MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 24: Lavar Edwards #89 of the Louisiana State University Tigers celebrates after recovering a fumble from the West Virginia Mountaineers during the game on September 24, 2011 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Lots of good games Saturday that kind of helped weed out the contenders from the pretenders. Though the season is still pretty early, I think it's clear who will and won't be contending for a national championship.
Of course, the way the BCS is set up, to contend, you've got to finish first and second. Two teams already have a leg up on that spot and, outside losing, it's hard to imagine either relinquishing their coveted ranking.
But as past seasons have taught us, winning out is no guarantee and Saturday, one top five team needed a rally to keep their title hopes alive so early in the season. It should be expected that at least one team ranked in the top five falls this season.
Who will be the first?
My ballot and reasoning after the jump...
I said last week I was sold on LSU and Saturday's performance just reinforces this. The Tigers went on the road, into a tough environment, and pretty much controlled their game against West Virginia. It was an impressive win that pairs nicely with their victory over Oregon - which looks better and better every day.
Alabama stayed at second after going on the road and routing Arkansas. It's perfectly reasonable to expect both the Tide and LSU to win out until their mega-huge November showdown, which could not only decide who wins the SEC West, but who plays in the national championship.
Because of their great showing on the road against Texas A&M, I moved Oklahoma State up to third. It might be a bit premature, but I think anytime, this early in the season, you go on the road and beat a top ten team (Aggies were ranked 8th in last week's BlogPoll), you deserve a big reward for that. I don't know if the Cowboys have it in them to finish this high, or if they'll contend with the Sooners for the Big 12 (10) title - but right now, they do look like the best team in the conference.
Speaking of the Sooners, I dropped them. And it's not just because of their struggles to Missouri. Florida State lost at Clemson, so their marquee victory doesn't look all that great at the moment. Plenty of time, though, for Oklahoma to regroup and surge up the rankings - especially with a game yet to be played against rival Oklahoma State.
The rest of the poll is pretty much filler. I find it more difficult to rank non-top ten teams because it gets harder and harder to define teams the closer you get to the bottom of the poll.
You'll notice, though, I removed Utah from the rankings. While I still expect good things from the Utes, let's be honest, their two wins were to nobody teams and their lone loss came to a USC squad that looked undisciplined, uninterested and extremely turnover prone in a road loss to Arizona State Saturday night.
I'm not so sure the Trojans are a very good team anymore. If that's the case, the Utes definitely don't belong anywhere near the top 25 until they can prove capable of contending, and beating, top-level programs.
Fortunately, they get a huge chance to do that Saturday against Washington. This is the game where we'll really get a feel for who Utah is because, at the moment, I don't think anyone knows. Certainly the loss at SC looks less impressive and while the win over BYU was nice, they're a pretty bad team - maybe the worst FBS team Utah will face this season.
Okay, that might be a bit extreme, but 2-1 with wins over Montana State and BYU, with a loss to an unranked Trojans team, is not the resume of a top 25 team.
At least I don't think so.
With their victory over SC, I moved ASU back into the top 25, though kept them behind Illinois, because the Illini beat them two weeks ago. Of course, the Illini needed to fend off Western Michigan of the MAC to just stay perfect this season, so I'm not sure we should expect them to remain ranked once the Big Ten season starts.
So, what do you like and what don't you like about the ballot?