Unlike last week, when
rose in the polls without playing a snap, the Hokies earned their bump Sunday.
Thursday’s 37-26 victory at then-No. 20
was Virginia Tech’s most impressive performance to date, a tick better than a 38-17 win at
So on my Associated Press ballot, I moved the Hokies from No. 12 to No. 9, jumping
. The collective AP wisdom agrees, ranking Tech ninth.
The most strident Hokies fans argue that Virginia Tech (9-1, 5-1
) should be ahead of
(9-1, 6-1). After all, they say, the Hokies won at Georgia Tech a week-plus after the
lost there. Moreover, Clemson had to rally from a two-touchdown deficit Saturday to beat visiting Wake Forest 31-28 on a final-play field goal.
Fair points, and there’s no denying the Tigers’ recent defensive lapses. Clemson has allowed 142 points in its last four games; Virginia Tech has allowed 142 in its last eight games.
But I kept the Tigers one spot above the Hokies based on their head-to-head encounter, a convincing 23-3 Clemson victory in
on Oct. 1.
disagrees, ranking Virginia Tech seventh and Clemson eighth.
Chances are, a rematch in the ACC championship game will settle the matter.
(be patient, sometimes it's slow to post) and below is my ballot.
hangover caused a slow start against Western
. But the Tigers eventually rolled 42-9 and prepare to visit
(10-0): Brandon Weeden’s Heisman stock is soaring after a 66-6 road-rage win at
. The Cowboys play at
3. Alabama (9-1): If Oklahoma State loses to
, are we looking at an Alabama-LSU rematch for national title? The Crimson Tide dismissed
24-7 and readies for Division I-AA
(9-1): The Ducks raced past previously undefeated
53-30 and host the game of the week Saturday against Southern California.
(9-1): The third
West team among the top five. The Razorbacks routed
49-7 and welcome Mississippi State this week.
6. Oklahoma (8-1): The idle Sooners head to
this week and with Bedlam looming still maintain national championship hopes.
7. Stanford (9-1):
at-large bid probable if the Cardinal closes with wins over Cal (Saturday) and
8. Clemson (9-1): Defense remains an issue after a come-from-behind, 31-28 home escape over Wake Forest locked the Tigers into the ACC championship game. Clemson plays at
9. Virginia Tech (9-1): The Hokies crave a rematch with Clemson and can further their case by beating
10. Boise State (8-1): Guessing many will dump the Broncos farther after their 36-35 home loss to
. But Boise’s season-opening win over Georgia in Atlanta looking better and better. Broncs head to San Diego State this week.
11. Houston (10-0): The Cougars and Southern Mississippi could give
a compelling championship game. Houston rolled
73-17 and faces
12. Michigan State (8-2): Pencil Spartans into inaugural
title contest after Saturday’s 37-21 win at
. They next play last-place
(8-2): Next week’s game at
will be much more challenging than Saturday’s 42-13 rout of
(8-2): Not sure if the defenses are awful or offenses phenomenal, but
sure does entertain, witness Wildcats’ 53-50, four-OT win over Texas A&M. On deck for K-State is a trip to Texas.
(8-2): Without Marcus Lattimore, the Gamecocks muddled through against
, 17-12. Presuming they’ll cruise Saturday against The Citadel.
16. Georgia (8-2): Are the Dawgs this season’s Virginia Tech?. They’ve won eight straight since an 0-2 start, none more impressive than Saturday’s 45-7 cuffing of Auburn. Beat Kentucky this week, and Georgia advances to SEC title game.
(8-2): The Cornhuskers distinguished themselves in unique conditions at
, where they held on for a 17-14 victory. Another big test, at
18. Southern California (8-2): A 40-17 thumping of Washington signals the
are as prepared as can be for Oregon.
19. Michigan (8-2): A New Year’s Day bowl in Brady Hoke’s first season as coach would be quite the feat. The Wolverines looked the part Saturday in a 31-14 win over Illinois.
20. Texas Christian (8-2): Bravo to Gary Patterson for disdaining OT at Boise and playing for the win. The Horned Frogs next play
21. Penn State (8-2): Unimaginable what the Nittany Lions are enduring. They travel this week to
for a battle of interim coaches.
22. Southern Mississippi (9-1): The
are 9-1 for the first time since 1962 after a 30-29 victory over
. They should punish UAB on Thursday.
23. Notre Dame (7-3): Rockne would have cringed at the Irish’s helmets Saturday. But at least they whipped
45-21. This week a third straight game against the ACC Atlantic with
(7-3): Saturday’s 23-19 victory over
was the Seminoles’ fifth in a row. They host Virginia next.
25. Baylor (6-3): The Bears needed OT to beat the Big 12’s worst team,
, 31-30. Here’s guessing they’ll be more motivated to play Oklahoma.
In: TCU, Notre Dame, Florida State, Baylor.
Out: Auburn, Georgia Tech, Texas, Cincinnati.