SCENE: The committee has accepted an invitation from the Manning family to move the party from the Grove to their home in the Big Easy, because who wouldn't? Strains of Dixieland jazz wander aimlessly through the air even though there's no band anywhere remotely near - New Orleans is a mysterious town, after all... The committee members settle in to watch Sunday Night Football with an excited Archie Manning and discuss the college football landscape.
Oliver Luck: Heck of a home you have here, Arch! Beautiful. [A string of obscenities streams from an open window next door, drawing a glance from Luck.] And you guys definitely know how to do a spread.
Archie Manning: Well shucks, Oliver, real kind of you to say that. Coop, did you get this nice man his drink yet? [More foul language drifts over from next door.]
Luck: What the heck is that guy's deal? He sounds pretty ticked off.
Pat Haden: Yeah, and I could swear he said something about Notre Dame. Kinda weird - he looks a lot like that Five Guys waiter in Missoula. And why does he have a parabolic mic on his back porch?
Manning: You know, he just moved in this past weekend. I think he's Cajun or something, don't think he even likes football, he's probably just speaking French. I thought that thing on the porch right there looked funny too, but he said it's his satellite dish. I didn't want to be rude, so I assume that's all that's going on. [To the man in the window] Hey neighbor!
[The mole blushes, gestures apologetically, and waves back before closing his window and resuming his rant.]
Tyrone Willingham: I am Groot, I am Groot! Har har har...
Tom Jernstedt: It sounded like "Ryan was money well spent," but that doesn't make a lot of sense. Honestly, I can't always understand what he says.
[On the TV behind them Peyton breaks Brett Favre's career passing touchdown record, and bedlam breaks loose in the Manning house. Archie and Cooper dance a clearly choreographed number that's a cross between the Charleston and the Chicken Dance, then attempt a jumping high five. Archie crumples as they land.]
Barry Alvarez: Cripes Archie, are you OK? Long, stop giggling like a school girl! I swear that guy will laugh at anybody's misfortune. I'm glad I stuck Bielema on you guys.
Manning: Heck Barry, the one time I showboat and this is what it gets me... My season's over, folks, gonna need surgery on the old knee. Me and Victor Cruz can rehab together, I guess. Darn it!
Steve Wieberg: What happens to our voting process now? Are we going to replace him? How can we go ahead with an uneven number? Who will stick up for Ole Miss in the meetings? Why did I lose my hair?
Jeff Long, now settled: Well, that kinda took a weird turn... No, the committee rules say that we won't replace Archie until the offseason. We'll work through it the best we can, and we'll start that by hashing out this week's rankings right now while Archie's still here - the 20 minutes before the ambulance gets here should be enough, right?
The OFD Top 25
1. Mississippi State: Sat idle last week and defended their ranking admirably while doing so. They'll swing back into action this week in Lexington with a visit to surprisingly not-awful Kentucky. Can Mike Stoops pull an upset? Don't hold your breath.
2. Ole Miss: It took them a little while to get into gear, but when they finally did they slammed Tennessee into oblivion. They have a big Death Valley matchup with LSU, who just thumped Kentucky and will look to regain some dignity against the Rebels.
3. Florida State: I have no words.
4. Auburn: Slid up one spot after chowing down on some cheeseburgers. They'll host The Old Ball Coach this week, who could do Notre Dame a big solid by springing a highly unlikely upset. Knowing Spurrier, he might actually prefer to lose as a result.
5. Alabama: The lesson here is that you do not want to face an angry Nick Saban, especially when he doesn't like you all that much anyway. Defeated Texas A&M 59-0 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score - it was 45-0 at halftime. Good lord. They'll play poor Tennessee next week, who's going to be coated in tire tracks pretty soon.
6. Notre Dame: I debated whether to drop us at all after that showdown for the ages; ultimately, I decided that I would've dropped anyone else a couple of spots so I had to drop us. But man, if ever there was a quality loss... The Irish clearly showed they belong on the brightest stage. They'll have a week off to lick their wounds, mental and physical.
7. Oregon: Never really threatened by a decent-but-not-there-yet Washington team. They'll face Cal this Friday, who gave them some trouble last year before fading in the second half. This year, Cal has given up 49, 56, 59, 31, and 36 points in their last five games. Um... Yeah.
8. TCU: Very impressive performance by the Horned Frogs, utterly dominating an Oklahoma State team that had given Florida State a tough time in the season opener. They jump the Spartans this week as they now have two wins better than Michigan State's best win, which was a squeaker against Nebraska.
