I should start this morning by saying I am surprised as anyone that I have three Big Ten teams ranked in the top six of my Associated Press poll.
As it does most every week, my ballot has raised some questions, and that’s perfectly understandable, so let me address some of those questions here this morning. No. 1, what in the world is Wisconsin doing at No. 4? The Badgers have lost two games, I get that, but they caught a really bad break in an early loss to Arizona State (which as you can see, I think is a pretty good team), and their only other loss came by one score to Ohio State, which I think everyone agrees is a top three team. No. 2, Michigan State? Yes, the Spartans play SEC defense. Their only loss came at Notre Dame, and I think they beat Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game honestly.
You have probably noticed I have South Carolina ranked one spot lower than Clemson. I think when you look at both teams first 11 games, that’s the right ranking. Do I think the Tigers are going to beat the Gamecocks? Well, you’ll have to wait until later in the week to find out, but clearly Las Vegas, which has the Gamecocks a 5.5-point favorite, doesn’t care that the Tigers are ranked ahead of South Carolina.
As for ranking a four-loss Georgia team, I am one of nine voters to have the Bulldogs ranked, and the reason they are in there is two-fold. First, they are a different team with Todd Gurley in the lineup. Second, they just played Auburn to within a hair of a win at Auburn, so if Auburn is the No. 5 team in the country, the Bulldogs belong in the poll. That’s my reasoning at least.
Let me know what of this makes sense and what doesn’t here or on Twitter (@JoshatTheState).
Around the SEC:
I am just now seeing this, but you guys got jobbed frankly. USA Today ranked the top five “most beloved” college football fan bases in the country, and South Carolina didn’t make the list. OK, that’s understandable, some pretty storied programs on there. But to not make the honorable mentions? Come on, now, you guys deserve better.
Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com is reporting that Will Muschamp will fire offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis (the guy he hired after Shawn Elliott took his name out of the hat), but Muschamp is all smiles in Gainesville, telling reporters, “I love you guys.” Clearly, dementia is setting in.
You remember that LSU lost 10 underclassmen to the NFL Draft last year (not counting the dismissed Tyrann Mathieu)? Well, the Tigers could lose as many as eight more this year. The fact that LSU can experience a talent drain like that and remain at the level it is at is stunning.