By REED NELSON
We live in Bizzaro World, with a Bizzaro Jerry and a Bizzaro George. The NFL listened to the fans, Ed Hochuli and Mike Carey sauntered out to standing ovations, I know how to spell “Hochuli” and the Poll’s have become more volatile than the Dow Jones.
For the fourth time in five weeks, the Top 5 — the unwavering pillar of early season dominance — has moved. And for the second straight week, an elite team has dropped after a win. And for the second straight week, that team is LSU. Ooh wee.
Well, for the second straight week, as well, consider justice served, America. Sort of.
It’s not that the voters don’t respect LSU, it’s that they can’t. The Tigers have played down to the level of an Auburn team that has more members playing for the Auburn County Jail team than they do for the Tigers (or is it the War Eagle? Are they just the Felons now?), and Towson State, who play in Baltimore, for those of you wondering.
Two straight tight games against those two foes deserves a swift kick to #4, which the Tigers got. I still don’t understand how experts can still be actively “searching for LSU’s identity,” yet insist on calling them a “Top 5 team.” A Top 5 team should be able to score touchdowns against Towson State. Just sayin’.
But enough with the overrated SEC, (yeah, I said it. Faced, SEC) this week it’s all about the Pac. And why shouldn’t it be? The Pac-12, after a great weekend for top dogs, save Stanford, now has six teams in the AP Top 25 (UCLA and Washington are 28th and 26th, respectively, in the coaches poll).
After Stanford’s loss to Washington, they’ve dropped out of the Top 10, leaving Oregon by its lonesome. But unlike Stanford’s defensive slugfest with USC, Oregon might actually benefit from the Washington upset. Instead of facing an unranked, non-relevant U-Dub team, they get to face their second (over)ranked opponent in the last three weeks. Are Arizona and Washington, Florida and Georgia? No. But considering the Ducks had just two preseason-Top 25 teams on their schedule, they can take all the help they can get. And the computers could care less who a ranked team is, so long as the team is ranked.
Besides Washington, the biggest surprise of the week was Oregon State. For the second straight weekend, Oregon State went on the road, threw up a black-and-orange middle finger at the now-preposterous lines, and thrashed a home favorite. OK, maybe not thrashed, but still. Oregon State is now 3-0, and their wins have come over a #13 Wisconsin team, a #18 UCLA squad and an Arizona team ranked just a week prior to the game. Small-sample size be damned, this team is good. And the voters have noticed, ranking them #14 in the AP poll.
I’m ignoring the coaches poll for the moment. It is so radically different from the AP poll this week that I have to assume collusion. You request evidence, your Honor? LSU still received a first place vote. I think that is more than circumstantial, and Les Miles has lost his mind if he thinks the Tigers are the best team in the country. That alone should be enough to discredit the most asinine, backwards, arcane, horn-tooting weekly assemblage in the country. But I digress…
Elsewhere, USC held strong at #13, even after the Stanford loss above them. In Stanford’s place is the New USC, Ohio State. The Buckeyes looked incredibly average against Michigan State on Saturday1, just one week after they looked incredibly average against UCF and two weeks after they looked quasi-pathetic in the first 57 minutes of their game against Cal. What the voters saw there is beyond me.
Stanford fell to #18 in both polls, but considering the traditional Pac-12-hate that always seems to accompany these upsets, a drop to #18 is barely a scratch on the psyche of David Shaw’s bunch. If they win out in preparation for Oregon on Nov. 17, they’ll be back in the Top 10.
Climbing: Oregon State (#18 to #14/17), Washington (NR to #23/26), UCLA (NR to #25/28).
Falling: Stanford (#8/9 to #18).
Staying the same (a.k.a. Wooderson-ing): Oregon (#2 to #2), USC (#13 to #13).
Off: USC, Utah.
- Sparty, by the way, might be the most disappointing team of 2012. They have one just one close game, and while they have given themselves an admirably tough early-season schedule, losing to Notre Dame AND Ohio State was not the start that Mark Dantonio even had on his radar. And given Boise State’s recent fecal offerings on national TV (a 7-6 final score, without any field goals, against BYU? Really? That’s entertainment?), their three wins have come over the Buncos, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan. In a season that LeVeon Bell, Andrew Maxwell and Dantonio wanted to establish themselves as a preeminent national power, they have managed to muster only the “Arguably the Best in the State” title that goes out of style the moment you graduate high school. Jump