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College Football Notebook
Monday, October 6, 2008

By Denny O'Brien

Consistency carries the vote

By Denny O'Brien
All Rights Reserved.

Harris Poll

For the third year in a row, Denny O'Brien is a member of the voting panel for the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, commissioned by the Bowl Championship Series. As a service to readers of this site, O'Brien's ballot will be published in this space each Monday throughout the season.

The Harris Poll is a component of the BCS Standings. This season's first Harris poll will be released on Sept. 28. The first 2008 BCS Standings, which also take into account the USA Today Coaches Poll and an average of six computer service rankings, will be released on Oct. 19.

A senior columnist for, Bonesville Magazine and The Pirates' Chest, O'Brien was nominated to the Harris Poll panel by Conference USA. View a list of the Harris Poll panel members on this week's national polls page.

Denny O'Brien's Harris Poll Ballot

(Ballot cast 10.05.08)

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Alabama
  3. Missouri
  4. LSU
  5. Texas
  6. Penn State
  7. Texas Tech
  8. Brigham Young:
  9. Southern Cal
10. Georgia
11. Florida:
12. Ohio State
13. Oklahoma State
14. Vanderbilt
15. Utah
16. Boise State
17. Pittsburgh
18. South Florida
19. Kansas
20. Virginia Tech
21. Kentucky
22. North Carolina
23. Tulsa
24. Ball State
25. Michigan State

Out: Auburn, Oregon, Wisconsin, Fresno State, Maryland

In: Pitt (17), Kentucky (21), Tulsa (23), Ball State (24), Michigan State (25)

Almost in: Wake Forest, California, TCU, Georgia Tech

View this Week's Complete Harris, AP & Coaches Polls



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Harris Poll ballot blog:

  1. Oklahoma: Consistency counts for a lot on my ballot, and the Sooners are the portrait of that. Oklahoma has routed everyone in its path, setting up Game of the Year II with its upcoming match-up with rival Texas next week. Hopefully it will exceed that USC-Ohio State dud.

  2. Alabama: The Tide slides down a notch for its lackluster performance against Kentucky. ‘Bama also loses style points for winning a squeaker – and looking unimpressive doing so – at home. Still, the complete body of work to date keeps it firmly in the Top 2.

  3. Missouri: The Tigers didn’t beat your father’s Nebraska, but the Huskers are still an improved bunch. Winning in Lincoln means something again, and Mizzou did so in convincing fashion.

  4. LSU: No Matt Flynn, Jacob Hester, Glenn Dorsey, or Ryan Perrilloux. No problem for these Tigers, who start a Harvard transfer under center. LSU faces its biggest test next week in the Swamp.

  5. Texas: Vince who? The Horns are looking just fine with Colt McCoy under center. The Red River Rivalry is shaping up to be a barnburner this year, with the winner in the driver’s seat for a national title game appearance.

  6. Penn State: Suddenly Joe Poe looks like he could coach well into his 90s. The spread offense is a departure from tradition, but it sure looks good in State College. The Nittany Lions haven’t been seriously challenged yet, but that could come next week at angry Wisconsin, where the Badgers will be eager to start a new streak at Camp Randall.

  7. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have improved defensively, but their best defense is still their offense. Quarterback Graham Harrell continues to produce Xbox numbers, and through five games is already halfway to 4,000 yards passing. Tech probably won’t be challenged until late October when it visits Kansas.

  8. Brigham Young: The Cougars own the nation’s longest winning streak and are the frontrunners to crash the BCS party. Only TCU and Utah stand in their way. The Coogs have the most balance out of the non-BCS bunch, and are built to handle shootouts and defensive struggles.

  9. Southern Cal: The Men of Troy are the nation’s best team, yet annually forget that you have to prove it on a weekly basis. The Trojans have a lot of work to do to climb back into the national title picture, and will need a lot of help from those ahead of them. Don’t be surprised if they make it back.

  10. Georgia: Think the Bulldogs will call another Black Out? Certainly not the next time Alabama comes to town. The big question is how the Dawgs will respond from the Tide’s roll through Athens, and the schedule ahead won’t ease that anxiety.

