The Washington Times - October 2, 2011, 12:01PM

The Harris poll (which is one element in the BCS rankings) conducts its first balloting this week.

For the third straight year, I’m on the panel.


Unlike the Associated Press poll, the Harris poll does not release ballots every week —- only the last week of the season (i.e. the only one that really matters). But I’m all for transparency, which is why I post this every week.

A reminder: This is results-based, so teams can fluctuate rapidly early in the season. For example, Wisconsin didn’t own a particularly valuable victory until hammering Nebraska on Saturday. The Badgers jump from No. 15 to No. 5 —- though it should also be noted that I don’t look at my previous ballot until I finalize a new one.

The point is to constantly re-evaluate teams’ resumes, not to mindlessly move a team up three spots when it winds and down six spots when it loses —- regardless of context.

Also, it ensures things like Auburn being ranked ahead of South Carolina or Arizona State being ranked ahead of Southern California (thanks to head-to-head wins) when the teams are otherwise comparable. It also leads quality victories being re-evaluated (for example, Oklahoma State’s best win takes a minor hit when Texas A&M loses to Arkansas).

Onto this week’s top 30 (which, unlike the actual Harris ballot, includes a Southern Cal team ineligible to be included in that voting):

No. Team
W-L    LW     Resume
1. Louisiana State
5-0 1 * Oregon (N), WVU (A), Mississippi St (A), Kentucky (H)
2. Alabama
5-0 3 * Florida (A), Arkansas (H), Penn State (A), N.Texas (H)
3. Oklahoma
4-0 2 * Florida State (A), Missouri (H), Tulsa (H), Ball St. (H)
4. Clemson
5-0 5 * VT (A), Florida State (H), Auburn (H), Troy (H)
5. Wisconsin
5-0 15 * Nebraska (H), Oregon St. (H), N. Illinois (N), UNLV (H)
6. Oklahoma State
4-0 4 * Texas A&M (A), Arizona (H), Tulsa (A)
7. Boise State
4-0 7

* Georgia (N), Toledo (A), Nevada (H), Tulsa (H)

8. Georgia Tech
5-0 14

* UNC (H), NCSU (A), Kansas (H), Middle Tennessee (A)

9. Michigan
5-0 9 * Notre Dame (H), WMU (H), SDSU (H), Minnesota (H)
10. Stanford
4-0 16 * