October 03, 2011
Now in its seventh year, the College Football BlogPoll is a weekly effort of dozens of college football-centric Web sites representing a wide array of schools under the oversight of SB Nation. As always, this is an ever-evolving snapshot meant to judge teams exclusively on their existing resumés. It pays as little regard as possible to my guess as to what's going to happen over the course of the season, or what would happen in a make-believe game "on a neutral field" or anywhere else. It's subjective, but ideally, it's not a guess: It's a judgment on the evidence that actually exists. It is not a power poll.
• Flip a coin. Alabama and LSU are 1a and 1b: Both have soundly beaten three legit opponents by double digits, both have dominated big road games both in and outside of the SEC and both have passed all the relevant "eyeball tests," for good measure. The Crimson Tide look a little bit better on paper (see the resumé chart below), but there's no point in splitting hairs when both have clearly separated themselves over the first five weeks of the season.
Where others are envisioning LSU's trip to Tuscalossa on Nov. 5 as the final showdown, though, readers are encouraged to rememeber that there are still ten weeks to go. At this point last year, Alabama was a unanimous No. 1 on the heels of a blowout win over Florida for its 29th consecutive regular season victory and beginning to look like it may never lose again. Exactly one week later, the Tide went down by two touchdowns at South Carolina, their first of three eventual losses over the final seven. So… we're all looking at you this weekend, Vanderbilt. Good luck.
• What are you, some kind of sucker? Don't mistake the relatively lofty presence of Texas, Michigan, Illinois and Kansas State in the top 15 as an endorsement for any darkhorse runs at the BCS. But all four have looked competent-to-good against non-pushover competition, and all four have pulled out late, comeback wins they probably wouldn't have in the past. (Well, Michigan would have.) They're all vastly improved — especially Texas, still streaking under new management on offense — but with Big Ten/Big 12 conference play underway, I still expect at least two of them to fall out of the poll altogether by the end of the month, at the latest.
• Proof. This week's resumé grid for public consumption:
PPG: Average margin of victory (points per game)
YPP: Average margin per play (yards per play)
Sked: Strength of schedule (as calculated by Jeff Sagarin)
As always, everything will be completely different next week.