The Washington Times - October 12, 2008, 11:16AM

Let’s talk a little bit about proof.

Not in a Mulder-and-Scully, the-truth-is-out-there sort of way. But in a way resembling the application of something definitive.

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How often to do teams of any sort prove something that is long-lasting?

For example, what did Utah prove when it won at Michigan in the season’s first week? It’s safe to say the Utes probably demonstrated less than first anticipated.

How about, on that same day, what California established by defeating Michigan State? That seems to be worth much more six weeks later.

In sports, where there is a mishmash of results assembled over the course of a season, proof is fleeting. To make a reference to quantum physics, it’s more like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which in its simplest form states you can’t definitively figure out both the position and the momentum (the scientific kind, not the Big Bag of Sportswriters’ Cliches kind) of a given object.

If you want to tweak and grossly simplify that and make it a little more football-friendly, call it the Heisman uncertainty principle. Because of all the variables in play, it is exceedingly difficult to make declarations on where teams really are and where they’re headed in the middle of a season. Granted, people like me get paid to try to figure that out anyway, and you can make educated guesses. But they’re still guesses and not worthy of sweeping statements.

Very little is truly proven at this juncture. Well, everyone knows Syracuse and Washington State are abysmal. So some things are pretty much sorted out.

But if you think Oklahoma State proved it is a national title contender because it beat Missouri, or that Pittsburghproved it is BCS-bound because it toppled South Florida, or that Virginia proved it will be a factor in the ACC title chase with consecutive home victories, think about that a little harder.

All those things could happen. Or Missouri could fade to devalue Oklahoma State’s accomplishment, Pittsburgh could lose a game or two it shouldn’t and Virginia could (as is often the case) be an extreme home/road team.

Or not.

Anyway, here’s this week’s top 30, with AP rankings to come later in the day. OT results, good or bad, are still reflected as ties in this setup. That’s why Texas Tech takes a mild hit this week.

Road and neutral wins remain ultra-valuable, with home losses (especially to so-so teams) a serious debit. Head-to-head means a lot as well, which explains Florida over Louisiana State, Oklahoma State over Missouri, California over Michigan State and Vanderbilt over South Carolina.

One exception remains Kansas over South Florida, which later lost at home to Pittsburgh and also produced an OT win at Central Florida. But that’s still enough to keep the Bulls ahead of Pitt, which opened with a home loss to Bowling Green.

(EDIT: AP rankings added at 2:58 p.m.)

No./Team

Adj. record 

AP 

Pvs. 

Notable Wins/Head-to-Head

1. Texas

6-0

1

5

* Oklahoma (N) and Colorado (A)

2. Alabama

6-0

2

2

* Georgia (A) and Kentucky (H)

3. Southern California

4-1

6

6

* Ohio State (H); lost at Oregon State

4. Oklahoma

5-1

4

1

* TCU (H); lost to Texas (N)

5. Penn State

7-0

3

7

* No W vs. teams with winning records

6. Ohio State 

6-1

12

9

* Wisconsin (A); lost at Southern Cal

7. Georgia

5-1

10

11

* South Carolina (A); lost to ‘Bama (H)

8. Florida

5-1

5

15

* Louisiana State (H); lost to Miss. (H)

9. Brigham Young

6-0

9

10

* Schedule limits upward mobility

10. Utah

7-0

14

12

* Oregon State (H)

11. Texas Tech

5-0-1

7

8

* OT win vs. Nebraska (H)

12. Oklahoma State

6-0

8

26

* Missouri (A)

13. Louisiana State

4-1

13

4

* Auburn (A); lost at Florida

14. Missouri

5-1

11

3

* Illinois (N); lost to Oklahoma St. (H)

15. Boise State

5-0

15

13

* Oregon (A)

16. Virginia Tech

5-1

17

16

* UNC (A); lost to East Carolina (N)

17. Kansas

5-1

16

19

* Lost to South Florida (A)

18. California

4-1

25

20

* Michigan State (H); lost at Maryland

19. Michigan State

6-1

20

22

* Northwestern (A); lost at Cal

20. Wake Forest

4-1

21

24

* Florida State (A); lost to Navy (H)

21. Tulsa

6-0

26

18

* Barely escaped SMU

22. South Florida

4-1-1

19

21

* Kansas (H); OT win at UCF; loss to Pitt

23. Ball State

7-0

24

25

* Navy (H)

24. North Carolina

5-1

18

30

* ND and UConn (H); lost to VT (H)

25. Vanderbilt

5-1

22

14

* Auburn (H); lost at Mississippi State

26. Texas Christian

5-1

27

27

* Lost at Oklahoma

27. Oregon

4-2-1

33

NR

* Loss to Boise St. (H) and USC (A)

28. Pittsburgh

4-1

23

NR

* South Florida (A); lost to BGSU (H)

29. South Carolina

5-2

31

NR

* Losses to Vanderbilt (A) and UGA (H)

30. Cincinnati

5-1

T35 

NR

* Could pick these last two out of a hat

Patrick Stevens