Look at ESPN’s Power Rankings for this week in college football, and you see that they’re teasing Florida losing first place votes. Look who threw Alabama on top, and read his reasoning ($) and you sort of nod your head.
Look at Pat Forde’s top five, and you wonder.
I know Miami has two very impressive wins, at Florida State and over Georgia Tech, but only the latter of the two was more their win than the opponent’s loss; Florida State had to screw up fairly massively at the goal line to allow the ‘Canes to escape Doak with a win. No other ballot has the ‘Canes higher than 4th or breaking up the Florida-Texas-Alabama troika, so Forde’s out on a limb with his bullishness.
This can partly be explained by his impression of FSU: Only one other ballot, Chris Fallica’s, has the ‘Noles in the top 15, and even Fallica doesn’t go so far as to put them above Oklahoma, which Forde does. I guess this makes sense if you consider FSU’s win over BYU the best of the year—which I do—and disregard them nearly losing at home to Jacksonville State as a product of playing in a monsoon in miniature on four days’ rest—which I don’t.
In fact, Forde’s ballot makes a lot of sense from the traditional poll-hater’s standpoint: Undefeated teams (well, except twelfth-ranked Cincinnati and thirteenth-ranked Ole Miss) more or less come first, no team is ranked higher than a team it lost to, and the ranking methodology seem to reward the “best” teams, not the highest-ranked teams from the preseason to not have lost, which partly explains Texas in fifth.
But, Mizzou? Really? Only Feldman (21st) has them ranked higher than Forde does (23rd). Their dusting of a possibly bad Illinois isn’t exactly a resume win, and neither are a close call to 1-2 Bowling Green and a 52-12 stomping of Furman that saw the Tigers’ defense let up almost 400 yards. Missouri, like most teams at the lower end of the Top 25, has done next to nothing to deserve their space, and Forde’s partiality (he went to Mizzou) might be at play here.
Update: The Forde-Yard Dash for this week explains. Sort of.