I had a little bit more time on my hands with the bye week so I attempted to justify all of my picks. There are still a few spots that I am unsure, but I tried to do my best picking the teams based my criteria: overall record, head-to-head results, resume/strength of schedule, performance/statistics. I found that I tend to value a good defense better than a good offense and that I was using statistics probably a little too much. Anyway, here's my ballot for the week.
Oregon: Oregon is a very close two. They have a better resume than Ohio State with a win over Stanford, but in the last 3 games the Ducks defense has given up a lot of points. I'll take a strong defense over a flashy offense.
Nebraska: Nebraska rivals Ohio State for the most complete team. They have an electric quarterback in Taylor Martinez and an outstanding defense. Right now, however, Nebraska resume isn't very strong, though their best two wins were on the road at Washington and at Kansas State. Win the next 3 weeks though (against Texas, OK State, and Missouri) and Nebraska may find itself ranked even higher.
Boise State: Oregon State beating Arizona helps Boise's resume a little and Virginia Tech seems to have shaken their terrible start. Other than Boise State has just rolled a bunch of not very good teams...and that's the way the rest of the season will probably go.
TCU: Pretty much the same thing can be said about TCU. The Oregon State win was good and that's about it.
Michigan State: MSU has two wins in a row against ranked teams and a previous win against a Notre Dame team that is starting to play a little better. Michigan State's offense has been surprisingly efficient and the defense did well to shut down Denard Robinson/Michigan.
Auburn: Auburn hasn't really been blowing people out of the water as their defense has let people stay in games. But, their offense led by Cam Newton is one of the best in the country and their win over South Carolina gives them some extra points after this past weekend.
Utah: Since the opening week squeaker against Pittsburgh (who turned out to be pretty mediocre), Utah has just been destroying teams. Iowa State found out how good the Utes are giving up the most points ever (68) in a home game. Utah could challenge Boise State and TCU, who they'll play later in the season, for the mid-major of the year.
Oklahoma: I dropped Oklahoma this week even though they had a bye. I had them ranked too high because of their dominating win over Florida State. Honestly I think I should probably drop them either further, but it's hard to argue with being undefeated. However, besides the aforementioned destruction of FSU, Oklahoma's average margin of victory is just 5 points over Utah State, Air Force, Cincinnati, and Texas. Sure those are for the most part decent-to-good teams. Oklahoma has been mediocre on offense (40th in total offense) and mediocre-to-bad on defense (93rd in total defense), but has done just enough to win. I guess it's kind of like Iowa last year, so I'm probably not one to gripe too much. (P.S. I do a computer ranking that is kind of an efficiency rating for a team as a whole but also looks at wins and loss...Oklahoma comes in at 43. By comparison, the top 10 is: Nebraska, Boise State, Ohio State, Utah, TCU, Oregon, Iowa, Michigan State, Alabama, and Auburn.)
LSU: LSU is in the same boat as Oklahoma. They have won some games over pretty good teams, but have not looked good doing so. Still, they are 4-0 in the SEC and that has to count for something, right?
South Carolina: I'm not sure how good South Carolina really is, but they beat Alabama and their only loss is a very good Auburn team, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. The SEC East looks kind of week this year, by SEC standards, so the Gamecocks should be on their way to a good season.
Alabama: Despite the one loss, Alabama still has one of the best resumes with back-to-back wins over Arkansas and Florida. I can't justify ranking them ahead of South Carolina though, who also only has one loss.
Oklahoma State: Okay, so OK State hasn't really beaten anybody, but they haven't lost to anybody either. Statistically they have one of the best passing offenses in the country (#2 in yards per game, #2 in TDs, #9 in efficiency) which has led them to their 5 victories. I am not opposed to one-loss teams jumping the Cowboys in the future though.
Arizona: Arizona is probably overranked here, but because of the win against Iowa they get to stay in the top 15. I had a hard time deciding if they should stay ahead of Iowa, but at this point the teams have the same record so I'll stick with the head-to-head result.
Iowa: Well, Iowa's strength of schedule took a huge hit on Saturday. As impressive as Iowa has been, they resume doesn't look very good when the best win is over a quite bad Penn State team. The next 3 weeks will really decide things for the Hawkeyes...win all 3 and they'll probably be back in the top 10.
Nevada: Nevada has been as impressive as anyone thus far with their pistol offense. Not a single one of their games have even been close. The problem is that they haven't really played anybody yet (nor will they, besides Boise State) and their semi-impressive win over Cal is the best on their resume.
Missouri: Also impressive but under the radar is Missouri. The opening week victory over Illinois is starting to look a little better and they have a conference win over Colorado. Though undefeated their resume is still pretty bad and they are my lowest undefeated team.
Florida State: They had a really bad loss to Oklahoma where everything just kind of fell apart. That game aside, the Seminoles have been dominant and showed it this past weekend against Miami.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin hasn't fared too well against the better opponents they've faced (escaping against Arizona State and getting beat by Michigan State) but has mustered enough offense behind the big O-line to win games. They have OSU and Iowa coming up back-to-back so this is make it or break it time.
Air Force: The Falcons don't necessarily have a great resume. Perhaps their best game was a 3-point loss to Oklahoma as the rest of the games they won, they were supposed to win. They haven't been lighting up the score board either, but have been efficient on offense and good enough on defense.
Arkansas: I probably have Arkansas lower than just about everyone, but honestly what have they done this? Fall apart against Alabama? That's probably their best game. Their best win is over a bad Georgia team. They have an excellent quarterback and passing attack, but are not good at running the ball and have an average defense. Again, I'm probably being a little harsh here so if they beat Auburn this week I'll give them the appropriate jump. If not, they're off the ballot.
Stanford: I'm probably being too harsh on Stanford too. They have a pretty decent resume with wins over UCLA, Notre Dame, and USC. Mostly I have them so low for the poor defense the last couple of weeks.
Michigan: Ditto on the poor defense, except Michigan's D is much, much worse. 5-1 is 5-1 though, so the Wolverines are ranked for now.
West Virginia: I'm starting to stretch here...WVU lost to LSU and went to overtime against Marshall. They haven't been very good, but probably better than any other team in the Big East.
Syracuse: Okay, a BIG stretch here. I don't think there are any 2-loss teams deserving of a spot at this point, so I'm stuck choosing between teams like Kansas State, Northwestern, North Carolina State, etc... Syracuse has actually played pretty well this year though. Sure their competition has been terrible (two FBS teams, Akron, Washington, and South Florida), but against that competition Syracuse is 11th in scoring defense and has had a decent passing attack with QB Ryan Nassib. I doubt the Orange will stay here for long.