Here we go again: USF or UF higher?
So just how far will USF fall when a new week's polls and BCS standings are released today? I think the computers will be kinder to the Bulls than the "human polls" -- even with three other top 10 teams falling, two to unranked teams, voters will have a tough call as to whether to keep USF in the top 10.
To me, it's hard to see USF higher than seventh on most ballots -- I figure the top of most rankings will be some permutation of Ohio State, Boston College, Oklahoma, LSU, Oregon, Virginia Tech and Arizona State. That leaves two questions: Do you still keep USF ahead of West Virginia -- which arguably should be sixth -- because of the head-to-head win? And how do you value a one-loss Bulls team as compared to a one-loss USC, or a two-loss Florida team that just got a road win against the team that knocked off No. 1 LSU on the road last week?
I think West Virginia slides ahead of the Bulls. Seems counterintuitive, but nationally, I think people will see West Virginia as the Big East team most likely to win out, and view their loss to USF as a close game on the road. And because USC is coming off a 38-point win (even against a bad, bad Notre Dame team) I think voters will see USF and USC with the same record and go with the Trojans, even though that Stanford loss is a much larger blemish than losing by three at Rutgers (which will now be ranked again).
With Florida getting a big road win at Kentucky, you have the same argument we had a few weeks ago: can the Gators be ahead of a USF team that has one fewer loss? Again, USF can cite the Auburn Corollary: the Bulls beat the team that handed the Gators their first loss. If Florida isn't already ahead of the Bulls, the Gators have games at Georgia and South Carolina in the next three weeks; win both of those, they'll be ahead.
I think Kansas and Hawaii are still nationally in the not-taken-seriously department, out of the top 10 despite their unbeaten record. Arizona State probably needs more chaos at the top of the polls to get past elite one-loss teams like LSU and Oklahoma. That leaves Ohio State and Boston College with a lot of pressure as the only unbeatens that truly control their destiny with the national title game.
Thoughts? Offer up your best guesses -- again, it's not so much where you think USF should be ranked, but where you think USF will be ranked. Your own opinion is just that; I'm looking for your reasonable expectation of where the national voters will put the Bulls this afternoon.
My guess, right now? USF is No. 11 in the AP, No. 12 in the coaches poll, and still hanging in the top 10 in the BCS.