropped" and getting "passed by."

It's the latter that caused Oklahoma to fall from fourth to sixth on my ballot this week despite a perfectly impressive rout of Nebraska. While the Sooners beat up on another mediocre opponent, Florida (previously No. 5) did the same against 7-1 Georgia and Texas Tech (previously No. 6) knocked off No. 1 Texas. Both moved into my top four.

I suppose I could have followed the lead of the voters in the coaches polls and dropped the defeated Longhorns below the Sooners (by three spots, no less) -- but that's just plain idiotic. Have the Sooners gotten that much better and/or the 'Horns that much worse in the three weeks since Texas beat Oklahoma? Since that game, the 'Horns have beaten two other highly ranked foes and lost on a last-second touchdown to another. I highly doubt it.

That said, trying to keep the various Big 12 South teams in order of their head-to-head results will soon become impossible. What happens if Oklahoma State beats Texas Tech on Saturday? The Cowboys, 'Horns and Red Raiders will all have the same record and all be 1-1 against each other. Meanwhile, Oklahoma still has dates remaining with both OSU and Texas Tech.

Who knows? By the time all is said and done, the Sooners may well be back atop the Big 12's poll entrants.

NCAA Football Power Rankings
Got a different view than Stew?
1Alabama Crimson Tide
Last Week: 2
Three years ago, another 9-0 Alabama team finally met its demise in an overtime loss to LSU. This year's Tide team is better and than that team, but Nick Saban's return to Baton Rouge will still be its most daunting challenge to date.
Last game: Beat Arkansas State, 35-0.
Next game: Saturday at LSU.
2Penn State Nittany Lions
Last Week: 3
The Nittany Lions can't seem to catch a break when it comes to their uninspiring schedule. Their next opponent, Iowa, fell to 5-4 with its loss to Illinois, and Penn State's foe the following week, Indiana, just lost to Central Michigan.
Last game: Beat Ohio State, 13-6.
Next game: Saturday at Iowa.
3Texas Tech Red Raiders
Last Week: 6
The Red Raiders' cast of unlikely heroes includes safety Daniel Charbonnet. Four years ago, he was a backup at Duke. Last Saturday against Texas, the Houston native intercepted a Colt McCoy pass and returned it for a touchdown.
Last game: Beat Texas, 39-33.
Next game: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State.
4Florida Gators
Last Week: 5
Welcome back, Tim Tebow. Not that the reigning Heisman winner ever left, but it's seemed like a long time since he turned in a true Tebow-esque performance like he did against Georgia: three TDs on the ground and two TDs through the air.
Last game: Beat Georgia, 49-10.
Next game: Saturday at Vanderbilt.
5Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 1
Lost in the aftermath of Saturday's heartbreaker was that QB Colt McCoy broke the school's career passing yardage record (8,452 yards), previously held by Major Applewhite. Fittingly, he did it on a 91-yard throw to Malcolm Williams.
Last game: Lost to Texas Tech, 39-33.
Next game: Saturday vs. Baylor.
6Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 4
The Sooners did nothing wrong -- on the contrary, they scored four touchdowns in the first five minutes against Nebraska -- but dropped because of Texas Tech and Florida. They'll get their own crack at the Red Raiders soon enough.
Last week: Beat Nebraska, 62-28.
Next game: Saturday at Texas A&M.
7USC Trojans
Last Week: 8
The combined score of USC's two games against the Washington schools: 125-0. The Trojans' defense has now pitched three shutouts and is allowing just 7.1 points per contest. Again: What the heck happened against Oregon State?
Last game: Beat Washington, 56-0.
Next game: Saturday vs. Cal.
8Oklahoma State Cowboys
Last Week: 9
He always gets overlooked amidst the gaggle of Big 12 quarterbacks, but Zac Robinson was at his finest against Iowa State, throwing for 395 yards and five touchdowns on just 18 completions. Dez Bryant accounted for four of those TDs.
Last game: Beat Iowa State, 59-17.
Next game: Saturday at Texas Tech.
9TCU Horned Frogs
Last Week: 12
We'll find out for sure Thursday night, but my hunch is the Horned Frogs are the Mountain West's best team. TCU's second-ranked defense held UNLV to 175 yards, highlighted by two more sacks by national leader Jerry Hughes.
Last game: Beat UNLV, 44-14.
Next game: Thursday at Utah.
10Utah Utes
Last Week: 10
Utah Utes (9-0)
The Utes did not have as easy a time of it in its last game, fending off New Mexico 13-10. In games like that, it helps to have ace kicker Louie Sakoda, who improved to 14-of-14 on kicks from within 47 yards.
Last game: Beat New Mexico, 13-10.
Next game: Thursday vs. TCU.
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