9. Michigan State: Trailed Indiana 17-14 late in the first half, but got two quick scores before the half and never looked back on the way to a 56-17 blowout. They'll host Michigan, who is coming off their bye; it would be very Hoke-ish to pull a highly improbable win out against a better team. This matchup makes Irish fans very conflicted, as Michigan State is definitely in the playoff picture right now.
10. Georgia: This is a tough call as they have one of the worst losses (South Carolina) among the one-loss teams, but on the other hand they keep taking care of business. Jumped out to a huge lead on Arkansas en route to winning easily, but Dawgs fans should still be concerned about that defense. Not this week, though, as they'll sit home and watch with the rest of us.
11. Kansas State: Eliminated Oklahoma from the playoff and probably the Big 12 title as well, handing them their second conference loss. They'll host Texas this week, in Charlie Strong's next opportunity to get his first big win with the Longhorns.
12. Ohio State: Sneakily crawling back into the fringes of the playoff picture due to simple attrition. The Buckeyes dispatched Rutgers with ease, but it's hard to imagine them getting traction in the playoff discussion with the ugly loss to a soft Virginia Tech team and a putrid schedule, which will likely see them face one end-of-season ranked team (Michigan State) all season before the Big Ten title game.
13. Baylor: West Virginia outscored the Bears 14-0 in the fourth quarter to put the game away. As seemingly happens every year, Baylor ran into an opponent that took advantage of their soft defense and that was that. After dodging a bullet last week against TCU, they're all but eliminated from the playoff picture.
14. Arizona State: Jumps back in front of their in-state rival with an impressive win over Stanford. They didn't have Taylor Kelly back, and it didn't matter. They should provide a real test - and an opportunity for a credibility-inspiring win - for the Irish in a few weeks.
15. Arizona: After sitting idle last weekend, they'll go on the road to face a Washington State team that is 2-5 with three losses by a single score and is capable of putting some points up. Don't sleep on this matchup.
16. Oklahoma: Two missed field goals and a blocked extra point in a game they lost by one point - while not as much of an instantaneous gut punch as the way the Irish lost, I'm not sure that's any easier to swallow. It is what it is, though, and at 5-2 overall and 2-2 in conference the Sooners are pretty much cooked. Like the Irish, they'll also have an extra week to recover.
17. East Carolina:
I'm not going to bother looking this up, but I'm pretty confident that East Carolina has never been ranked higher. My extensive research* has shown that East Carolina has been ranked higher before, much to my surprise. Tune in on Thursday to see the next coach of the Florida Gators destroy the previous Notre Dame defensive coordinator, as the Pirates take on the hopelessly outmatched UConn Huskies.
*Extensive research consisted entirely of reading the first comment in this thread.
18. Utah: Won a tough one on the road at Oregon State in overtime. If not for an unexpected loss to Washington State, the Utes would be very much in the picture for the Pac 12 championship - and hey, they still might be. They'll have a chance to prove their legitimacy this week when they host USC.
19. Nebraska: Trailed at the half against Northwestern, but won the second half 24-0 to pull away. They'll host Rutgers next weekend to continue their presumed march to the Big Ten West title. Whee!
20. USC: Also inching back to respectability are the Trojans - stunners against Boston College and Arizona State gave way to a hard-fought win over Arizona and a demolition of Colorado. Irish fans are in the unusual position of rooting for USC to win out until their head-to-head matchup, which would probably put USC back into the top 15. They'll travel to Utah this week.
21. Clemson: Then again, maybe Boston College isn't so bad after all - Clemson really had to fight to come away with the win this week. They'll host Syracuse next, who just dismantled Wake Forest and doesn't seem to be missing Terrell Hunt all that much.
22. Marshall: We will never know how good they really are, unless they somehow lose to one of the body bags remaining on their schedule. Who are they playing next week? Who cares?
23. West Virginia: They were within shouting distance against Alabama and Oklahoma, and finally broke through against Baylor. They'll travel to Stillwater this week, and they still have the potential for a lot of Big 12 spoiling with games against TCU and Kansas State in the next month.
24. LSU: Crawling back into the rankings with a pounding of Kentucky. They have a big chance to turn the SEC West upside down when they host Ole Miss this weekend and Alabama next.
25. Minnesota: Quietly 5-1 and in first place in the Big Ten West, with their only loss to #11 TCU. They've been playing with fire for the last two weeks, eking out wins against Northwestern and Purdue, but it's impossible to ignore the job Jerry Kill has done up north.
Dropping out: #13 Stanford - I was giving them too much credit apparently, and their third loss was impossible to ignore; #16 Oklahoma State - apparently couldn't figure out how the doors work on their team bus, because they never got off it; #21 Texas A&M - if the Okies didn't get off the bus, these guys never even got out of bed, losing their third straight in program-unsettling fashion.