The Washington Times - October 4, 2009, 09:58AM

A little tidbit loyal readers might actually be interested in – the D1scourse 30 isn’t an entirely irrelevant, waste-of-time exercise.

No, this results-based look at college football (the top 25 of it, anyway) actually is one of the 114 ballots submitted each week to the Harris Interactive poll. If you don’t believe it, check this link. It’s not often my name will be in the same column with Jackie Sherrill, Don Strock and Tommy Vardell.

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This didn’t seem like something worth heralding, at least until the BCS standings start coming out later this month. But then last week’s poll came out, and it was rightfully pilloried for having Oklahoma 11 spots ahead of Brigham Young (which won a head-to-head on a neutral field) and California above Oregon (despite the Ducks’ thrashing of the Golden Bears a week ago).

So, yes this ranking is a mere fraction of that voting bloc. But it is at least an attempt to decipher the sport based on this year rather than the past.

To point out as I have in the past, this is a results-driven ballot. A team’s past performance and preseason expectations aren’t factored in here. In basketball, this is like attempting to seed the best teams according to their merits. In football, historically anyway, it’s something that isn’t done all that much – especially early in the season.

Here’s guessing some folks in Gainesville and Austin won’t much like this ballot. For any fans who think this is kooky, understand that I attempt to not even look at my previous week’s ballot while sitting down.

It’s a start-from-scratch endeavor every Saturday night or Sunday morning, though I’ll cop to looking back at where I had Missouri while trying to maintain consistent thinking about an unbeaten team with no quality victories but two away from home. The last column that gets filled in is the “previous rank.”

The other column of note is regulation record, which turns any overtime game into a tie. When an evaluation is close, that seems like a good thing to take a look at considering the capricious nature of the college football overtime system.

Anyway, here’s this week’s top 30 – and it’s dead-certain to look a whole lot different next week, which is one of the reasons no ballot is really worth howling over with two months left in the season:

Team                           W-L     Reg.     Pvs.      Notes
1. Alabama                  5-0       5-0       1          * Virginia Tech (N), Arkansas (H), Kentucky (A)
2. Louisiana State        5-0       5-0       6          * Georgia (H), Washington (A)
3. Virginia Tech           4-1       4-1       3          * Nebraska (H), Miami (H); L: Alabama (N)
4. Iowa                                    5-0       5-0       8          * Penn State (A), Arizona (H)
5. Boise State               5-0       5-0       4          * Oregon (H), Fresno State (A)
6. Miami                      3-1       3-1       10          * Oklahoma (H), Ga. Tech (H); L: Va. Tech (A)
7. Cincinnati                5-0       5-0       9          * Rutgers (A), Oregon State (A)
8. Florida                     4-0       4-0       5          * Tennessee (H), Kentucky (A)
9. Texas                       4-0       4-0       7          * Texas Tech (H), UTEP (H)
10. Southern Cal          4-1       4-1       14          * Ohio State (A), Cal (A); L: Washington (A)
11. Auburn                  5-0       5-0       27          * West Virginia (H), Tennessee (A)
12. Texas Christian      4-0       4-0       12          * Clemson (A), Virginia (A)
13. South Florida         5-0       5-0       13          * Florida State (A), Syracuse (A)
14. Oregon                   4-1       4-1       11          * Cal (H), Utah (H); L: Boise State (A)
15. Brigham Young     4-1       4-1       16          * Oklahoma (N), Colorado St. (H); L: Florida St. (H)
16. Houston                 3-1       3-1       2          * Oklahoma State (A), Texas Tech (H); L: UTEP (A)
17. Oklahoma State     3-1       3-1       15          * Georgia (H); L: Houston (H)
18. Georgia Tech         4-1       4-1       19          * Clemson (H), North Carolina (H); L: Miami (A)
19. Wisconsin              5-0       4-0-1    NR          * Minnesota (A), Michigan St. (H); OTW: Fresno (H)
20. Georgia                  3-2       3-2       18          * South Carolina (H); L: LSU (A), Okla. State (A)
21. South Carolina       4-1       4-1       20          * Mississippi (H), N.C. State (A); L: Georgia (A)
22. Arizona                  3-1       3-1       26          * Oregon State (A), C. Michigan (H); L: Iowa (A)
23. Missouri                 4-0       4-0       24          * Illinois (N), Nevada (A)
24. Penn State              4-1       4-1       NR          * Illinois (A), Syracuse (H); L: Iowa (H)
25. Ohio State              4-1       4-1       21          * Illinois (H), Navy (H); L: Southern Cal (H)
26. Michigan                4-1       4-0-1    17          * Notre Dame (H); OTL: Michigan St. (A)
27. Kansas                   4-0       4-0       25          * Southern Miss (H), UTEP (A)
28. Pittsburgh               4-1       4-1       NR          * Navy (H), Louisville (A); L: N.C. State (A)
29. Mississippi             3-1       3-1       NR          * Vanderbilt (A); L: South Carolina (A)
30. West Virginia         3-1       3-1       NR          * East Carolina (H), Colorado (H); L: Auburn (A)

Patrick Stevens