This week I’m out on an island.
OK, yeah, that’s true every week; I live on Oahu. So unless I’m traveling or swimming in the ocean, I’m literally always on an island. But this week I’m on one figuratively, too, when it comes to the Associated Press College Football Poll.
Clemson had received my first place vote from the preseason up until this week. After Georgia beat Notre Dame 23-17, I pulled the trigger after some thought and put the Bulldogs into the No. 1 spot.
Was I having some kind of flashback to New Year’s 2008, and Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno tearing apart Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl? No … not even hallucinations of Herschel Walker doing his thing back in the day. My eyes are on efficient Jake Fromm, electric D’Andre Swift and that stifling defense of the current Dawgs.
And that brings us to the main point, and one of the guidelines AP gives us for voting: “Base your vote on performance, not reputation.”
This of course is impossible in the preseason poll — and difficult in the early weeks of the season, when many of the most talented teams have not yet been tested by other ranked teams.
But — if we are truly to go by performance — my Georgia pick is solid. The Bulldogs are 4-0, as are a dozen or so other teams. But the difference is Georgia has the best win of the season so far: The above-mentioned victory over Notre Dame, which was ranked No. 7 heading into the weekend.
Clemson beat Texas A&M earlier this month, but the Aggies were ranked 12th and have since lost again. Auburn’s win a couple of weeks ago over then-No. 11 Oregon was close, too. But, in this case, Sept. 7, is ancient history.
This is one situation where what-have-you-done-for-me-lately does matter. The most recent wins against ranked teams matter a lot more, because the rankings they have now are based more on performance — those of early September were still based a lot on the meaningless preseason poll.
Here is a breakdown of what the three teams to have received No. 1 votes have done so far this season. All three are 4-0.
Georgia’s victories: 30-6, at Vanderbilt; 63-17 vs. Murray State; 55-0 vs. Arkansas State; 23-17 vs. No. 10 Notre Dame.
Clemson’s victories: 52-14 vs. Georgia Tech; 24-10 vs. No. 23 Texas A&M; 41-6 vs. Syracuse; 52-10 vs. Charlotte.
Alabama’s victories: 42-3 vs. Duke; 62-10 vs. New Mexico State; 47-23 vs. South Carolina; 49-7 vs. Southern Miss.
By the way, someone who actually gets paid to coach college football, not just watch it, also voted Georgia as No. 1 this week — in the Amway Coaches Poll. (Hawaii got one 25th-place vote in the coaches’ poll after its win over Central Arkansas on Saturday.)
And, no, UH’s Nick Rolovich is not on the Amway voting panel. So whoever that coach is who voted for Georgia is only figuratively on the island with me, not literally.
Here’s the entire AP poll, followed by my ballot (first-place votes and last week’s ranking for team’s that moved in parentheses):
1. Clemson (55 first-place votes)
2. Alabama (6 first-place votes)
3. Georgia (1 first-place vote)
5. Ohio State (6th)
6. Oklahoma (5th)
7. Auburn (8th)
8. Wisconsin (T13th)
10. Notre Dame (7th)
11. Texas (12th)
12. Penn State (13th)
13. Oregon (16th)
14. Iowa (18th)
15. California (23rd)
16. Boise State (20th)
17. Washington (22nd)
18. Virginia (21st)
19. Utah (10th)
20. Michigan (11th)
21. USC (NR)
22. UCF (15th)
23. Texas A&M (17th)
24. Kansas State (NR)
25. Michigan State (NR)
Also receiving votes: Wake Forest, Oklahoma State, Southern Methodist, Army, Memphis, Iowa State, Appalachian State, Washington State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Arizona State, Colorado, Minnesota, Tulane
Here’s the ballot I submitted:
1. Georgia (2nd last week)
2. Clemson (1st)
4. Ohio State (5th)
5. Oklahoma (4th)
9. Wisconsin (10th)
10. Texas (13th)
11. Oregon (16th)
12. Iowa (17th)
13. Penn State (18th)
14. Boise State (20th)
15. Notre Dame (9th)
16. Virginia (22nd)
17. Cal (23rd)
18. Wake Forest (NR)
19. Washington (25th)
20. Michigan State (NR)
21. Appalachian State (NR)
22. USC (NR)
23. Memphis (24th)
24. Texas A&M (12th)
25. Utah (14th)
Dropped out: Michigan (11th), UCF (15th), Washington State (19th), TCU (21st)