Georgia returned to the rankings this week, coming in at No. 25 in the Associated Press poll. Its opponent this week, Auburn, is No. 7.
I'm one of the voters. Here's how my ballot looked this week:
2. Florida State
4. Ohio State
10. Texas A&M
11. Oklahoma State
13. South Carolina
14. Michigan State
15. Arizona State
16. Fresno State
17. Northern Illinois
18. Central Florida
25. Notre Dame
- I jumped Baylor over Ohio State (and Oregon) and didn't think much about it. Baylor had been No. 5 on my ballot, behind Ohio State because of resume'. But Ohio State's was only slightly better. Then Baylor thumped Oklahoma, and the eye test isn't very close either.
- Stanford might eventually push to be ranked above some of the major unbeaten teams. But not quite yet.
- In how far to drop Oregon, I only got as far as No. 6-7, weighing whether Clemson or the Ducks should be higher. Both lost to top 5 teams, although Clemson lost to an unbeaten one. But I went with Oregon because its lone loss was on the road by six (though only after a late rally), while Clemson was obliterated at home.
- Georgia doesn't return to the rankings because it beat Appalachian State, and certainly not because the win over Florida looks any good. But it's because Georgia's bad losses (Missouri at home, at Vanderbilt) don't look that bad anymore. And more importantly, Georgia's marquee win (home against South Carolina) and two wins over ranked teams make its body of work better than teams playing their way down or out of the rankings: Miami, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, etc. In fact, Georgia and LSU now have fairly similar resumes - and the Bulldogs won head-to-head. So there you go.
- LSU falls despite losing at the nation's No. 1 ranked team because the Tigers' resume' is getting weaker. Its best win is a good one, at home against Auburn, but the home win over Florida means nothing now, and the loss to Ole Miss is similar to Georgia's loss at Vanderbilt.
- Similarly, Oklahoma drops not just necessarily because it lost on the road to an unbeaten team (Baylor), but because the rest of its resume' is suffering. The win at Notre Dame is less impressive now, and its best win after that had been at home to Texas Tech, which has now lost three straight.
- What a fall for Miami, which has lost convincingly two weeks in a row, and whose marquee win (home against Florida) now means pretty much nothing.
- The final spot came down to Notre Dame and Miami. I went with the Irish, because it owns a win over a ranked team (Michigan State) and the Hurricanes do not. Ultimately, I value quality wins over amount of losses. Plus, Notre Dame has at least been in its three losses, and the Hurricanes have eked out some wins, like over Wake Forest. The eye test is better for the Irish.
- I'd love to throw a vote to Minnesota or Duke. But looking at their resume's I just can't pull the trigger yet. Other teams knocking on the door: Southern California and Nebraska.