Saturday night on Twitter some Virginia Tech faithful wondered if their favorite football team might crack the top 10 Sunday. The No. 15 Hokies had just won their fourth consecutive game, while four teams ahead of them in the polls had stumbled.
Well, Tech (8-1) didn’t come close on my Associated Press ballot. I voted the Hokies 14th, one spot higher than I did last week, following their uninspiring 14-10 escape at Duke.
That was the fewest points scored by a Division I-A opponent against the Blue Devils in more than two years – Maryland managed 13 in 2009. And we’re talking about a Duke squad that lost its opener, at home, to I-AA Richmond, presently 0-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association.
So of the four teams ahead of Tech that lost – Clemson, Michigan State, Kansas State and Wisconsin – I elevated the Hokies above the latter two. But I nudged unbeaten Houston, which I had 17th last week, ahead of Tech.
Michigan State (6-2) may irk some Hokies fans, but the Spartans have two wins, at Michigan and home against Wisconsin, that I consider better than any of Tech’s.
Never did I consider voting Tech ahead of Clemson. They have the same record, and the Tigers dusted the Hokies 23-3 in Blacksburg earlier this month. Moreover, Clemson has three wins – Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech – that are more impressive than the Hokies’ best, over Wake Forest and Miami.
Yet the coaches’ poll has Tech No. 11 and Clemson No. 12. And to think, that poll helps determine which teams play for the BCS title.
At least my fellow hacks got it right. The AP poll has Clemson 11, Tech 12.
Here’s a link to the poll.
And here’s my ballot:
1. LSU (8-0): Trust Les Miles has a crisp, new lid for Saturday night’s showdown at Alabama.
2. Alabama (8-0): Appears Nick Saban chose wisely in awarding the quarterback job to A.J. McCarron.
3. Oklahoma State (8-0): The Cowboys toyed with Baylor 59-24 and may do same with Kansas State.
7. Arkansas (7-1): The Razorbacks barely survived Vanderbilt (31-28) and its quarterback, Jordan Rodgers, brother of Aaron. They host South Carolina this week.
8. Oklahoma (7-1): Previously unbeaten Kansas State may never recover from Saturday’s 58-17 thrashing and Landry Jones’ school-record 505 passing yards. The Sooners could post similar numbers against defenseless Texas A&M.
9. Clemson (8-1): Georgia Tech exposed the Tigers’ defense, and quarterback Tajh Boyd finally played like the first-year starter he is in a 31-17 loss Saturday. Clemson has two weeks to ponder before hosting Wake Forest on Nov. 12.
11. South Carolina (7-1): Freshman Branden Wilds started for the first time in place of injured Marcus Lattimore on Saturday, rushing for 137 yards in a 14-3 win at Tennessee. Can he do same against the Pig Snouts?
12. Houston (8-0): Case Keenum threw nine touchdown passes in a 73-34 rout of Rice. This week’s opponent, UAB, is worse than Rice.
13. Michigan State (6-2): The Spartans should not lose again this regular season, starting with Minnesota.
14. Virginia Tech (8-1): The Hokies have five extra days to prepare for their Nov. 10 Thursday nighter at Georgia Tech. Logan Thomas needs to be much sharper than he was against Duke.
16. Penn State (8-1): Saturday’s 10-7 taffy-pull over Illinois gives the Nittany Lions a 2.5-game cushion in their Big Ten division. But can they survive a closing gauntlet that starts Nov. 12 against Nebraska, followed by Ohio State and Wisconsin?
17. Wisconsin (6-2): Worst Hail Mary defense ever. The Badgers prep for Purdue after losing 33-29 to Ohio State on a late heave.
18. Kansas State (7-1): Has an unbeaten this late in the season ever gone down by 41? At home? And if the Wildcats thought Oklahoma was a load to defend, wait ‘til they see Oklahoma State.
20. Georgia (6-2): Saturday’s 24-20 win over Florida was Dawgs’ sixth straight since 0-2 start. Breather this week against New Mexico State.
21. USC (6-2): Lane Kiffin would have earned a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame had the Trojans upset Stanford. They’ll get healthy Friday at Colorado.
22. Auburn (6-3): The Tigers enter their bye week after a routine 41-23 win over Mississippi. They play at Georgia on Nov. 12.
23. Georgia Tech (7-2): The Yellow Jackets’ upset of Clemson gives Virginia Tech plenty to think about.
24. Cincinnati (6-1): A road game at Pittsburgh follows last week’s open date.
In: Georgia Tech, Cincinnati, West Virginia.
Out: Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas A&M.
I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP