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The RBR Weekly Poll: Week Seven

Last week we wanted to know what regular season record would signify sufficient progress in year two, and the biggest majority was in the 9-3, 8-4 range.

Full disclosure, I voted 9-3 since I see nine winable games on the schedule (Tulane, WKU, Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, UT, Arkansas State, MSU, and Auburn) and three that, at least right now, I don't feel so good about (Clemson, UGA, LSU). I've said it before, and I'll say it again here; sufficient progress, at least to me, is beating the teams we should and being competitive with the ones we shouldn't. We didn't do so bad last year with the being comepetitive against teams we shouldn't beat, needing maybe three plays total to go our way against UGA and LSU to have been victorious, but we also played way down to the level of competition against Ole Miss and Houston, two teams we should have dog whipped but needed last second miracles to beat, and MSU, ULM, and Auburn, teams we should have beaten but still couldn't put away despite having several opportunities to do so. Stepping up and ending those kind of shenanigans is the first step towards returning to elite status in the league, and I really feel like a 9-3 (maybe 8-4) record would reflect that. Anyway, on to this week, and credit where credit is due time. We received this very cordial e-mail from public enemy #1 Brian Cook over the weekend concerning our participation in the blogpoll:

You can tell me to go to hell if you want, but: both of your blogs obviously meet the requirements for the poll and if you would like to participate the poll would be better for it. I'd like the poll to be a community exercise that encompasses the best of the college football blogosphere because I think it helps all of us.

OTS has been pretty set against our participation with anything Cook related after all the kerfluffle, and I'll admit to wavering back and forth on it as well. On the one hand, the blogpoll is one of the best parts of the college football blogosphere and I know I thoroughly enjoy putting together a ballot every week. On the other hand, it is Cook's creation and we both feel like our involvement is, at the very least, a tacit approval of Cook in spite of the hard feelings we have towards each other concerning Nick Saban and his recruiting practices. At some point today, though, I decided that it is, after all, a "community endeavor" and that, since we'll be doing mock ballots throughout the season anyway, we might as well at least ignore the hatchet (as opposed to actually burying it) and take part. All that being said, this week's poll concerns the sorts of things one should take into account when deciding rankings, namely "quality wins vs embarassing losses." Last season I got into a bit of a scrape over at Dawg Sports for ranking Kansas ahead of Georgia in my final ballot, a decision I stand by to this day. It's not that I thought that Kansas was that much better of a team than Georgia, whom I truly thought was playing the best ball in the country at the end of the season, but that I thought Kansas had the better overall season based on the fact that they handled every team they should have while only losing once to a damn good team in it's own right (Mizzou) while the early losses to SC and UT were so inexplicable and ugly that they stained Georgia's season sufficiently to mar their great end of season run. So clearly it's my opinion that, when looking at the results of a team while trying to put together a ballot, quality wins mean a lot towards upward movement, but at the same time inexcusable losses also weigh a team down and limit just how high they can advance relative to the teams that may not have the same quality wins but at least have handled their business. Bearing that in mind, the purpose of this week's poll is to get y'all's opinion on whether or not I should continue using this kind of thinking when preparing my ballots.