It was a fairly uneventful week at the top of the ballot. Rationale is below the fold.
I didn't see anything that justified any juggling in the top 8. These things will sort themselves out. Kansas State, Michigan, and Illinois still strike me as pretenders, but they have earned their current rankings. The regular season is nearly half-over, so resume ranking should be over as well. Michigan makes the biggest jump, in part because of a solid road win and in part because the quality of Michigan's best win, against Notre Dame, continues to improve as the Irish continue to win. I struggled with what to do with Illinois. They are very good, but are they edge-of-top-ten good? I didn't really see that from them on Saturday. I've seen IU get kneecapped by top 10 opponents over the years, and the game on Saturday didn't feel like, say, the usual IU-OSU matchup. I think 13 is a fair ranking, putting them behind the most impressive couple of one-loss teams. They will have ample opportunity to leapfrog those teams if they remain undefeated. Similarly, I struggled with Penn State, deciding whether to rank a team that IU came within 5 yards of defeating. Still, they have played a solid schedule and their only loss is to a top 5 team. Texas takes a big dive based on the degree of domination by Oklahoma and the lack of a really good win elsewhere on the schedule. T
his may be the last week that the poll will be comprised only of undefeated and one-loss teams. EDIT: Thanks to Joe Hamilton's Chauffeur for pointing out that I somehow overlooked or confused the outcome of the Auburn-Arkansas game. Auburn remains ranked, but barely, as the only two-loss team in the poll.
As always, your opinions are welcomed and encouraged.