Dropped Out: Oregon State (#16).
Obviously, the key issue with this week's ballot concerns the one-loss teams, particularly Texas and Oklahoma. My placement is unchanged from last week and has as much to do with the nature of the Big XII triumvirate's losses more than anything else; in other words, I have ranked the three Big XII teams based on which is the closest to being undefeated. Texas lost at Texas Tech in the final seconds of the game; Oklahoma lost to Texas in a competitive but not down-to-the-wire game on a neutral field; Texas Tech lost badly at Oklahoma. Obviously, a review of the teams' nonconference schedule strength relegates TT a distant third among the group. Oklahoma, thanks to surprisingly good seasons by Cincinnati and TCU, had a tougher non-con than Texas, but not sufficiently tougher to override a 10 point win on a neutral field. I'm not entirely sure whether I should have TT behind Florida, but Florida's placement this week is academic: an SEC title game win over #1 Alabama would place the Gators in the top two, while a loss would take the Gators out of the top 5.
The more interesting question is what I would have done if Oklahoma had lost in Stillwater last night. Clearly, when head-to-head is taken out of the equation, I believe Texas has a resume superior to TT. Still, I'm a strong believer in the significance of head-to-head competition, sanctity of the regular season, etc., so I would have had to rank TT ahead of Texas (in that alternate universe, it would have been Alabama-TT-Texas-Florida). Texas would beat TT 7 times out of ten, but what happened happened. Of course, I may face this conundrum next week if OU edges ahead of UT in the BCS rankings and then loses to Missouri. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.