Note: Clicking a team link in this blog will show you how everyone voted for that team. Clicking a voter name link will show you their ballot.
Let’s start out with hearty congratulations to Nevada who earned their first AP Ranking (No. 25) since they climbed as high as No. 10 in 1948! They also sit at No. 25 in the Coaches’ Poll. Nevada deserves it for reaching 4-0 while beating teams like California and BYU. Meanwhile, with its third loss, it looks like BYU picked the wrong week to go independent.
So much for the computer’s high expectations of Texas. Last week two of them had Texas pegged as No. 1. After their stunning home loss to UCLA, the Longhorns have dropped this week as low as No. 28 in the Colley Matrix. That isn’t much worse than the AP, who dropped Texas all the way from No. 7 last week to No. 21. Fourteen spots is an exceptionally large single-week drop. Of course, it still doesn’t compare to Michigan’s infamous 2007 drop from No. 5 to unranked after the Appalachian State loss.
There are still lots of undefeated and once-beaten (or more) teams out there with top-25 potential. There are 36 teams getting votes in the AP this week, but there’s only room for 25 on a single ballot. Typically the teams that voters made room for this week were Nevada and North Carolina State. Therefore, voters also needed to drop a team or two, and that lead to some tough choices.
For example, Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant has undefeated Arizona unranked, but has a team they beat, Iowa, at No. 15. In place of the Wildcats, Conner gives one-loss Houston their only vote. Of course, that loss came from a now impressive looking UCLA team.
Ray Ratto is the only voter to leave either Iowa or Miami off his ballot, let alone leaving them both off. Ratto not only made room for Nevada and N.C. State, he also added Kansas State to his ballot.
Rob Long was the only voter to drop Arkansas off his ballot after the Razorbacks nearly pulled the upset over No. 1, Alabama. Bob Condotta and Mark Anderson dropped South Carolina after their loss to Auburn.
Scott Wolf and Jon Wilner left out both Michigan and Wisconsin. Wilner was one of three to also drop USC, and in his case, replace the Trojans with Kansas State, Oregon State, Air Force, Missouri or UCLA. If you couldn’t tell already, Pollstalker tagged Wilner as the most-extreme voter of the week. It is odd that the top-three most extreme voters are the three from California. Does the Golden State have a Conventional Voting Tax to go along with their Junk Food Tax?
In the Coaches’ Poll, Big 12 members, Missouri and Oklahoma State take the place of USC and N.C. State in the top 25.
There are still 8 people voting Iowa over Arizona. That’s down from ten last week, even though the Wildcats had a very narrow escape against unranked Cal. As long as Arizona can keep winning, that trend should continue it its favor. However, even a one-loss Arizona team should be ranked over Iowa except under extenuating circumstances. As mentioned previously, Desmond Conner has the biggest gap in favor of the Hawkeyes.
Two-loss UCLA didn’t receive many votes, even after their upset of Texas. However, most everybody who did cast a vote for the Bruins, remembered that Kansas State beat them in week one. The only exception is Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News, who ranked UCLA highest at No. 22, but didn’t rank undefeated Kansas State.
Solomon and Jon Wilner were also the only voters to rank UCLA over Texas. It’s hard to argue with that considering the game was at Texas and the outcome was decisive. Also, Texas hasn’t had a signature win yet (although Texas Tech may turn out to be a ranked team down the road). However, Pollspeak is generally an advocate of using head-to-head results when the winning team has the same or better record than the losing team. In this case, Texas has one loss and UCLA has two. So we also don’t begrudge any voters who rank Texas higher.
Note: When the ballots were released on Sunday, Greg Archuleta's ballot was exactly the same this week as last week. The AP reported that this was a technical glitch, and have since corrected it.