Four games in, here's my resume ranking (meaning: not a power poll) of the sport's top 25.
My next five: Temple, Florida State, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Missouri.
Remember, I'm resume polling, so I don't care if your favorite Big 10+1+1 team is projected to challenge the Buckeyes for the title. What matters to me is wins and losses already in the bag, so if your ESPN-annointed squad only has beaten UNLV, San Jose State, a 2A team, and needed the luck of St. Vincent to beat Arizona State, that's just not a "Rank me! Highly!" resume.
My three rules are these: Rule #1: I make exceptions to all of the following rules, as I see fit, except for Rule #2. Rule #2: for at least one week, the winner of a game must outrank the loser of the same game. Rule #3A: We cannot measure a team’s quality until it beats a quality opponent. (I understand that the "quality opponent" is subjective, and I’ve gotten over it. So should you.) Rule #3B: Beating a 2A team is usually a meaningless exercise.
So my big movers in this week's ballot were Boise State, TCU, Stanford, NC State, going up, and Utah, Nebraska, Texas, and South Carolina, going down. Boise showed more of what we all are learning to live with-- they're simply outstanding in all phases, including kick-you-in-the-nuts meanness. Given the vulnerability shown by most of the other contenders, I would pick Boise over any other team in the nation in a this-weekend matchup for all the marbles.
TCU, Stanford, and NC State are all showing domination on the road in emotional games, in sharp contrast with the big losers in my week 5 ballot. The first of which is: Texas, which wilted at home against UCLA's new pistol offense. Granted, there's no love lost from me for Texas in its 22-place fall on my ballot; but the Longhorn's best win (the roadie in Lubbock) is almost completely negated by the loss in Austin. South Carolina, which fought manfully on the road against Auburn, now boasts Southern Miss as its best scalp on the wall. (Sorry, SEC and ESPN, but Georgia just isn't a quality win anymore.)
A few more one-loss teams appear on my ballot this week: Air Force, Arkansas, and Toledo. The Falcons followed up their emotional what-if in Norman last week with a suffocating (but not flashy) win in Laramie; Arkansas's near-miss is well documented; and Toledo (with a lot of help from injuries) added Purdue to its resume, having already beaten two of the best teams in the MAC.
Final notes: Nebraska and Oregon get a no-confidence ranking from me this week, coming it at 17th and 20th, respectively. Both are still undefeated, but both narrowly won in games each ought to have won by very large margins. The Huskers' best win is still Idaho, which may not even be a bowl team this year, and Oregon's best skins on the wall are from the dregs of the SEC and the Pac 10. Not a championship resume, Ducks, especially compared to what Arizona, Stanford, and USC have done to date.