One man’s Harris Poll ballot and how I came to these conclusions:
1. Notre Dame (12-0)… Only undefeated, bowl-eligible team in the nation. The Fighting Irish's signature play is the goal-line stand.
2. Alabama (11-1)… Had Georgia ahead of the Crimson Tide a week ago, but I flip-flopped them this week. Not that it matters due to next Saturday’s game.
3. Georgia (11-1)… If you’re going to use an REM song for your NCAA promo ad, may we suggest “Pretty Persuasion?" Or how about “Near Wild Heaven?”
4. Florida (11-1)… We could see someone putting Oregon here instead, but the Gators just defeated another top 15 caliber team while the Ducks have yet to beat any.
5. Oregon (11-1)… Impressive Civil War win on a Saturday in Corvallis when the Ducks had every reason to be on hangover alert.
6. LSU (10-2)… Yes, the Tigers have two losses, but both were close and both schools are ranked in the top five. If you think Kansas State belongs in this spot, we won’t argue too vehemently. We just think the Wildcats whiffed mightily in Waco.
7. Texas A&M (10-2)… Knocked out the nation’s No. 1 team on its own turf and its only two losses were to schools in the top six.
8. Stanford (10-2)… Gave Notre Dame all it could handle in South Bend – if only Kevin Hogan had been the quarterback then – and made the classic mistake of playing a Thursday night ESPN road game as the overdog.
9. South Carolina (10-2)… Gamecocks destroyed possible national championship game participant Georgia and secured a win versus Clemson yesterday.
10. Kansas State (10-1)… Perhaps we dumped Collin Klein and company too far. The Cats still can show us something next Saturday versus Texas.
11. Oklahoma (9-2)… Sooners allow 48 but win in Bedlam. In retrospect I probably should have dropped them below Florida State.
12. Florida State (10-2)… Never allow 24 straight points at home, in the fourth quarter, to your in-state rival. That’s like, the second-most important rule after never playing a Thursday night ESPN road game as the overdog.
13. Nebraska (10-2)… Huskers’ 13-7 win over Iowa not that impressive, but a 10-2 season, especially when Rex Burkhead missed five of those games, is.
14. Clemson (10-2)… The Tigers lost to the only two real teams that they played this season.
15. Oregon State (8-3)… Beavers will finish 9-3 with a solid wins versus Wisconsin and UCLA. Two of three losses came by a total of seven points.
16. Northwestern (9-3)… What might have been. Wildcats lost all three games in final eight minutes. In all three they had double-digit leads in second half.
17. Northern Illinois (11-1)… Lost by one point at Iowa in season opener. Jordan Lynch is the non-AQ Johnny Manziel.
18. TCU (7-4)… Not in AP poll, but I like the job Gary Patterson has done with a backup QB.
19. UCLA (9-3)… Bruins can jump up, earn Rose Bowl berth next week with a victory in Pac-12 title game.
20. Boise State (9-2)… Two losses is an off year for the Broncos.
21. Michigan (8-4)… A flawed but flashy offense and a terrific defense. Three losses were to teams that are either undefeated or were No. 1.
22. Louisville (10-2)… Losers of two in a row to unranked teams.
23. Utah State (10-2)… Aggies beat the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense in La. Tech and have two losses by a total of five points at Wisconsin and BYU.
24. Texas (8-3)… Longhorns have eight wins, but how come all of us can only seem to remember the three losses?
25. Kent State (11-1)… It’s arbitrary, but I’d rather reward a one-loss MAC team whose lone loss was to an SEC school (albeit a horrible one) than reward an AQ school that went 8-4.