I’m posting this way too late for as many people to reasonably see it and read it as I would like, but I have too many things to post (I used my time with the internet down to write a few potential blogs) to wait another day.
As I anticipated, LSU is the #1 for real now. Although I have had them #1 subjectively since pre-season, they were 4th in my first mathemetical ratings and 2nd last week. The Tigers did face a slightly better team last week than #1 Alabama had, but the main difference was the amount of credit LSU got for beating Oregon. The Ducks did not count very highly as an opponent until their win over Arizona St. on Saturday.
I don’t factor in margin of victory, so LSU was in a similar position in my ratings at this point last year, but this is much different from LSU’s 7-0 start last year. LSU has won by 13 twice and won the other games by 26 points or more. In last year’s 7-0 start, LSU won 4 games by six points or fewer and none by more than 24 points (not even McNeese St., whom they beat, 32-10). This is the first time the Tigers have had back-to-back 7-0 starts since 1972-73. Last year was the first 7-0 start since 1973, although the Tigers did start 7-0-1 in 1982 and 1987 (the most recent season of which I have no specific memory). This is the first year in LSU history that the Tigers have started 5-0 or better in three consecutive seasons. LSU also started 7-0 back-to-back in 1958-1959 as part of a 19-game winning streak, which was ended in Knoxville. In LSU’s other human-poll national championships, they started 5-0 (2003) and 6-0 (2007), respectively, before losing.
On another note, I noticed that LSU is now only 16 points behind Oklahoma in the coaches’ poll. Alabama is only 23 points behind the Sooners. Oklahoma led by 25 and 35, respectively, last week. Not that it really matters at this point, because the undefeated winner of LSU/Alabama and/or an undefeated Oklahoma team would seem to be automatic for the BCS title game.
Back to my ratings, #3 through #6 are very close to one another. I wouldn’t worry about Boise St. being #3 for very long. The Broncos play Air Force next week and may hold their position, especially if Texas Tech upsets Oklahoma, but I expect Boise St. will be passed up by several teams during the following two weeks. Week 9 is a bye week, and Week 10 is UNLV, which is one of the worst teams.
As for #7 to #10, don’t expect any of the four to make any waves next week. Kansas St. plays Kansas (one FBS win so far), Virginia Tech plays Boston College (no FBS wins so far), and Michigan and South Carolina both have bye weeks. K-State does have a chance to prove themselves (or get exposed) against Oklahoma in the following week, while the rest of the group will have a mediocre slate (Purdue, Duke, and Tennessee, respectively) yet again.
The next group, made up of Houston, Stanford, and Wisconsin are basically resting on their undefeated laurels at this point, although each could face a test next week. Houston has narrow wins over the likes of UCLA, UTEP, and La. Tech, so Marshall could make a game of it as well; Wisconsin will play Michigan St., and Stanford will play Washington. Wisconsin probably won’t keep up with Stanford if both remain undefeated, but Saturday’s wins by Michigan St. and Ohio St. will certainly help Wisconsin to be able to gain some points in the next two weeks. Stanford travels to the Coliseum in the following week.
Penn St., Nebraska, Oregon, and Arkansas should all win easily next week.
Texas A&M, who can probably win easily next week as well (against Iowa St.), and Auburn can still sneak up on some people in their respective conferences. Although both have two losses, only one loss per team is in confernce. Auburn will have a shot at both LSU and Alabama, and Texas A&M will have a shot at both Kansas St. and Oklahoma.
Rutgers and Georgia Tech will have to wait a couple of weeks for good opportunities to move up. Rutgers will play West Virginia in Week 9, and Georgia Tech will play Clemson. Wins over Louisville and Miami next week would be more pedestrian.
USC and Michigan St. can help themselves out dramatically in the next two weeks alone, as USC faces Notre Dame and Stanford, while Michigan St. will face Wisconsin and Nebraska.
Rounding out the top 25, West Virginia should have an easy time with Syracuse next week, but the Carrier Dome can be unpredictable, and then the ’eers will once again cross Pennsylvania to face Rutgers the following week.
They shouldn’t be too surprising after that, but here are the ratings and top 25:
rank / team / prior
1 LSU 1
2 Alabama 2
3 Boise St. 4
4 Oklahoma 5
5 Clemson 6
6 Okie St. 9
7 Kansas St. 14
8 Michigan 3
9 Va. Tech 21
10 S Carolina 11
11 Houston 13
12 Stanford 18
13 Wisconsin 12
14 Penn St. 19
15 Nebraska 15
16 Arkansas 17
17 Oregon —
18 Illinois 7
19 Texas A&M —
20 Auburn —
21 USC —
22 Rutgers 22
23 Ga. Tech 8
24 W Virginia 24
25 Mich St. —
Out of rankings: (10) Texas, (16) N. Carolina, (20) Arizona St., (23) Notre Dame, (25) Baylor