As expected, all schools ranked in this poll last week are gone and probably won't be back after several teams posted impressive victories. These rankings, based solely on performance this season, are not meant to resemble the Associated Press poll or the USA Today coaches' poll, both of which appear to reflect expectations and preseason hype as much as actual results. How else to explain why Oklahoma is several slots ahead of Derek Moore, above, and Texas Christian in the AP poll and that the Horned Frogs aren't even ranked in the coaches' poll?
Hopefully, as the season progresses, our poll and both the AP and coaches' polls will begin to mirror one another, putting the teams that have done the best at the top. Southern California could prove to be the nation's best team again, but the airplane flight to Honolulu was tougher for the Trojans than their rout of Hawaii last week. So they don't belong in the top five. Clemson nearly made this week's rankings by beating Texas A&M, but Virginia Tech got the nod because the Hokies won on the road.
This poll promises to change dramatically by the end of September because of a handful of critical matchups, including four that involve either Tennessee or Ohio State. The Vols still have road games at Florida and Louisiana State this month. And the Buckeyes host Texas tonight and Iowa in two weeks. Even if TCU goes unbeaten, its Mountain West Conference schedule likely won't be stiff enough for the Frogs to remain in the top three, much less at the top spot. Should Notre Dame beat Michigan today, expect Charlie Weis's team to vie for the No. 1 slot next week.