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BlogPoll Ballot: Week #2

Below is the BlogPoll ballot I shall submit this week. Some loose thoughts follow the rankings. Don't forget that I approach my vote as though it were a power ranking--who wins on a neutral field? That's the question that informs my choices.

Last week's ballot is here.

Please note that the "Delta" column tracks a team's movement from week to week. There are supposed to be shiny green and red arrows alongside the numbers, but my remedial HTML skills are effing me right now, so we must use the more traditional and uglier plus and minus system.

Rank Team Delta
1 Ohio State + 3
2 Southern Cal - 1
3 Auburn - 1
4 Louisiana State + 1
5 West Virginia + 1
6 Notre Dame + 3
7 Georgia + 4
8 Florida + 2
9 Texas - 6
10 Tennessee - 3
11 Oregon + 1
12 Iowa - 4
13 Louisville + 4
14 Florida State - 1
15 Miami (Florida) - 1
16 Oklahoma --
17 Nebraska + 1
18 Virginia Tech - 3
19 Michigan --
20 TCU --
21 Boston College + 5
22 Georgia Tech + 1
23 Cal + 1
24 Boise State + 2
25 Rutgers + 1

Dropped Out: Clemson (#21), Fresno State (#22), Northwestern (#25).

- Ohio State has locked up the top spot on this ballot following what is likely the most impressive win of the young season. Given how Iowa struggled with Syracuse--and yes, Drew Tate was out, but come on--it looks like OSU has an excellent chance to go undefeated.

- Southern Cal and Auburn each move down to make room for OSU while LSU and West Virginia benefit from Texas's fall.

- Not really sure what to make of Notre Dame. Seems as though the defense is legit, although Georgia Tech and PSU aren't exactly machine-like in their offensive precision. I have fewer questions about the Irish offense, but still, #6 feels a little high. If Notre Dame beats Michigan by controlling the UM defensive line and shutting down the running game, this position will make a lot more sense to me.

- Georgia has been impressive. Well, parts of Georgia have been impressive. Stafford struggled and Tereshinski is an unknown, but the strength of this team was always going to be the running game and the defense. If one of the quarterbacks can merely serve as a proverbial "game manager" and protect the football, Georgia could again be a legitimate SEC contender.

- Texas is tough to place. The 24 points surrendered is slightly misleading, as those two turnovers gave OSU good field position, and the Buckeyes only ran for 79 yards. But, the pass coverage obviously has some issues, and Troy Smith had a lot of time on his hands. The running game chewed up a decent defense, although that's two weeks in row that someone has run on the Buckeyes. Seems the 'Horns will be alright; they're too talented not to be.

- Iowa looked horrible, but Tate was out and Manson threw 4 interceptions. Can't yet say if that was just a bad day or not, so for now, the Hawkeyes get some benefit of the doubt.

- After this week, there will likely be a lot of movement in the poll, as some real, challenging games pop off. This is a good thing, because I don't really know what to do with FSU and Miami, and have nowhere else to put them right now.

- Michigan goes nowhere until it either beats a good team or shows me more in the passing game. It occurs to me that Michigan is sort of like some other teams ranked ahead of it (good defense, strong running game, still developing passing game = Georgia, Texas), however both have looked more impressive against at least one real opponent while neither is coached by Lloyd Carr. That may seem like lazy, spiteful insight, but I honestly do not believe that the Michigan coaching staff would prepare this current roster well enough to beat the 18 teams ranked ahead of it. There are still too many questions.

- 20-25 is all fairly subjective. Ballots don't need to be finalized until 10 AM on Wednesday, so if there's a glaring omission, please make the case and I will consider it.

- I was tempted to leave Fresno in the rankings, but there are other teams that warrant inclusion. Northwestern will likely not get ranked again this season, so consider that my version of Spurrier's annual Duke vote.