Usually, the weekly Power Poll is irreverent and, on occasion, even funny. But it is a ranking, and it tries to be a somewhat accurate one -- I don't just stick Kentucky at the top to elicit some crazy reaction or anything like that. So when the picture gets a little blurry, one has to try to explain what is going on, and give the reader a glimpse into the bank of high-powered MIT computers, NASA flight planners on retainer, former coaches on the payroll, all designed to give the reader the most complete scientific analysis possible and....
OK, there is none of that either. There is just intuition, and a sense of trying to be fair about the thing, and a little dread at putting a power poll on a Tuscaloosa-based website and not having Alabama on top, even when you (a.) realize that there are valid arguments for Alabama staying in the top spot despite its loss to Texas A&M and (b.) when you think it is very probable that Alabama will be favored over, and defeat, the team you have ranked ahead of it, Georgia, in the SEC Championship Game and (c.) the mighty BCS poll itself still has Alabama ahead of Georgia. The good news, of course, is that assuming Alabama doesn't suffer the biggest upset loss in Alabama-Auburn history (it is not the Iron Bowl this year, as Auburn is not bowl-eligible), this will all get settled in Atlanta.
In the meantime, here is what the SEC has in its upper region: six teams, all with one loss or two, and with all those losses coming against one another. Now, how to rank them? First, let's agree that the one-loss teams go ahead of the two-loss teams. Throw that out and you have more chaos than Mike Leach on a three-week bender. So you have to go with that: Alabama, Georgia and Florida are your top three. In the only head-to-head game among that group, Georgia beat Florida. The Bulldogs also have the longest winning streak among the group. So that gives them the slightest of edges, even if the "look" test says Alabama. Florida, meanwhile, has wins over all three of the two-loss teams, which is impressive. But the Gators have barely escaped in their past two games against Missouri and Louisiana-LaFayette, and there is an impending sense that they won't get past Florida State in Tallahassee.
In the two-loss group, things are a little easier. LSU has beaten both Texas A&M and South Carolina. Simple call there, even if A&M is the hottest team of all in the last few weeks. So you put South Carolina next. All simple enough, until you realize that the Gamecocks beat Georgia like a batch of omelet eggs.
So you see the problem. In a league with six by good teams, three in each division, and no round robin, you reward recent success or gut feeling. And you remember you can shuffle it all around next week if you want.
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