Three weeks into the season, our ballots are proving fluid as teams win and teams lose — and not just whether they win or lose, but how they achieve their results. At this point, any number of teams could be considered legitimate contenders in a year where everyone seems to have some flaw. But, just as the season opened, the defending national champion remains at the top of the poll after a wild SEC scoreboard scorcher in Texas.
Some teams stayed locked in place, while others shifted wildly as each of us adjusted our ballots with one-quarter of the regular season behind us already. As we approach steadily toward October and beyond, the stakes only increase along with the sample size.
First, here’s how our ballots combined to form this week’s inaugural poll of the 2013 regular season:
ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: Notre Dame (6), Arizona State (1)
Oregon got a serious bump at the top, as all three of us pushed the Ducks up our ballots this week after they impressed at home in a 59-14 blowout of Tennessee. Alabama remained at the top, but I personally shifted Oregon (full disclosure: current Duck student) above the Tide after seeing the way both teams have played defense so far this year. Both Matt and John also moved them ahead of Stanford, their chief Pac-12 North rival.
It was overall an odd week for movement. The team taking the biggest leap up the ladder, UCLA, was down 21-3 in Lincoln at one point before racking up 38 unanswered points in an eventual 41-21 dismantling of Nebraska on the road. The team taking the biggest slide, Michigan, remained undefeated but was one play away from falling to lowly Akron at home.
That said, you’ve probably got a different opinion than us. With the spirit of contention in mind, you will find our individual ballots below. Leave your personal picks, acrimonious invective, base insults, insulting suggestions, or belligerent rants down in the comments below. You’re also always welcome to hit up any of us on Twitter to offer a piece of your mind…