Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/10/12
We have a race in the SEC East: QB Connor Shaw and tailback Marcus Lattimore led South Carolina to a convincing win over Georgia while the stout Florida defense controlled Zach Mettenberger and the LSU Tigers (left to right: AP/ Flashnick, Getty/ Greenwood)Tailgater Top 25 Rankings, Week 5Rankings are obviously a product of opinion. For the most part, each individual’s top 25 is merely his or her beliefs about the college football landscape translated to paper. Some of us try to reflect what has actually happened on the field versus what is probably true in order to avoid getting caught up in hypotheticals. Then again, some don’t seem to worry too much about such pitfalls.Let’s talk about Glenn Guilbeau of the Shreveport Times.Glenn’s week 7 poll goes well beyond opinion, ending up in that fantasy land of indefensible decisions that we see all too often in college football. He’s hardly alone in his absurdity; Glenn is merely the example we happened across this week. But what an example he is. Polls like these make you wonder how on earth these guys are permitted to keep their votes.For a bit of perspective, here are Guilbeau’s week 6 rankings along with his week 7 poll. The bolding is my own and addresses some of the particularly outrageous choices:Glenn Guilbeau, week 6Glenn Guilbeau, week 71. Alabama2. Florida State3. Oregon4. LSU5. West Virginia6. Georgia7. Texas8. Ohio State9. South Carolina10. Kansas State11. Oregon State12. Washington13. Stanford14. Notre Dame15. USC16. Oklahoma17. TCU18. Florida19. Michigan State20. Michigan21. UCLA22. Clemson23. Nebraska24. Boise State25. Louisville1. Alabama2. Oregon3. West Virginia4. South Carolina5. Ohio State6. Kansas State7. Florida8. Texas9. Oregon State10 Florida State11. LSU12. Georgia13. Washington14. Stanford15. Notre Dame16. USC17. Oklahoma18. Clemson19. Michigan State20. Michigan21. Mississippi State22. Rutgers23. Nebraska24. Boise State25. LouisvilleWhere do I even begin? The week 6 monstrosity is bad enough. Despite the fact that the Buckeyes almost lost to Cal and despite their obviously one-dimensional offense, Guilbeau pegs them as a top 10 team. Meanwhile South Carolina, which had rolled everyone it played other than Vanderbilt (in a game that saw QB Connor Shaw leave with an injury), trailed Ohio State. The Washington Huskies were good enough for 12th after beating Stanford– I’ll talk more about Washington in a moment– while those Cardinal were still good enough to be 13th despite that loss.Undefeated Florida languished down in 18th, a mere one spot ahead of 2-loss teams Michigan State and Michigan. Bear in mind that the Spartans were coming off of their home loss to OSU while idle Michigan had been stifled by Notre Dame a week prior. Yet both of those Big Ten reps were evidently better than Clemson, which had only lost to Guilbeau’s #2 team.Confused yet? You should be. Nothing about that order makes any sense whatsoever. Luckily, it gets worse.Week 7 must have been an awakening of sorts for Guilbeau, who suddenly realized that South Carolina, Kansas State, and Florida are actually good. He was only a few weeks behind the rest of us there, so perhaps we can forgive him for that particular transgression. What isn’t forgivable is leaving Texas at #8; the Longhorns fell to West Virginia and showed major defensive weaknesses in consecutive games. That defeat didn’t matter much to Glenn, who docked them only a single spot in the poll.Also dropping one spot? The aforementioned Washington Huskies.Didn’t Washington get carved up by Oregon? Indeed it did, and, in fact, that was the Huskies’ second blowout loss of the year. Guilbeau’s 13th best team in all the land was excoriated by the LSU Tigers 41-3 a few weeks before getting blown up by the Ducks 52-21. But hey, what are those two measly losses compared to a win over mighty Stanford?Such must be Guilbeau’s reasoning, if we can call it that. Washington is a two-loss team that was postively routed twice, yet it ranks 13th? That just might be the most insulting, asinine ranking