SCENE: The smell of grease is in the air, and it's thick enough to clog your arteries without even tasting the food. Still, the place is overcrowded, droves of people pressing in through the doors and passing back out in a continuous stream. The committee members squeeze into a circular booth so large it seems to have no business being here, in this place, yet conveniently here it is. They each have a double cheeseburger, fries, and a fountain drink. It is the Five Guys Burgers & Fries of Missoula, Montana.
Archie Manning: Gosh, Condi, I'm so glad you suggested this place - I haven't had a meal like this in a long time. What made you think of cheeseburgers?
Condoleezza Rice: [takes a break from humming a tune suspiciously similar to the ND Victory March] Just popped into my head this week, Arch. Jack and I used to visit the one on 48th Street all the time. Glad you like it.
Mike Gould: Ty, why did you suggest the one in Missoula, though? Believe me, I get the need to keep things under wraps [glances around nervously] and I loved A River Runs Through It, but this seems really out of the way.
Ty Willingham: IamGroot I am Groot - I am Groot? Har har har. [looks expectantly to his left]
Tom Jernstedt: He says, "Coeur D'Alene is driveable from here. Get it?"
Steve Wieberg: I've seen headline writers who are less committed to puns than this guy, and PGAers who are less committed to golf. Anyway... Man, what a crazy week of action. Has parity finally come to college football? That weekend makes me want to break out the Underwood and get back to work.
Dan Radakovich: [emptying a flask into his Coke] I think it sucked.
Barry Alvarez: Dan, you should've seen it coming. I mean, doing that is named after you guys. Steve, I don't know about parity, but it definitely looks like there might not be a dominant team at top. But hey, my Big Ten brethren went 12-1 this week - climbing back to respectability! Except for Michigan, they're toast. I'd say I feel bad for them, but...
Gould: You know Hoke sent me his resume the other day? Apparently he doesn't realize I'm not at the Academy anymore - not sure that guy's playing with a full deck. Between that and the headset thing, it seems like he's trying to keep himself years behind everyone else.
Jeff Long: OK, we can all stipulate that Hoke is clueless. Can we move on to the balloting, please? The longer we're here the more I worry about getting grease stains on my suit.
Alvarez: Who wears a suit to Five Guys? Dweeb.
The OFD Top 25
1. Florida State: Yes, they were missing Jameis, but if Clemson weren't the most Clemsoning place ever they would've lost. And Jameis doesn't play defense. Still, nobody else really gave a good case for passing them.
2. Oregon: A very suspect missed PI call on Washington State's last drive may have saved the Ducks from ignominy. After that, it's hard to envision them getting through a deep Pac-12 unscathed.
3. Oklahoma: Had a fight on their hands with West Virginia in their conference opener - it was 31-27 OU midway through the third quarter - but eventually pulled away.
4. Alabama: Doubled up the Gators. One the one hand, the Tide took care of business; on the other hand, they gave up 21 to a team that scored 20 in regulation against Kentucky last week. Basically, this game didn't tell us much.
5. Auburn: Got all they could handle in Manhattan, earning a six-point win against a Kansas State team that turned the ball over three times, with one INT coming on a dropped TD, and missed three field goals. That's three escapes and two close-at-halftime games for the top 5 this week.
6. Baylor: Sat on their duffs and had a shot to get up to #3 here. A strange game... They'll finally open conference play against Iowa State this weekend.
7. Texas A&M: Yet another scrimmage for the intrepid Aggies, who pummeled recently coach-less SMU. The season-opening win against South Carolina was impressive, but since then they've played Lamar, Rice, and SMU. They should win next week against Arkansas, but at least the Hogs should be able to put a little more resistance.
8. Notre Dame: Also came ohsoclose to reaping big benefits from being idle this week, but ultimately will stay stuck on #8 for the impending showdown with Syracuse, who somehow managed to outgain Maryland by 200 yards and still lose convincingly.