  11. Florida: The Gators bounced back from their loss to Ole Miss and host the nation’s second best game of the week next Saturday. LSU isn’t as good as last year’s bunch, but has been playing more consistent. But the Gators by far will pose the biggest test to date.

  12. Ohio State: The Buckeyes have too many to jump to make it back to the national title game – the cheers for that are deafening – but you can’t count them out of the Rose Bowl picture. That much could be decided on October 25 when Penn State visits the Horseshoe.

  13. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are fighting for significance in their own state, and starting to make some progress. Mike Gundy is now 41 – still a man, mind you – and has Okie State shooting for the Top 10. If the Cowboys can gun down Mizzou next week, they’ll probably make it.

  14. Vanderbilt: Seriously. Vandy? The Commodores hosted ESPN’s College Gameday and didn’t disappoint with their victory over Auburn. Vandy’s emergence has strengthened the Southeastern Conference even more. As if it needed to be stronger.

  15. Utah: The annual Holy War doesn’t get the publicity of most rivalry games, but this year’s edition looks worthy of a primetime network television event. The Utes, behind quarterback Brian Johnson, are priming themselves for a BCS run.

  16. Boise State: They simply reload on the Smurf Turf. The Broncos are legitimately one of the Top 25 programs in the country, and this could be their best team yet. Winning at Oregon is never easy, but Boise made it look that way.

  17. Pittsburgh: The Panthers were the trendy pick to win the Big East in the preseason, but stumbled in their season opener. They’ve slowly clawed their way back into the drivers’ seat of the BCS’s worst league. If defense wins championships, Pitt has to be the league frontrunner.

  18. South Florida: How quickly they can fall. Last week the Bulls were in the Top 10, but couldn’t handle Pittsburgh at home. USF can still win the Big East but needs someone to knock off the Panthers.

  19. Kansas: The Jayhawks didn’t start well against Iowa State, but they did piece together an impressive comeback. The schedule doesn’t set up near as nicely as it did for Kansas last year, and staying in the polls will be quite an accomplishment for Mark Mangino’s bunch.

  20. Virginia Tech: The Hokies have righted the ship with Tyrod Taylor under center as the young defense continues to improve. Tech could easily win out against its weak remaining schedule and return to the ACC title game again.

  21. Kentucky: It’s rare for a team to go unranked on a ballot one week, and then jump onto it following a loss. But that’s exactly what the Wildcats did in my poll this week. If Alabama is the nation’s second ranked team – and I think it deserves to be – then I don’t see how Kentucky isn’t one of the 25 best. It wasn’t a moral victory, but nearly beating the Tide in Tuscaloosa counts for something here.

  22. North Carolina: A few weeks ago, the Tar Heels were a punch line after barely escaping McNeese State. Now the Heels can firmly claim themselves the best in their state. The most daunting task awaiting North Carolina might not be any of the games remaining on its schedule. Keeping Butch Davis from the clutches of Tennessee won’t be easy.

  23. Tulsa: Tulsa’s defense couldn’t stop the Oklahoma high school state champions. But in the Land of Misfit Defenses -- Conference USA -- it doesn’t have to. There isn’t a defense in C-USA that can weather the Golden Hurricane and quarterback David Johnson. This has the look of a team that will run the table – and get left behind by BYU or Utah in the BCS sweepstakes.

  24. Ball State: If only the Cardinals and Tulsa could join the Mountain West Conference this season. That would make for one solid league. The Lettermen have yet to be challenged this season and probably won’t be in the weak MAC.

  25. Michigan State: The addition of the Spartans to the rankings brings some actual legitimacy to the Big Ten as a whole. Michigan State hasn’t been overly impressive so far, but at least it continues to win.

Out: Auburn, Oregon, Wisconsin, Fresno State, Maryland

In: Pitt (17), Kentucky (21), Tulsa (23), Ball State (24), Michigan State (25)

Almost in: Wake Forest, California, TCU, Georgia Tech

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10/06/2008 03:24:41 AM

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