Auburn jumps Boise State in latest coaches poll

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Cameron Newton  of the Auburn Tigers celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the LSU Tigers with Byron Isom  at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I figured it was only a matter of time before Auburn jumped Boise State in the human polls. I just thought it would come after a win a little bigger than at Ole Miss — a team that is now 3-5 and lost at home to Jacksonville State.

But the latest USA Today/ESPN coaches poll is out, and there are the Tigers, 23 points ahead of Boise at No. 2.

I get it, Auburn has better credentials to this point in the season than Boise State does. It plays a tougher schedule, and is deserving of the No. 2 spot in the polls. (Side note: Saw Oregon for the second time live last night, and my god, the Ducks are good. I mean, I was impressed with the way they blitzed UCLA, but they made USC look slow last night. That’s crazy.)

What I don’t get is the timing. If you had Boise State No. 2 in your poll last week, what did the two teams do this week that made you change your mind? The Broncos were a little sloppy, and obviously not fully on their game on Tuesday, and still blew Louisiana Tech. To me, that’s the measure of a really good team, one that can still win handily while not at its best. Auburn, meanwhile, looked pretty slick in a 20-point win of its own against Ole Miss. Impressive, for sure, but not so impressive that you would think, “Wow, this is the performance that pushes Auburn to No. 2!”

Of course, I don’t know how important this jump really is. Boise needed Auburn and/or Oregon to lose anyway, and now that just becomes more evident. The Tigers and Ducks will still be Nos. 1 and 2 in the BCS standings when they’re released tonight, and the Broncos will continue to have to root against other teams for their own self interest.

A couple other notes from the poll: Missouri falls to No. 14 and Michigan State to No. 15 after some tough losses Saturday. Florida State fell from No. 15 to No. 24 after its loss Thursday. Of course, in the spirit of this always sane poll, that’s one spot in front of NC State, the team it just lost to. Which has the same record.

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Michigan State (and probably Missouri) come crashing back to earth

IOWA CITY, IA - OCTOBER 23- Quarterback Ricky Stanzi  of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes warms up before action against the Wisconsin Badgers at Kinnick Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Wisconsin won 31-30 over Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

Michigan State’s run at a dream season is over, and it was ended awfully abruptly by Iowa. The Spartans fell 37-6 to the Hawkeyes in a game that wasn’t even that close. If that’s even possible.

The perfect analogy for this game came in the first quarter, when Iowa ran an interception back for a touchdown. There was a Michigan State fan with her head down, banging on the wall, and possibly crying. It was a moment she was probably expecting at some point this season, because she realized that she’s a Michigan State fan, but it’s still incredibly hard to take when your team has started 8-0.

The Spartans were legit, don’t get me wrong. They beat up Michigan and Wisconsin. Sure, they had to squeak by Notre Dame (which just lost to Tulsa. Eek.) and Northwestern, but that happens during the course of the season. The big thing for the Spartans was that they were winning, and that’s all that mattered to a fanbase and program that doesn’t have a recent history of doing that. They can still come up with an amazing season, with three winnable games to close out the season. An 11-1 season could maybe still get them to a BCS bowl, which is huge.

Meanwhile, Missouri is looking at its first defeat of the season, as well in Nebraska. So that’s two of three unbeatens who have gone down already this week. Isn’t college football fun?

Oregon is USC’s title game, and other Week 9 college football picks

Oct 16, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) conducts teh band after the game against the California Golden Bears at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated California 48-14. Photo via Newscom

With the prospect of a bowl game or a Pac-10 championship taken away from it before the season even began, USC’s football program has had to look elsewhere for motivation.

After a lackluster showing in early-season matchups against Hawaii, Virginia and Minnesota, and a loss at home to Washington, many wondered if the Trojans really even cared. A last-second loss at Stanford and a blowout of California, however, has shown that not only do the Trojans care, but they’re still a pretty darn good football team.

There was attrition at the school this offseason when the NCAA instituted a two-year bowl ban and a reduction in scholarships, but it’s still USC. It’s still the same team that has been bringing in top five recruiting classes year after year, and putting more five stars on the bench than many teams have seeing the field.

So now nobody’s thinking of the Trojans, as they cannot be a part of the title discussion themselves. They can severely alter the landscape today, though, and I’d imagine they’ll be real excited to try and take advantage of that opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

Auburn, Michigan State and Missouri make moves in latest coaches poll

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Cameron Newton  of the Auburn Tigers is tackled by Brandon Taylor  of the LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The latest USA Today/ESPN coaches poll is out, and once again an upset near the top has forced some movement.

Oklahoma lost to Missouri in primetime, and tumbled from No. 3 to No. 11. That means there will be a new BCS No. 1 when the standings are released tonight. The most likely candidate is Oregon, which remained a very strong No. 1 in the poll, receiving 50 of the possible 58 first-place votes.

One team that could jump the Ducks with the computers’ help, however, is Auburn. The Tigers have the best resume with wins over LSU, Arkansas and South Carolina. They jumped over TCU from fifth to third after Saturday’s win against LSU, and I’d be surprised if the Harris Poll didn’t mirror the coaches. Because, well, Harris Poll voters are lemmings (and I really don’t have a problem with Auburn jumping to No. 3).

Michigan State moved into the top five with its squeaker against Northwestern. It’s a curious time to move a team ahead of Alabama, but it’s a big thing for the Spartans, who face their stiffest remaining test next week. A win over Iowa sets the Spartans up for an unbeaten season, and it would be tough for pollsters to move a one-loss team — even Alabama — over a major conference unbeaten. It would have been easier to keep Alabama ahead, if that makes any sense.

The poll’s biggest mover was Missouri, which catapulted to No. 8 from No. 16 after beating Oklahoma. The Tigers and Utah remain the only undefeated teams who are behind Alabama. The most surprising move of the week: Michigan moving back into the top 25 after a bye week. Apparently the voters not getting a chance to see Michigan’s defense allow 500-plus yards and 30-plus points was enough to bring back the just-lost-two-home-games-in-a-row Wolverines.

Big 12, Big Ten and SEC races should become more clear today

University of Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones drops back to pass against the University of Texas in the first half of their NCAA Big 12 football game played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, October 2, 2010.  REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

My wife essentially makes the schedule in our house. My job is to make sure I stay gainfully employed and just show up to the things she’s set up for us. It’s normally pretty easy and painless, to be honest. And since I’m a scatter-brain most of the time, I completely relinquish the scheduling.

But she messed up this weekend. Big time. We’re signed up for a wine tasting at 6 p.m. (EDT) today, which will be smack dab in the middle of some of the best college football finishes of the day. It also means I’ll be out of commission after 6 p.m. (never drink and blog kids, it never ends up well), so expect heavier blogging early in the day, and not much later. I’ll let you decide if that’s good or bad.

After the jump, I’ll dissect some of the great matchups of the day (there a couple of huge ones), and introduce a couple of new features for this morning forecast post. Read the rest of this entry »

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