Posted by Jerry Hinnen
This week's polls have been released. Here's how the SEC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.
At this point, the Tigers clearly care more about what's going on in the BCS standings -- where they also rank No. 1, by the slimmest of margins over their Tuscaloosa rivals -- than in the AP or Caoches polls. But since the AP does crown half of the national championship and the Coaches poll is a full third of the BCS formula and the Harris Poll tends to track both traditional polls closely, no one's going to start ignoring the AP or coaches in Baton Rouge (or anywhere else) anytime soon.
As for those polls' treatment of the Tigers this week, it was mostly the same-ol'-same-ol'; LSU is still No. 1 in the media balloting by a relatively comfortable margin, No. 2 in the Coaches behind Oklahoma, and ahead of No. 3 Alabama in that poll by a slim margin. But worth noting this week is that LSU and Alabama have dramatically closed the gap on the Sooners. Despite Oklahoma still commanding the lion's share of first-place votes (31 to LSU's 15 and Alabama's 12), LSU stands only 16 points out of first place, and Alabama only 7 additional points behind LSU. The 23 points separating the top three teams is nearly seven times smaller the margin between the Tide and No. 4 Wisconsin.
In other words: the way LSU and Alabama are annihilating opponents right now, the Sooners had best not put anything less than their best foot forward if they want to stay atop the Coaches.
Aside from the same closing of the gap in the Coaches just described for LSU, it was business-as-usual for the Tide after their 52-7 demolition of Ole Miss. We've said for many weeks that both of the SEC's top dogs deserve to get the nod over the Sooners, since the Tide and Tigers have each been every bit as dominant while playing decisively more difficult schedules than Oklahoma's; it's nice to see the BCS agree.
The Hogs enjoyed a bye week but still moved up a spot in the Coaches, thanks to previous No. 10 Michigan falling from the ranks of the unbeaten. No movement in the AP, though, with teams 1-through-9 all winning. Arkansas remains the second-highest-ranked team with a loss, behind Oregon ... but shouldn't they be ahead of the Ducks? Both teams' only loss came to one of the LSU/Alabama juggernauts, but while the Hogs have defeated two other top-25 teams in Texas A&M and Auburn, Arizona State is the only Duck victory of note. The Hogs should move up.
14/12. SOUTH CAROLINA
The Wolverines' fall results in the Gamecocks moving up a slot in both polls. But we're not sure anyone who watched Carolina survive Mississippi State by the skin of their teeth truly believes the Gamecocks are one of the top 15 teams in the country. Of the seven collective losses suffered by the polls' consensus top 16 teams, Carolina's is the only one that didn't either come 1. to an undefeated team 2. on the road.
With the Tigers' offense still sputtering, the eye test suggests Auburn is ranked about where it deserves to be at 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. But does that give Gene Chizik's team enough credit for its schedule-to-date? Between handing South Carolina its only loss so far (and in Columbia, no less), beating two other middle-of-the-pack SEC teams, and only losing to two top-10 teams at those team's places, it's not surprising the BCS computers call Auburn the nation's No. 14 team.
24 (tie)/unranked. GEORGIA
The Bulldogs reenter the AP poll at its very bottom, one notch ahead of Penn State. But while we'd like to give the Dawgs credit for losing their two games to a pair of top-15 teams, we think the Coaches have it right in selecting the Nittany Lions instead; PSU has one fewer loss, their win over Iowa is just as impressive as any on UGA's resume so far, and it's not like the Lions' only loss of the season (a 27-11 defeat to Alabama) isn't entirely understandable.
SEC Poll Reactions, Week 7
Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:39 am