Like this past week's slate of match ups, my BlogPoll ballot is fairly dry and uninteresting, with what little change there is coming in the back half of my rankings. The fact of the matter is that there wasn't much that happened this past Saturday to alter my arrangement from the previous week. Numerous teams were off on bye, and No. 13 Stanford was my highest ranked team to lose.
That's all about to change. If you haven't looked yet, this Saturday's line up is absolutely loaded with great match ups; even if I wasn't planning to spend most of my day tailgating, my DVR would be on overdrive -- there's simply too much good football to see it all. Around here, West Virginia's visit to Austin is the highlight, but Georgia also travels to South Carolina, LSU will be in Gainesville to battle Florida, and Oklahoma heads to Lubbock for a very dangerous game at Texas Tech. And that's to say nothing of the second tier games -- Washington at Oregon, TCU at Iowa State, Miami at Notre Dame -- all of which are compelling match ups in their own right.
It's going to be an absolutely epic day of football, so let's set the stage with a quick review of where things stand after Week 5.
* I had my Top 12 grouped together like that for reasons that didn't really change this past Saturday.
* My concerns about LSU have nothing to do with their being asleep for most of their win over Towson, but they remain a team that I expect to get better and better throughout the season; their justification as a Top 5 team hinges on Saturday's trip to Gainesville to battle Florida, who slide into that spot with a win themselves.
* I thought Georgia's defense would be a lot better than it has been, but I'm glad to see everything come together for Aaron Murray -- hell, it's nice to see a quarterback of competency at all in the SEC, and I have no complaints about the entertaining show he and Tyler Bray put on Saturday. I've been impressed with South Carolina now that they actually have a passing game that can complement Marcus Lattimore. The Cocks don't exactly blow you away, but they're quietly a very well-rounded football team, with difference makers on both sides of the ball.
* Kansas State gets a bye week with Kansas in town, while Texas and West Virginia square off in a defining battle for both teams. With Texas struggling to find itself defensively and a much more explosive offense than projected, this isn't quite the match up we expected in August, but both teams establish themselves as serious contenders with a win. For Texas, a win in which the defense manages to slow down the hottest player in college football would be an exciting sign about the team's potential to make a run at the BCS this year, while a road win for West Virginia elevates their ceiling from dangerous Big 12 team to contenders.
* They played in torrential rain, but my early enthusiasm for Louisville is waning, my appreciation both for Charlie Strong and Teddy Bridgewater notwitthstanding.
* TCU's 24-16 win over SMU knocks them out of my ballot. The Ponies are dreadful, and this year's Big 12 field is going to wear down a TCU squad that may be game to compete any given week, but isn't deep or talented enough to navigate a strong opponent on an ongoing basis. I won't be surprised if they lose 5 Big 12 games.
* I noted in August that I was glad Texas was catching Oklahoma State early in the schedule, and I don't think any Longhorns fans would disagree after Saturday night.
* Rounding out the Big 12, I'll be watching OU's trip to Lubbock with great interest, as a revealing game for both teams. OU needs this one badly, and Texas Tech is having precisely the start to this season that they needed to be a dangerous spoiler this year. They're loaded with skilled upperclassmen on offense, and so far so good for Art Kauffman in turning around the trainwreck on defense.
Thoughts? Disagreements? Nods of approval? Weigh in with your own take on this week's rankings, as well as how you see Separation Saturday playing out.