- 1-6: Ranking of the undefeated, based on their strength in my opinion
- 7-10: Best 1 and 2 loss teams. This was a little bit more art than science, but Georgia Tech is the strongest 1 loss team, having the hardest SOS. I put Oregon's and LSU's two losses slightly ahead of Pittsburgh because Pittsburgh has had a relativley weak schedule, ranking in the 50s.
- 11-12: Big movers out of Oklahoma State and Ohio State. Main reason for that was balancing the 2 loss teams vs. the 3 loss teams. What is better? A two loss team with a SOS in the 40s and 50s, or a 3 loss team with a SOS in the Top 10? I decided for now it's the two loss teams
- 13-16: VA Tech and Miami are essentially equal in terms of record and SOS. VA Tech gets the nod due to a head-to-head defeat earlier in the season. Stanford has a huge debut on the ballot rising all the way to #15. How did this happen? Well, Stanford's SOS has always been strong, being around the 11 or 12 mark. What happened is the rest of college football lost some games. A week ago, there were quite a few 2 loss teams keeping Stanford out of the poll. Now that there are a lot more 3 loss teams, Stanford stands out to the rest of the 3 loss population, ranking just ahead of USC due to defeating them this week.
- 17: Iowa ends up here. Being a two loss, 41 SOS is going to knock you down a bit. A loss against Minnesota next week would knock Iowa out of the ballot; there will be plenty of 3 loss teams with a better SOS.
18-20: Clemson and Oregon State win but move down. Huh? Again, it's because of the rest of college football. With other 3 loss teams with stronger SOS, they move down. If you look at the pure numbers, their SOS is lower than the other 3 loss teams ranked ahead of them. UNC with a big debut as well, but beating Miami is going to help you out. Think it's messed up that UNC is ranked lower than Miami? I really do not. If you look at Miami's schedule, they've had some bigger wins, and it's been a lot tougher. It's a case where Miami's SOS outweighs a head-to-head loss
21-23: Cal's defeat over Arizona this week, puts them on the poll and just ahead of the Wildcats. Wisconsin wins but moves down due to SOS getting worse (from about 50 to 62).
25: Penn State wins but moves down due to having a joke of a schedule for the most part. Yeah they have two losses, but they have a SOS in the 70s or 80s depending on where you look. They have the worst SOS out of anyone on the ballot. Losing a third game would make them unranked without a doubt. If you think about it, their two most respectable games were big defeats, both of which were at home!
So as you can see, the ballot is much less about rankings relative to the previous week. Instead, it's all about the resumes of the teams relative to the rest of the pool. You can win and move down, lose and move up. You can be unranked, and them storm the poll like Stanford. It's all about trying to say who the best 25 teams are; something that the AP and Coaches often fail at miserably.
What are your thoughts?