Alabama was ranked #2. They went out and did pretty much the same thing as USC, beating Michigan 41-14. The score after the first quarter? Alabama was already up 21-0.
The biggest difference: Hawaii is unranked, and has extremely low expectations this year. Michigan was ranked #8, and actually received a first place vote in the preseason poll.
This week, Alabama has jumped over USC in the AP rankings, and is ranked #1, while USC has dropped to #2.
ESPN LA's Arash Markazi is one of a few people who are a little peeved about the flip-flop. In the nature of full disclosure, it should be mentioned that Markazi received his journalism degree from USC, and is an unabashed homer for all things LA.
Still, does he have a point? Let's check out his twitter rant from earlier today:
Clearly, Markazi isn't all that happy with the change in voting, and I suppose I understand his logic.
USC was thought to be the best team coming into the season, and they won convincingly in week 1. There's really no reason to drop them, right?
Unfortunately, he forgot a few things that most likely played a major factor in the top of the rankings.
- Preseason rankings are meaningless -- USC was ranked #1 to start the year based on nothing but pure conjecture. This week's rankings are based on 1 week of play. They certainly don't mean that much, but they mean a lot more than preseason rankings.
- The difference between #1 and #2 is literally nothing -- If both Alabama and USC win out, they'll play each other in the National Championship game. If USC is #1, they'll play Alabama in the title game. If they're #2, they'll play... that's right, you guessed it... Alabama in the title game. Regardless of who's #1 or #2, the winner will be #1.
- The "previous week" is all we have -- Markazi asks if we're ranking teams based on who looked the most impressive in the previous week. This would be a valid argument if USC had put together 7 or 8 straight wins to put them in the #1 spot, and then Alabama suddenly had 1 impressive week and leapfrogged them. But right now, that "previous week" isn't just an aberration or a knee-jerk reaction. It's all we have.
But hey... anything can happen, right?