The young quarterback had never seen two emperor penguins mate before that morning. He was puzzled by the logistics, and downright shocked by the last thirty minutes. He wouldn't use it as an excuse, but his play on the field clearly reflected a subconscious fixated upon penguin junk.
Stanford has talent, make no mistake about it. But Saturday's game made it very clear that USC is a much different team without a healthy Khaled Holmes, and the loss puts a big dent in the Trojan's national title hopes. But this isn't about where they'll end up. The big question facing Noah and I this week: where does USC belong this week? First, let's take a look at the resume:
49-10 home win over Hawaii
42-29 neutral site win over Syracuse
21-14 road loss to Stanford
Based on pure resume, that team doesn't belong at #12, where the coaches placed the Trojans, or at #13, where the AP has them ranked. It might not even the best one-loss resume in the country, when you stack it up against Michigan State (17-13 over fBSU, 41-7 over Central Michigan, 20-3 loss to Notre Dame). And so where the Trojans end up on voter's ballots this weeks depends on how heavily those voters use resume vs. their own expectations and projections.
This is what makes the hybrid Noah-Tako poll experiment so interesting. I'm weighing resume much more than he is, and it's led to disagreement among teams that have lots of talent, but don't have the resume to match yet. For instance, West Virginia is 2-0, but hasn't played anyone of note yet; Noah's more talent-heavy ranking puts them at #5, while I am valuing Georgia's, Stanford's, Clemson's, and South Carolina's wins over BCS conference foes over the Mountaineers' wins over Marshall and James Madison, dropping WVU to #9. This is the case when ranking USC; I can't justify putting the Trojans resume ahead of undefeateds like Kansas State, Texas, or Louisville, while Noah's ranking reflects his thinking that the Trojans will bounce back, and slots them at #15, ahead of all three teams I just mentioned. Would USC beat Louisville if they played next week? Most likely. But the Trojans haven't done enough so far to earn that distinction, at least in my eyes.
ATQ's full BlogPoll after the jump, and let us know in the comments if we royally screwed anything up.
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