on my prognosticating performance to date, I should let
the readers pick the games by consensus... because whenever
you voice disagreement on my picks, you end up correct.
Ah, but that's another subject. What I really want to
talk about now is my first Top 10 poll of 2003. Please
bear in mind as you review my rankings each week that
my system is based not on my perception of how good teams
are, but where they deserve to be ranked based on their
performance to date. Win-loss record, among Division
I teams, always takes first priority. My rankings are
for the purposes of determining my eventual national
champion, NOT just power ratings. For instance, Air Force
is ranked above Michigan... because the Falcons are unbeaten
and the Wolverines have a loss, NOT because I believe
the Falcons are a better team.
OK, here goes...
Bob's Top 10
||The Sooners get the nod because of the nation's
best balance of offense, defense and special teams.
||The scare against Florida can be attributed to
the rivalry thing. Again, the 'Canes are real good.
||A defense that ranks with the nation's best, and
explosiveness on offense as well.
||OHIO STATE (4-0)
||Sure, the Buckeyes haven't been dominant. That's
why I have them 4th rather than 1st or 2nd.
||VIRGINIA TECH (3-0)
||Very much in the tradition of the last several
Hokie clubs... great balance.
||FLORIDA STATE (4-0)
||Still some big tests ahead of the Seminoles, but
so far so good.
||I'm impressed with the win over Texas, and a tough
survival effort at Alabama.
||Still not much offensive oomph, but the defense
is bigtime Big Red.
||Had them rated higher before needing OT at home
to beat South Carolina.
||AIR FORCE (4-0)
||The Falcons are perennial early-season power. Winning
at BYU a feat, even this year.
|Also considered: Louisville (3-0),
Minnesota (4-0), Northern Illinois (4-0), TCU (4-0).
2003 PREDICTION RECORDS:
Straight-Up -- 23-15 (60%)
Against-The-Spread -- 17-21 (45%)
LAST WEEK: 3-4 Straight-Up, 2-5 Against-The-Spread
Week 6 Schedule (the top games of the week)
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2
No. 2 Miami 34, West Virginia (+27) 14 -- Before the
Hurricanes' 45-3 romp two years ago, WVU had covered
ATS four straight at Miami. With a road date at Florida
State next week, Miami might just get caught looking
past the 1-3 Mountaineers.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4
Auburn 24, No. 9 Tennessee 21 -- The Tigers/War Eagles
(I still haven't figured that out yet) have got it
together, albeit against weak opposition, outscoring
their last two foes a combined 93-10. The Vols are
4-0... barely. Auburn is eager to prove the preseason
hype it received wasn't misguided -- a win in this
one puts AU back on the map.
Michigan (-2 1/2) 27, at Iowa 20 -- The stats point
strongly to Iowa here -- the Hawkeyes are 6-1 ATS in
their last seven against Michigan despite losing six
of those seven straight-up -- but the spread is usually
larger than it is this season, and the Wolverines are
North Carolina State (-6 1/2) 41, at Georgia Tech
20 -- I considered an upset pick here, but I just can't
get myself to go with a squad that lost by 36 points
at home to Clemson just two weeks ago. NC State is as
explosive offensively as just about any program in the
country -- Tech won't be able to keep up.
Texas (-6) 31, Kansas State 16 -- Pardon me for the
simplistic view, but no way a team with an offense like
the Longhorns' loses a second time at home in less than
Fresno State (+6 1/2) 31, at Colorado State 30 -- My
upset special for the week, because the Bulldogs are
4-0 ATS this season and the Rams, losers of two straight,
USC 28, at Arizona State (+11) 19 -- Before the start
of the season, I said USC would be hurt by graduation
and drop back a notch or two. Then the Trojans got out
of the gate like gangbusters, and some considered them
the best team in the country. So for me, the loss at
Cal isn't a surprise (although I expected a lower-scoring
game). The Trojans should bounce back, but winning at
Tempe, Ariz. is rarely easy.