9. Michigan State: Slaughtered hapless Eastern Michigan and will face Wyoming next. While they deserve credit for scheduling Oregon, they get big demerits for Jacksonville State, Eastern Michigan, and Wyoming. Blech.
10. Arizona State: Sneaks into the top 10 while sitting idle thanks to LSU's belly flop. A big home game against UCLA this week should tell us something about both teams, although the absence of two of the country's top QB's, Taylor Kelly and Brett Hundley, might mean it will tell us less than we'd hope.
11. Stanford: Also idle this week and sliding up a spot. See, we keep singing the praises of cheeseburgers, and we're not kidding. Will visit Chris Peterson's improved Washington squad next weekend, and provide the Huskies' first real test. Careful, they're vicious.
12. Ole Miss: I'm not even going to say it. Hosting the scrappy Memphis Tigers after taking a week off.
13. South Carolina: No idea what to make of this team. Hammered by A&M, let East Carolina keep it close, upset Georgia, and didn't pull away from a bad Vandy team this week until inside five minutes to go. Hosting a wounded Missouri team this week gives them a chance to show us something.
14. Georgia: Speaking of the Bulldogs... Destroyed a badly overmatched Troy, which judging by its yearly scheduling pattern must have a significant line item in its athletic department budget for "pimping out football players." Irish fans, Isaiah McKenzie scored on a punt return in this one. Dadgummit.
15. UCLA: I will begrudgingly let them into the top 15 this week, but only because too many others can't keep from yakking all over themselves. With ASU looming, they could have a very short stay here.
16. Mississippi State: Is Mississippi State that good? Or is the SEC West perhaps not as strong as the hype suggests? If you want a laugh, check out www.appollstalker.com - San Jose Mercury News writer/AP voter Jon Wilner moved the Bulldogs from unranked to #3 after their defeat of LSU (who he had at #3 last week). Umm...
17. LSU: Lost even though Mississippi State tried really hard to give away what looked like an insurmountable lead. Right now the only mark in their favor is a four-point home win over Wisconsin in the opener. They'll take on New Mexico State this week, so we'll have to wait one more week for their trip to Auburn to find out more about them.
18. Wisconsin: I'm not impressed by beating Bowling Green, and I can't put them ahead of LSU when they lost head-to-head. So unfortunately, Wisconsin wins and drops a spot.
19. BYU: Kudos to BYU for beating a tough Virginia team that knocked off Louisville and nearly took out UCLA. Unfortunately for them, that's pretty much their last chance at a decent win for the rest of the year.
20. Ohio State: Idle this past weekend and benefiting from the yakking skills of Clemson and Kansas State. They face Cincinnati and Gunner Kiel next, who might be able to put up some points.
21. Kansas State: Only sliding two spots here because they gave the #5 team everything they could handle. I believe in giving credit for impressive losses when it's appropriate.
22. Oklahoma State: Cheeseburgers on the prairie. Facing Texas Tech, who also was idle and is in a bit of disarray after just firing their defensive coordinator for "being under the influence of an unknown substance" on campus. Drama!
23. Nebraska: Held off Miami in a rematch of the Orange Bowl that capped off Nebraska's 1994 title campaign. Of course, neither team bore even the slightest imaginable resemblance to the originals, but you gotta sell t-shirts somehow.
24. USC: Hosting Oregon State this weekend after being idle last. I wouldn't put any money on this game in either way (comment provided for entertainment purposes only).
25. East Carolina: Played South Carolina tough in week 2, knocked off Virginia Tech in week 3, and hung 70 on North Carolina in week 4. They'll enjoy some cheeseburgers this week before taking on the
Sacrificial Lambs Mustangs of SMU next, and they'll also enjoy their spot in the top 25. I'm glad Savvy Jack scheduled the less-imposing Carolina.
Dropping out: #18 Missouri - Losing to Indiana? You, sir, have just had your credibility revoked; #20 Clemson - Gave the game away in true Clemson fashion, and they might have the worst kicker in the country.