The first FTS Poll will be up next week, which means this is the last weekend for teams to separate themselves from the pack. I've got a rough idea on who I'll rank where, but there are a few spots and teams I'm still a bit unsure of. Needless to say, tomorrow's results will go a long way to clear some things up for me; of particular interest to me are the teams/games/items below.
1. Miami/Va Tech: The winner is a top-10 team. If it's close, could they still both be top-15?
FSU won - BIG. So, the Hokies' only loss is to a dominant Alabama team and they've now beat 2 impressive teams in a row. Tech's for real (or as real as one can be in the ACC), but the 'Canes still have a little ways to go.
2. What does Washington do now? Going to Stanford the week after the big win is a classic trap game. If they get through it, and #3 on this list pans out, then U-Dub looks very impressive. If they lose? Well, then they're just the team who got to beat USC in 2009.
We're not really surprised by this are we? Stanford's a a good, solid team and Washington is still building. Neither of these teams are playing top-25 ball...yet.
3. LSU. Will the Tigers begin to pull away from mid-level competition? The Vandy game was a bit suspect, so the Bayou Bengals better get it in gear for the trip to Starkville.
The Tigers look VERY shaky. There's no way they'll win the West. Can they beat Georgia next week? Absolutely. the Dawgs, while 3-1, are questionable at best and the Tigers will kill you if you give them 3 TO's. A big win in Athens could be the spark the Tigers need.
4. UNC-Ga Tech is the prism for the entire ACC. Should we even bother ranking and predicting this conference? The heels are undefeated and ranked, the Jackets got drubbed in Miami and now look like an afterthought. If history holds true, it means that Tech will now unleash an ass-whooping so fierce that they'll leap back up to 17 or so while UNC falls out altogether...and both teams will still be 5-3 in the league.
So, it's still impossible to pick/rank/predict the middle of the ACC pack. Tech blasted the Heels Saturday, leaving them with their only loss to Miami, who got burned by VA Tech. UNC can still clean up the in-state rivals and compete for their division, but neither of these teams will be dominant by any means.
5. Does the Big East have a contender? Cincy has been playing lights out, but will it matter? Let's say they go 11-1 or so. They won't get the title game which means they'll play the ACC Champ in the Orange Bowl. That has not worked out in the BE"s favor, leading me to doubt anyone form that conference, no matter how successful they are with their crappy schedules.
The jury's still out on this one. If the BearCats had blown out Fresno, I'd be behind them, but they let the Dogs hang around. This either means they were overlooking them, or lack the killer instinct a true power needs.
6. TCU-Clemson - Are the horned Frogs for real? A win in Death Valley and I'll say so.
The Horned Frogs are 2-0 against BCS teams this year. If they can stay focused enough to beat BYU and Utah, avoid the upset down the stretch and keep forcing other teams to play to their tempo, TCU will be in a BCS game.
7. When does the Tedford factor kick in? If Best gets the Bears past Oregon, then USC could be the only team between Cal and a BCS Title.
Cal, you got Tedford'ed! I swear, the PAC-10 is as bad as the ACC as far as ranking the middle teams.
8. Will the heavy faves handle their business? It would help flesh out the top of the poll; we already need a new #4...
The Biggies did, for the most part, handle their business against the scrubs, helping to solidify the top-5.
9. How high do I rank SoCar? Norwood and Co. are too tough to leave off and just a few points away from undefeated.
Answer: In the 15-20 range.
10. UPSETS!! Since I haven't been using a fluid poll, will single incident upsets show too much affect in this first poll?
This just raises more questions. For example, Iowa-PSU. How do we look at Iowa now? Are they a trre Big-10 player now? Is Penn State done? How far do the lions fall? How high do I rank the Hawkeyes?And, won't the Ferentz factor kick in soon enough, ending in the obligatory 3-4 losses.?
Well, there you have it. The 10 things I wanted to keep an eye on and how it all played out. Check back later for the FTS Top-25.