I’ve seen in a number of years. Stanford hung in there as well, even though the Cardinal almost (and should have) lost to Arizona. Both of these Pac 12 teams remained in front of undefeated Notre Dame. No, that’s not a trick of the light. Guilbeau has decided that Washington is somehow better than the Irish, even after Notre Dame pasted Miami 41-3 on Saturday.At least one-loss Clemson managed to leapfrog the Spartans and Wolverines. On the other hand, MSU and Michigan are now joined by fellow two-loss Big Ten chump (and I say that with the utmost love as a lifelong Big Ten fan…) Nebraska. By the way, undefeated Louisville is barely worth mentioning either time, according to Glenn.Out of this pile of crap, a few interesting observations emerge. First, Florida jumped from 18th to 7th with one win. It was indeed a huge win, and it just happened to be over Guilbeau’s hometown team. Another LSU coincidence is that the Huskies, who remain so beloved to Guilbeau while lacking any real virtue on the field, fell to the Bayou Bengals and therefore count toward LSU’s strength of schedule. But surely Guilbeau wouldn’t be trying to artificially elevate the Huskies in order to increase the apparent quality of that LSU win. Surely Florida’s jump was based on more than wanting LSU to have lost to a highly-ranked foe. Surely.The third thing I noticed isn’t directly related to the SEC. It’s that Mr. Guilbeau apparently doesn’t actually watch or follow much college football. Are you paying attention, AP? Do you see the result of this system, the damage that a single voter can do?With the hope that we are slightly less horrific in our ability to adequately assess teams, here are our updated rankings for week 6.Zach BigalkeJohn MitchellMatt Strobl1. Alabama2. Oregon3. Kansas State4. Notre Dame5. West Virginia6. Louisville7. Oregon State8. South Carolina9. Louisiana Tech10. Ohio State11. Florida12. USC13. Mississippi State14. Rutgers15. Cincinnati16. Arizona State17. Florida State18. Clemson19. Ohio20. Stanford21. Georgia22. LSU23. Nevada24. Tulsa25. Duke1. Alabama2. Oregon3. South Carolina4. Kansas State5. Florida6. West Virginia7. Notre Dame8. Ohio State9. Oregon State10. Louisville11. USC12. LSU13. Oklahoma14. Mississippi State15. Rutgers16. Georgia17. Florida State18. Clemson19. Texas20. Louisiana Tech21. Cincinnati22. Texas A&M23. Ohio24. Boise State25. Stanford1. Alabama2. Oregon3. South Carolina4. Kansas State5. Florida6. Notre Dame7. West Virginia8. Oregon State9. Ohio State10. Louisville11. Rutgers12. Mississippi State13. Oklahoma14. Clemson15. USC16. Georgia17. LSU18. Florida State19. Cincinnati20. Texas21. Ohio22. Louisiana Tech23. Iowa State24. Nevada25. Texas A&MBigalke:1-10: My top three stay the same. Nothing else seems to be in order after a wild weekend. Out go Florida State and Georgia from the top five after the way both lost this weekend — FSU in an upset, UGA in a rout. In come Notre Dame, who walloped Miami, and West Virginia. Trending upward are Louisville, Oregon State and South Carolina, all still undefeated and in the thick of conference races. Louisiana Tech looks like a legitimate BCS Buster, and they can prove it once again next week against Texas A&M in Shreveport. Finishing the top ten is Ohio State, the only team I’ve deemed worthy of ranking from the Big Ten… and don’t BOTH those names sound like a misnomer this year?! 11-20: Florida continues to rise after outlasting an LSU team that hasn’t looked championship level this year. USC remains an enigma, Mississippi State continues to fly under the radar, and Rutgers and Cincinnati are making the Big East a legitimate three-horse race this year. Arizona State will push the Trojans in the Pac-12 South all season. Florida State stays just above Clemson by virtue of that head-to-head victory. Ohio offers more BCS Buster hope, and Stanford is still an elite team in the Pac-12 who could still be in the North hunt when they face Oregon State and Oregon on back-to-back November Saturdays. 