Top 25 Draft Ballot

The new BCS Standings are out, with Ohio State, Boston College, Arizona State, Oregon, and Oklahoma commanding the top spots. As we do each week, we'll take our own stab at the rankings. Revisions considered through Tuesday.

This is not a power poll. Last week's ranking in parentheses.

Rank Team Delta
1 LSU 4
2 Arizona State 1
3 Kansas 8
4 Ohio State 2
5 Boston College 1
6 South Florida 5
7 Oregon --
8 Oklahoma 2
9 Florida 4
10 Kentucky 1
11 Missouri 6
12 Auburn --
13 West Virginia 1
14 Virginia Tech 1
15 South Carolina 7
16 Southern Cal 3
17 Virginia 5
18 California 8
19 Georgia 2
20 Alabama 6
21 Texas 5
22 Michigan 4
23 UCLA 3
24 Hawaii --
25 Penn State 1

Dropped Out: Kansas State (#16),
Tennessee (#18), Cincinnati (#20),
Texas Tech (#23), Illinois (#25).
1. LSU (5) Meaningful games: at Mississippi State (+45), Virginia Tech (+41), South Carolina (+12), Florida (+4), at Kentucky (-6), Auburn (+4). The team most think is the best overall has claim to what's probably the nation's best overall resume - even with the loss to Kentucky. They're playing catch up to the two undefeateds ahead of them in the BCS standings, but they could finish strong and finish in the top two regardless of what happens around them. [Next: Bye]

2. Arizona State (3) Meaningful games: Colorado (+19), Oregon State (+12), at Stanford (+38), at Washington State (+3), Washington (+24). You can quibble about how to order ASU, OSU, and BC, but the Sun Devils are the team in the best position to make a legitimate claim on a top two spot. Winning their next four games (vs Cal, at Oregon, at UCLA, vs USC) would be the stuff of a BCS Title Game worthy team. [Next: California]

3. Kansas (11) Meaningful games: at Kansas State (+6), at Colorado (+5). There are two components to Kansas' resume: the cupcakes and their conference foes. Regarding the former, no team in the nation dispatched more thoroughly the weak teams on their non-conference schedule. And thus far in conference play, the Jayhawks havee picked up two road wins and a blowout of Baylor. I'll take Arizona State's body of work in the Pac 10 over KU's, but with the win in Boulder, Kansas gets a big boost on the ballot. The Jayhawks have work to do among the BCS human voters. A convincing road win in College Station Saturday would help. [Next: at Texas A&M]

4. Ohio State (2) Meaningful games: at Washington (+19), at Purdue (+16), Michigan State (+7). The closer I look at the Buckeyes' resume, the more I see last year's Wisconsin team. They've dutifully handled their chores thus far, but haven't yet defeated anyone of note. This week they travel to Happy Valley for a night game; a nationally televised road win over a solid-if-not-strong Penn State squad is critical to establishing their legitimacy (in my eyes). [Next: at Penn State]

5. Boston College (4) Meaningful games: Wake Forest (+10), NC State (+20), at Georgia Tech (+14). Hey, look at that - two of our top four teams had byes this week. Like Arizona State and Ohio State, the Golden Eagles lack a signature win at this point in the season, and this week may mark their only opportunity to pick one up as they travel to Blacksburg to take on the Hokies. There's no room for error here; these teams don't have the schedule strength to make the title game as one-loss participants. [Next: at Virginia Tech]

6. South Florida (1) Meaningful games for USF: at Auburn (+3), North Carolina (+27), West Virginia (+5), UCF (+52), at Rutgers (-3). The bubble finally burst, but when you look at USF's overall body of work, it remains excellent. They're highly unlikely to move up into title contention among the voters who count, but those two wins over Auburn and West Virginia are, for the time being, enough to keep them in the top six on this ballot. [Next: at Connecticut]

7. Oregon (7) Meaningful games: at Michigan (+32), at Stanford (+24), California (-7), Washington State (+46), Washington (+21). The Ducks may have the nation's best quarterback and overall offense. Their stay as title contenders makes or breaks this week when the Trojans visit Eugene in what should be a rather interesting matchup. USC's got terrific playmakers on defense; Oregon's been filthy on offenses. Winner remains a serious contender for BCS Title Game participation. [Next: vs USC]

8. Oklahoma (6) Meaningful games: Miami (+38), at Tulsa (+41), at Colorado (-3), Texas (+7), Missouri (+10). The Sooners won ugly in Ames, but ugly's been fine so far this year. Win, win, win. That's all that matters. Maybe not, though, for Oklahoma. As of now, the Sooners need some help to get up into title game contention, as there's nothing sexy left on their schedule to give them a boost. OU probably needs to start winning big again to re-establish itself among human voters that they're worthy of consideration for one of the top two spots. [Next: Bye]

9. Florida (13) Meaningful games: Tennessee (+39), Auburn (-3), at LSU (-4), at Kentucky (+7). I'm not sure I've ever seen one player so thoroughly haul a team upon his back. Okay, I have, but what Tim Tebow is doing right now is positively Herculean. With this team, it's not an overstatement to say, "They'll go as far as Tebow takes them." [Next: Georgia (Jacksonville)]

10. Kentucky (9) Meaningful games: Louisville (+6), at Arkansas (+13), at South Carolina (-15), LSU (+6), Florida (-7). They fought like hell, but couldn't keep the Gators out of the end zone. Like his counterpart on Saturday, Andre Woodson was silly good, tossing five touchdowns and no picks trying to keep the 'Cats close. [Next: vs Mississippi State]

