Let's make with the news items first.
-- Suspensions are fun! Both Mike London and Tony Bennett announced 'em this week, with three on the football side and Teven Jones on the hoops end of things. Tomorrow's ITA piece will address the point guard situation in more depth, so I'll hold off on that. Football-wise, LoVante' Battle and Jeremiah Mathis won't be missed too badly. Battle hardly ever plays and Mathis's snaps are easily absorbed by the other three tight ends (mainly Freedman and Phillips since McGee is halfway a wide receiver.) The third is Henry Coley, and London implied that might not just be a one-week deal. It really does make you shake your head when a guy has a good thing going and screws it up, but what this means now is that Daquan Romero will start and Demeitre Brim will back him up. And if you want to know the truth, it's a painful loss; Coley is well ahead of Romero in terms of knowing the defense.
-- This is a bit of a fluff piece which basically boils down to "transfers made it so Tony Bennett had to re-recruit a whole new team and they're really young) but there's some quality refreshing honesty out of Joe Harris to be found. One key quote: "'Part of the problem with my class is we didn't really do anything,' Harris
said. 'We kind of kept to ourselves. (Now) I make a point of going and meeting
up with the freshmen, trying to take them out to eat and stuff. If somebody's
had a rough practice I try to meet with them on the side.'" This must be why Tony likes having veteran leaders.
-- Here's one of those things that I saw, totally meant to mention, and then forgot. So Richmond hiring a head coach for their lacrosse team (a Loyola assistant) is the perfect opportunity to mention that they, uh, will have a lacrosse team. It's disappointing the way they went about doing it - rather than add women's lax as well to keep up with the Title IX Joneses, they cut other men's sports, notably soccer. But it'll at least keep things interesting in the lacrosse world, since what it means for us is a third team in the state of Virginia, starting 2014. Does that mean we play VMI less? I guess we'll see.
-- I just like that Jeff White called Justin Anderson "irrepressible." I think that word doesn't get used enough. But I also think this sort of thing, besides the fact that Anderson's an athletic freak, is one thing that's going to get him a decent amount of playing time.
-- The difference between #4 and #5 is sizable. Notre Dame is #1 by a decent margin considering the sizes of margins in that part of the ballot, but right now I think you could toss Notre Dame, KSU, and Alabama up in the air and whichever two come down first, I'm OK with. Florida isn't far behind. Oregon is. The fact that the computers are the reason Oregon is #4 in the BCS standings and all the human polls put the Ducks #2 is a big strike in favor of turning this stuff over to the computers. Notre Dame's second-worst win is over 5-4 BYU. There ain't a single weak point on their resume, unless you think a three-point win over Purdue is a weak point, to which I counter that that game is going up against a whole bunch of losses and wins over teams like Tennessee Tech in my comparisons.
-- Two instances of placing a team below a team they beat jump out at me. One is in the SEC, where four of the top six teams are a jumbly mess, and A&M ended up ahead of three of them. (There may be a need to apply a slight correction, but I left it for now.) In that case I just don't worry about the head-to-heads, and let the rest of the resume do the talking. LSU, in this case, has two huge anchors on their resume in a two-point win over Auburn and an ugly one over Towson. That's hurting them, because they're a in a cluster of really close teams. (And part of the reason I justified leaving A&M above LSU, even though A&M lost that game, is that A&M did to Auburn what you're supposed to do to a 1-7 team.)
Also, I'm well aware that Oklahoma handled Texas Tech, but Oklahoma has a slight problem in that their third-best win is over Kansas (which is to say the full body of work still isn't strong) and also they're being punished for having two byes.
-- Oregon State didn't drop despite losing a bad one because Arizona went from being kind of OK to completely awesome. And yes, 11th seems like a weird place for Arizona to debut, but the top end of their resume is crazy good. (I look with perhaps more favor than others do on their win over 8-1 Toledo.) If Zona hadn't blown leads to Oregon State and Stanford - two ranked teams that'd still be ranked if they'd lost to the Wildcats - they'd be comfortably in the top ten with a lot of margin for error.
This week's pool of eligible teams swelled to 40 with the appearances of Arizona, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, and the re-emergence of Iowa State. However, 6-4 (or 5-4) won't be good enough for next week's inclusion, which puts four top-25 and six more eligible teams at risk of dropping out, at least temporarily.
It's also worth a mention that Penn State's loss to UVA is costing them about two or three spots here, possibly more. As it is, however, our struggles have helped drag PSU in an earthwards direction; in fact, when I racked and stacked the games this week, Penn State's 17-16 loss to the 2-6 Hoos is the second-worst game of all 360 (minus however many byes) that were considered. Only UCLA's blowout loss to 3-6 California is worse.
Yes, I'm shoveling Senior Seasons off til tomorrow again. This week has brought forth a particularly obnoxious grad school assignment and it's sort of time-consuming.