This week's ballot:
Teams of interest:
STANFORD. They drop behind Alabama and OSU after struggling with the erratic Trojans. Mostly cosmetic at this point since both of those teams will either win and justify their existence above the Cardinal or lose and drop behind them.
CLEMSON. They drop only three spots. They are buoyed by 1) general respect for GT and the one-off weirdness of facing the triple option, 2) my revulsion at having to put non-entities like Arkansas and South Carolina in the top 10, and 3) a quality nonconference win plus all of the ACC challenges in the rearview. I expect they will annihilate South Carolina in their season-ender.
OTHER TINY DROPPERS. State only drops two after losing; USC drops one. In State's case they're propped up by quality wins and general suspicion of VT. In USC's case, triple overtime versus Stanford. They didn't really drop at all, they were passed by GT thanks to that Clemson win.
THE BIG TEN. Good lord, man, I don't know. There are the three one-loss teams plus two-loss Wisconsin and MSU. Wisconsin takes a backseat because of their awful nonconference schedule and single quality win (home vs Nebraska), but that win is maddening. Still, I'm a schedule zealot. Backseat for UW.
Nebraska gets the edge over PSU because their inept QB can run some and they have quality wins over Washington, OSU, and MSU. PSU just has… Illinois? Iowa? MSU has two losses but wins over Wisconsin, OSU, and Michigan, which seems to be better than Michigan beating no one save ND even if they have one fewer loss.
POTENTIAL TAIL END OF POLL OVERRATING. ND and OSU show up at the tail end. OSU has wins over UW and Illinois with losses to Nebraska, State, and Miami. I like that resume better than Washington (best win… Cal?), anyone in the Big East, FSU (best win: Maryland? NC State?), Wake (FSU win but losses to UNC and Syracuse, the former uncompetitively).
ND… well, when they're not dumping 10% of D-I's redzone turnovers on the other team they're pretty good. They have a quality win in MSU, no mega-cupcakes and each of their losses is traceable to one or more inexplicable turnovers. They'll probably run through the rest of their schedule until they come up against Stanford, and I won't be surprised to see the Irish give them a game.