Time for our Top 25 discussion, and we don't have much movement in the rankings. One of the nice things about the resume ranking system is the stability it provides. There's little room to get carried away in the outcome of one particular game. I hate to pick on Kyle, because he's among my absolute favorite bloggers, but his Top 25 from last week was bound to take a huge hit. Kyle got excessively caught up in what Clemson did to Georgia Tech and what Wisconsin did to Minnesota, as two examples. After each had unimpressive weeks, he was forced to re-evaluate.
This is just one disadvantage of the "rank 'em as you see 'em" approach. By not focusing enough on the body of work (Wisconsin, for example, still has no quality wins), it can be easy to misjudge a team. At a minimum, the ballot swings wildly from week to week, which lessens, in some ways, the value of the rankings.
Onward to BON's draft Top 25. As always, your comments are welcome. As a reminder, our methodology relies heavily on a team's overall resume. Teams are rewarded for the quality of their victories, margin of victory, and the quality of their losses.
1. Ohio State (1) Other than the rain-soaked Penn State game, the offense hasn't had an off week yet. The defense isn't giving up big plays, either, while improving as the season progresses. At this point, it's all about November 18th.
2. Michigan (2) The offense has slowed down with Manningham out, as expected. But as noted at the time of the injury, the timing was good. The Wolverines are superior to everyone on their schedule until the Ohio State game. Nonetheless, they've got to have him back for that game. They won't score enough to win without him.
3. Florida (4) Florida's yet to put it all together for one game on offense, which has meant some ugly victories, but ugly or not, they've continued to get it done. If they win out, they may be your top one-loss team in the BCS.
4. Texas (5) All hail Colt McCoy! The pass defense continues to limp along, but the run defense destroyed Tech and remains one of the top two in the country. With the improvements we're seeing on offense, this looks like a team you're going to have to score 35 to beat. Which is good.
5. Tennessee (6) Only a one-point loss to Florida stands between the Vols and an undefeated record. The California win looks great, still, but they really need to handle LSU to make a statement about their strength. Huge game this Saturday. Huge.
6. California (7) An off week for the Bears sets them up for the final four game stretch in which they have a great shot to keep bumping up the BCS standings. The Trojans are their last big test.
7. USC (3) I guess we knew the close games would catch up to USC sometime, and though many of us called a close game in Corvallis, few of us predicted this would be the stumbling block. The Trojans are down, but not out yet. If they can thump Notre Dame and Cal, they'll be in the conversation still.
8. Auburn (8) They're ranked here for their resume, but my, have they failed to impress. The defense is merely very good, and the offense is only average. What's wild is that they could win out, not play in the SEC title game, and emerge atop the one-loss scram. It wouldn't be right, but it could happen.
9. Boston College (9) On the fast track to the Atlantic Division title in the ACC, Boston College is sitting pretty. If they can win in Coral Gables to close out the season, they'll have a shot to beat Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech for an Orange Bowl berth.
10. Arkansas (10) The lousy schedule makes the Razorbacks hard to rank higher, but they're playing great football right now - especially in the run department. They can make some real noise if they knock off Tennessee and LSU, though.
11. Notre Dame (11) For the Irish, they must beat USC or they're irrelevant. We just haven't seen this team play Top 10 football so far. They might yet, but the jury is still out. The last second wins againt Michigan State and UCLA are hurting them.
12. West Virginia (13) At last, data! Louisville and West Virginia lock horns for some Thursday night entertainment. The winner jumps into our Top 10; the loser takes a nose dive. This is one of those defining games of the 2006 season.
13. Louisville (14) See above.
14. Rutgers (15) The Scarlet Knights get each of the two teams directly above it, so they can legitimately play their way up the board. The playoff proponents among us want Rutgers to split the two above games - beating the winner of Louisville-West Virginia, and falling to the loser. Chaos!
15. LSU (16) Still no quality wins on the board for a Tiger team that (MOV-aided) computers absolutely love. They close with Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas among their last four contests, so there's room to prove the pooters right yet.
16. Clemson (12) Clemson showed us why you've got to be careful about trusting what you see a team do in one week. Lots of voters rocketed the Tigers waaay up their ballots - some into the top five - after they whipped Georgia Tech silly. Tempting as that was, a careful look at their resume provided reason to temper our judgment. This ranking feels about right for now.
17. Texas A&M (17) Michael Goodson's rapid development helps improve an already sound Aggie rushing attack. There's nothing special about this team, but there aren't any glaring weaknesses. Unless you count the coach. (Which we do.)
18. Boise State (18) Their Oregon State victory now looks a lot better, giving the Broncos another chit in their BCS arsenal.
19. Oklahoma (19) The defense is playing at an elite level right now, and not a moment too soon. Texas fans need for the Sooners and Aggies to finish strong. The best case scenario is probably for A&M to beat OU, then having the Sooners win out. It's a complicated picture, but their staying power helps the Horns.
20. Wisconsin (20) Data point #2 in the "don't believe everything you see" analysis. Wisconsin has yet to register a quality victory. They get Penn State and Iowa in the next two games, but neither team is elite. This may be your most unproven 11-1 team in the country when it's all said and done.
21. Virginia Tech (NR) The Hokies sure needed that win, didn't they? Just as the season was starting to slip away, Virginia Tech put forth their best performance to date and stayed alive in the ACC title picture. This isn't a great team, but good running and good defense will win you 8-9 games every season.
22. Washington State (25) Another week, another win, and for the season, the Cougars only losses are to Auburn, USC, and Cal. They should probably win their last three and earn a fun bowl berth - perhaps the Holiday.
23. Oregon State (NR) Pac 10 parity? It's about time. USC's conference streak was getting absurd, and we're awfully happy to see it end. Congrats to the Beavers for a huge win. I don't know that they'll beat both UCLA and Oregon, but they've earned this spot for now.
24. Georgia Tech (24) The Yellow Jackets look to be on a collision course with Boston College for the ACC title. I don't love this team or its resume, but they can finish strong with a win at Georgia and a win over the Eagles.
25. BYU (22) Just a solid football team. The Tulsa win looks good, the overtime loss to Boston College looks good. This isn't a great team, but it's a solid one, no doubt.