11. Missouri (17) Meaningful games: at Illinois (+6), at Oklahoma (-10), Texas Tech (+31). There was no win more impressive on Saturday than Missouri's dismantling of Texas Tech. I'm going to be rooting quietly for Missouri and Kansas to win out to set up an interesting, winner takes all showdown in Lawrence on November 24th. It'd be good for the Big 12. [Next: vs Iowa State]

12. Auburn (12) Meaningful games: Kansas State (+10), South Florida (-3), Mississippi State (-5), Florida (+3), at Arkansas (+2), at LSU (-4). The Tigers have been a different team since an ugly home loss to Mississippi State, this week playing well enough to win in Baton Rouge but falling just short. [Next: Ole Miss]

13. West Virginia (14) Meaningful games: at Maryland (+17), at South Florida (-8), Mississippi State (+25). The Mouintaineers still have games with Rutgers, Cincinnati, Connecticut, and Louisville to boost the resume, but, like fellow one-loss Big East team South Florida, they're almost assuredly on the outside looking in without some serious help. Oddly, the Mountaineers are three spots ahead of USF in the BCS Standings, despite having a weaker resume and a head-to-head loss. Human voters have grossly inflated WVU's ranking. [Next: at Rutgers]

14. Virginia Tech (15) Meaningful games: at LSU (-41), North Carolina (+7), at Clemson (+18). The Hokies get their chance for a win voters will notice as Boston College travels to Blacksburg for a Thursday night game. We know less about BC than we do about Virginia Tech, but the Hokies have played much better since a lackluster start to the year. [Next: vs Boston College]

15. South Carolina (8) Meaningful games: at Georgia (+4), at LSU (-12), Mississippi State (+17), Kentucky (+15), at North Carolina (+6), Vanderbilt (-11). A home loss to Vanderbilt kills the Gamecock's momentum. Steve Spurrier struggling to find points? In-deed. [Next: at Tennessee]

16. Southern California (19) Meaningful games: Washington State (+30), at Washington (+3), Stanford (-1). Mark Sanchez may have permanently replaced John David Booty; the Trojans certainly need more from their quarterback than they were getting from the senior. What's wound up being a softish schedule so far now toughens significantly. USC has three road games with Oregon, California, and Arizona State before closing with UCLA. [Next: at Oregon]

17. Virginia (22) Meaningful games: at North Carolina (+2), Georgia Tech (+5), Connecticut (+1), at Maryland (+1). Just imagine if the Cavaleirs hadn't dropped their opener to Wyoming. We may not find out much more about Virginia until their final two games, when they close at Miami and versus Virginia Tech. As awful as UVA was in the loss to Wyoming, they've gotten it done since then. [Next: at NC State]

18. California (10) Meaningful games: Tennessee (+14), at Oregon (+7), Oregon State (-3). The win over Tennessee's losing luster, but the win against Oregon keeps the resume afloat. Still, the Bears have yet to reach the levels Tedfordites keep waiting for. A win over ASU would help restore some of the optimism, but I'd guess Cal fans really won't be satisfied unless they take out Southern Cal. [Next: at Arizona State]

19. Georgia (21) Meaningful games: Oklahoma State (+21), South Carolina (-4), at Alabama (+3), at Tennessee (-21). The Bulldogs desperately need to play well against Florida to avoid dropping from the rankings altogether and restore faith that this is one of the top tier teams in the SEC. Right now, they appear on the verge of a scary slide. [Next: vs Florida (Jacksonville)]

20. Alabama (NR) Meaningful games: at Vanderbilt (+14), Arkansas (+3), Georgia (-3), at Florida State (-7), Tennessee (+24). The offense is alive! Bama pounded Tennessee Saturday in a much needed win to get back some of the early momentum the Tide lost with back to back losses in September. They get a bye week before hosting LSU in a game for first place in the SEC West. [Next: Bye]

21. Texas (NR) Meaningful games: UCF (+3), TCU (+21), Kansas State (-20), Oklahoma (-7). At long last, Texas returns! As you can see, Texas hasn't accomplished anything particularly noteworthy yet, but the back end of this poll is full of warted teams. The 'Horns hope to keep building momentum with a win over reeling Nebraska. After that, the real tests of progress: at Oklahoma State, versus Texas Tech, and at Texas A&M.

22. Michigan (NR) Meaningful games: Appy State (-2), Oregon (-32), Penn State (+5), Purdue (+27), at Illinois (+10). The Wolverines now have three solid wins, but the two-game disaster to start the season carries too much weight for me to rank the Wolverines much higher right now. Michigan and UCLA could very well wind up with the two wackiest looking resumes when it's all said and done. [Next: vs Minnesota]

23. UCLA (NR) at Stanford (+28), BYU (+10), at Utah (-38), Washington (+13), at Oregon State (+26), Notre Dame (-14), California (+9). Like I said, just wacky. The Bruins are 4-0 atop the Pac 10 standings with Arizona State with two inexplicable, grotesque non-conference losses. A 38 point loss to Utah? Any loss to Notre Dame? [Next: at Washington State]

24. Hawaii (24) Meaningful games: None. Same as every week. They have no meaningful wins to speak of, but no losses, either. That keeps 'em ranked until they play Boise State, when they can pick up a win against real competition. [Next: vs New Mexico State]

25. Penn State (NR) Meaningful games: at Michigan (-5), at Illinois (-7), Wisconsin (+31), at Indiana (+5). The Nittany Lions have exactly one chance left this season to announce their worth: next Saturday night when they host Ohio State. As someone who really doesn't want to see Ohio State in the title game again this year, I'll be glued to that game start to finish. [Next: vs Ohio State]

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