21-25: Georgia and LSU are one-loss teams who lost to top-25 teams… until they drop another, or look even worse than they did this week, they hang tenuously on to a spot. Nevada returns to the poll as the favorite to ruin Boise State’s chance at one final MWC crown. Tulsa continues to play at a high level, the favorite in C-USA in a down year for the league. And rounding out the top 25, I’m throwing a little love Duke’s way. David Cutcliffe has the Blue Devils one win away from bowl eligibility… and it’s the first week of October. Mitchell:1-10: Alabama and Oregon are still the top two, but South Carolina makes a big leap forward to #3 after completely throttling Georgia at home. The Gamecocks look to be the biggest threat to the Crimson Tide’s place atop the SEC. Florida also made a big leap after impressively knocking off LSU. West Virginia, Notre Dame, and Ohio State are just barely outside the Top-5. The Mountaineers earned a strong win over Texas, the Irish dominated Miami, and the Buckeyes flexed their muscles as the best team in the Big Ten by beating down Nebraska. Undefeated Oregon State and Louisville round out the Top-10.11-20: The first three spots are occupied by the best of the one-loss teams. USC struggled early, but came from behind to beat Utah; LSU wore down in a road loss to Florida, and Oklahoma dismantled previously undefeated Texas Tech. Mississippi State and Rutgers are undefeated, but vastly untested. Georgia and Florida State are coming off of tough losses with the Bulldogs being blown out by South Carolina, and the Seminoles being upset on the road by NC State. Unbeaten Louisiana Tech rounds out the Top-20 with a great chance to make a leap this weekend against Texas A&M.21-25: Cincinnati is another undefeated Big East team as the conference looks much stronger than in years past. Texas A&M has acclimated itself to the SEC very well with their lone loss coming against Top-5 Florida. Ohio is still undefeated and became the first bowl-eligible FBS team after their win over Buffalo. Their win over Penn State looks better with each passing week. Boise State and Stanford round out the Top-25 with the Broncos improving every week and the Cardinal pulling off an impressive rally to beat Arizona. Strobl:1-10: Last week, I said: “For me, this was a week dominated by byes and disappointing performances. LSU, Georgia, West Virginia, and Florida State all looked shabby in wins, and all were lucky to escape upsets.” This week, most of these weren’t so lucky. LSU, Georgia, and Florida State all fell and fell hard. The Tigers probably suffered the “best” loss of the three; the Seminoles were embarrassed by a much poorer team while Georgia was simply destroyed. All are gone from my top 10. Alabama and Oregon remain on top, South Carolina and K-State remain solidly in the top 5, and Florida has established itself as a major player in the SEC. 11-20: We’re at that point in the season when it gets difficult to decide which teams to include. There are fewer and fewer unbeatens with each passing week, and ordering the one- and two-loss squads can get tricky. All the big boys who have suffered a single blow now fall in this range for me; LSU, Georgia, USC, Florida State, Oklahoma, Clemson, Texas…any of them can still have a very nice season. The question is who will bounce back the best. Rutgers, Mississippi State and Cincinnati are mixed in as unbeatens. 21-25: Iowa State went on the road and bested TCU, which was playing without QB Casey Pachall. It was still a nice win for the Cyclones. It was tough for me to decide between ISU and Texas Tech given that the Raiders won the head-to-head matchup. But Tech hasn’t beaten anyone else of significance and looked atrocious against the Sooners in week 6. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are hanging around as potential BCS busters; remember that their season operner against A&M was postponed and rescheduled for this coming Saturday. The Aggies slip in at #25 because their home loss to Florida suddenly looks a lot better, but either they or the Bulldogs will probably fall out based on their head-to-head results.
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