First draft of our end-of-season ballot to be submitted to the BlogPoll. As always, suggestions and revisions welcome. BON ranking methodology relies heavily on a resume analysis.
1. Florida (2) Heading into bowl season, they were just the tiniest bit ahead of Michigan in the resume analysis, but they certainly finish well ahead, owners of the single most dominant victory of the 2006 season. It wasn't always pretty, but the team certainly peaked at the right time. As good a title game performance as Gator fans could have hoped for. Congratulations to Florida.
2. Boise State (7) Comparing the Buckeyes and Broncos, the resumes are pretty close. The Buckeyes own wins over seven bowl teams (although those teams went 3-4 in their games), while Boise State owns wins over six (who went 4-2). Ohio State's two best wins: at Texas and against Michigan. Boise State: versus Oklahoma and at Oregon State. It's close, it really is. The difference? No losses for Boise. Would they beat Florida? Irrelevant. We can only go on what we've got. Boise gets the nod.
3. Ohio State (1) What a tough evening for the Ohio State faithful. It was a great regular season, but the defense - first exposed by Michigan - was punked by Florida, while the offensive line was eaten alive.
4. LSU (4) A 2006 playoff would have been real juicy this season. After the Tigers finished thrashing Notre Dame, I think a lot of folks wondered, "Gee, what if Les Miles could get these guys together for an entire season?" I expect the Les Miles era will be defined this way.
5. Louisville (5) Bobby Petrino is a slimeball. Do not just take my word for this.
6. Southern California (8) The Trojans are so annoying when they win. The post-game quotes in the LA Times were nauseating. That doesn't affect the resume, though. All in all, another successful season for the Trojans. Probably our 2007 preseason #1.
7. Michigan (3) It's a shame it had to end this way for the Wolverines - back to back decisive losses. This was an interesting team, but one that wasn't quite complete enough to handle the best of the best. They'll have enough key pieces returning in '07 to be a BCS contender again.
8. Auburn (10) I remain unimpressed with Auburn. I won't let it affect how I evaluate their ranking, but it should be noted. In any case, the resume enjoys a nice boost from Florida's Tostitos romp.
9. Wisconsin (11) Arkansas should have beat these guys. Credit to the Badgers, though, who always play solid - if unspectacular - football.
10. Rutgers (13) The lost to Cincinnati looks more and more like an anomaly. Instead of pouting indignantly about their bowl assignment, the Scarlet Knights showed up to Houston and licked the hapless Kansas State Wildcats. A great season and a great story.
11. Oklahoma (6) I don't wish any more crying on that young Oklahoma fan of BON infamy, but I hope his mother mortgaged the trailer park to travel to Tempe, only to watch Boise State steal the show.
12. BYU (16) Slammed Oregon to put an exclamation point on a fine season for the Mountain West's finest.
13. Arkansas (9) Kinda got thumped by the big boys, huh? Florida, LSU, and USC. Yikes. Again, though - should've beat Wisconsin.
14. Texas (17) Iowa's a better team than their record indicated, and gave Texas the close game I was expecting. I'm more or less pleased with '06, despite the two game slide at the end.
15. California (21) Stupid Aggies. All that chest thumping after one quality win. Nice rebound victory for the Bears to end on a strong note.
16. West Virginia (23) Pat White's a tough little player. Finds ways to win, one way or another. I admire that.
17. Oregon State (23) Probably the third most exciting bowl game, behind the Insight and Fiesta Bowls. Very nice season for the Beavers.
18. Tennessee (14) SEC was strong, as always. Solid-not-great year for the Vols.
19. Boston College (22) Eeked out the win over Navy to finish a prototypical TOB year.
20. Georgia (NR) Mark Richt and Matt Stafford are going to win a lot of football games together.
21. Penn State (NR) Great finish for Paterno after a rocky start to the year. Morrelli may turn out to be a player after all.
22. TCU (NR) They lose so many key players, which is good news for Texas: the team that whipped Northern Illinois was a nasty one.
23. Notre Dame (12) The school's grossly different treatment of Weis and Willingham is looking pretty bad right now.
24. Hawaii (NR) Mel Kiper says Colt Brennan's "a system guy." I say shut up already. Great, great stuff from the junior quarterback.
25. Wake Forest (17) The ACC just wasn't very good this season. Even so, I was happy to see the Deacons get their day in the sun. Not quite enough to beat Louisville, but they belonged on the same field. Another good '06 story.