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nw____ Ballot for 2023 Week 3

Ballot Type: Human

Submitted: Sept. 10, 2023, 11:35 a.m.

Overall Rationale: I've got to be honest, I consider a lot of things but am not incredibly consistent. I would like to say there is a clear-cut method--and I could write something explaining that method--but I'm really just going off of vibes and my gut. I put a lot of thought into these, though, and stand by my rankings. I am happy to admit when I'm wrong. Since it is just week 2, I am certainly wrong about a lot of these teams.

Rank Team Reason
1 Georgia Bulldogs I tend to rank based on a team's season resume, but it is hard not to give a benefit of the doubt to the 2x defending champs.
2 Florida State Seminoles Best resume, imo, combined with a top 5 QB, great offensive line, great skill position players, great defensive line... hard to knock them.
3 Michigan Wolverines If ties existed, they'd be tied with Penn State. I see the potential of Allar but still trust McCarthy a bit more, plus I'd give the edge to both of Michigan's lines. Really the only reason I hesitate to put them over Penn State is that it feels like they should be winning by bigger margins, but that seems kind of silly.
4 Penn State Nittany Lions Pretty much summed up above.
5 Washington Huskies Hard to find many flaws with this team. I think Penix is a top 3 QB.
6 Texas Longhorns Second best resume, imo. I don't want to take anything away from Texas, but Alabama doesn't have a QB right now. What if Alabama is just good this season? What if they're just ok? I'm just not sure whether the Texas-Bama game was a battle of two top 6-7 teams or a battle of two top 15-20 teams. All said, part of the reason Texas isn't higher is because I trust Penix more than Ewers, too... and because I don't want to fall for the "Texas is Back" thing just yet. It's wrong, it's unfair, but I want to see them win a few more of the games they're supposed to win before I get too carried away. This team's problem has never been talent, it's been consistency. Top-5 teams should be consistent (though, at some point, the team's record is the team's record and I'll eventually start rewarding teams for finding creative ways to win, so I'm really just a skeptical hypocrite).
7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Neck and neck with Texas. NC State is a really good team--I actually think they're underrated this year.
8 Oregon Ducks I am a little concerned that they didn't manhandle Texas Tech any more than they did, but a win is a win-- and Lubbock is a strange place to play.
9 USC Trojans Hard to take much away from the game against Stanford other than that the offense was, as it always is, very impressive. I thought Stanford would score a few more points, so credit to the defense I guess. Waiting to see what they look like against a better opponent.
10 Utah Utes I was tempted to move them even further down. They shouldn't have struggled against Baylor's backup QB, even if Utah is also using their backup QB. I think they did what they needed to, though--i.e., survive until Rising can come back. I will likely move them up if he looks anything like I expect he will.
11 Ohio State Buckeyes Weirdly slow start against Akron. Marvin Harrison Jr. is insane. Waiting to see more from the QBs, though. Looking like it'll be McCord but I want to see him prove he can handle a better opponent.
12 Kansas State Wildcats Troy is not a bad team, but you wouldn't have known that from this game.
13 Tennessee Volunteers I did not watch this game, but you'd expect the offense to score more points against Austin-Peay.
14 Duke Blue Devils I also did not watch Duke v. Lafayette, but it sure seems like they did what they needed to.
15 North Carolina Tar Heels Hard to penalize them for going to 2OT against App State (a really good team). If anything, credit to UNC for holding them under 60 like last year. They found a way to win a different ball game, which is something.
16 Alabama Crimson Tide I've got questions. How good can this team really be if they don't have a QB *and* don't seem to be able to push people around?
17 Miami Hurricanes Probably slightly overreacting here, but I really thought A&M would win by about 10-13. I am intrigued.
18 UCLA Bruins Dante Moore might be that guy. Here, too, I am intrigued.
19 Oregon State Beavers Maybe this is just a better offense for DJU. I will be keeping my eye on them.
20 Washington State Cougars I am impressed. I thought they'd be above average, like a top 70-ish team. It may be too soon into Luke Fickell's tenure to use Wisconsin as much of a benchmark, but I think it was a really good win. This is another team with which I am intrigued (the PAC-12 is loaded, btw).
21 Iowa Hawkeyes They did not look that good but it is hard to doubt them too much. With some teams, I want them to prove it before I rank them super high. With Iowa, I want them to prove they *don't* belong in the top-25.
22 Cincinnati Bearcats I expected this team to be bad. They might not be bad! I was kind of high on Pitt this year (and still am), so I really didn't see Cincinnati pulling this one off. Maybe Emory Jones just needed (another) change of scenery?
23 Ole Miss Rebels I have doubts. I have resisted ranking them up to this point. They seem to be set on proving me wrong, though--and I might be. I did not expect them to handle Tulane the way that they did.
24 UCF Knights I have major QB questions but, so far, Plumlee has been enough. This is another team for which I may need to recalibrate my expectations.
25 LSU Tigers They are here because the roster is too good for them not to be, but I am going to have to see them prove it on the field to keep them here--and certainly before I move them up.

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