Red Cup Rebellion is proud to be a voter in the CBS Sports Blogpoll. Blogpoll is distinguishable from the Associated Press poll in that resume ranking is not just encouraged, but required. It is distinguishable from the Coach's Poll in that it occasionally makes sense. Of course, it doesn't make a damn when deciding who plays in the BCS National Title Game, so we'll call it a draw. Now that (most) teams have amassed a resume worth proofreading, we'll offer a semi-stratified list of the top teams in the country for you to criticize before we submit our Top 25 ballot. And, as always, we'll attempt to do so with wit and charm, but since when "we" speak in this feature "we" are speaking through me, don't get your hopes up.
Heartache and failue, after the jump.
So, this week, we'll be attempting to ingrain the "resume" idea into your head with a "job interview theme." Imagine every decent team in the country is sitting down with human resources and all it has to show for itself are its wins and losses. Sports Illustrated covers do not exist in this fantasy world. Only scores, stats, and opponents' win-loss records (though a few folks have stopped by, even though they are short of work experience). The great pollster/interviewer says, "I've reviewed your resume, and it says here..."
"... you've never failed at anything, and you have already completed a hostile takeover of a serious competitor."
You are Alabama. You are the only undefeated team in the land with a convincing win over a certifiable Top 25 team. Congratulations!
"... you look poised to become president of the company."
Texas and Florida exist as the only other undefeated teams that have demonstrated next-to-nothing-but inexhaustible excellence. Last week, the Horns demoralized Mike Price's UTEP Miner's like an ill-fated Pensacola hooker binge. Those Miners turned right around and removed Houston from BCS contention. The difference between these two teams and Alabama is small, but distinguishable.
"... your thus-far uninterrupted successes are a thorn in the sides generally everyone."
LSU, Boise State, Cincinnati, TCU, and Iowa remain unblemished, but everyone still has a sinking feeling that they ought to have. What happened and what we thought was going to happen, Thomas Dewey will tell you, are two different things, though. There are arguments to drop any of them to the next stratification, but they all have demonstrated staying power. Cincy, LSU, Iowa, and TCU have impressive road wins. Boise, LSU, and Iowa have beaten demonstrably good teams. Iowa and TCU have exhibited that thing that, we're told, wins championships.
"... that bump in the road won't impede your climb up the ladder."
Virginia Tech, Miami, Southern Cal, Ohio State, and Oregon have experienced somewhat high-profile (but, also, USC excepting, respectable) bumps in the road. Their BCS hopes remain perfectly legitimate.
"... that you have a notable body of work, but one of your references told me that you could get stuck in middle management."
Hello, big fat wad category. Oklahoma State, BYU, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Houston are one-loss teams who enjoyed a day in the sun (but tripped somewhere in the shade), while Auburn, Wisconsin, South Florida, and Kansas have beaten all breathing opponents, but have yet to notch that really notable victory. Some have taken to fairly wild rankings of Auburn in the Top 15 or even 10. I don't think their resume merits that, yet. But all these teams will get their chance. We'll see how they perform then.
"... you've handed me a blank piece of paper."
Penn State, West Virginia, Ole Miss, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Nebraska are once-fired applicants that haven't beaten anybody outside the mailroom. No matter their perceived talent, their resumes simply cannot stand up. Of the six, I favor Nebraska the most because theirs is the best loss. Meanwhile, Stanford and Missouri are quietly undefeated, but big deal, right? Their resumes might as well be filled up with community service awards and student government positions. Call me when you've done something in the real world.
"... you've been fired twice?"
Talk about a tale of three cities (it's a turn on the title of a class ... never mind) Oklahoma, Georgia, and Cal find themselves at three different stages of the twice-fired, not making it in my ballot classification. The Sooners have lost twice by one point to non-conference ranked teams away from home. I would give merit to their courage, but their list of casualties is unremarkable. However, they are in, practically, the same position they were after that first loss - undefeated in conference play, but out of the national title hunt. UGA is a class below - they've lost a conference game (at home, yuck), but it was out of division, so they continue to control their own destiny in the SEC East. California is reeling. In the depths of the depths. Back-to-back embarrassing losses means that even if they start winning, no one will care for a good, long while.
So, there you have it. A hazy, ethereal idea of what our ballot will look like. Comment at your leisure.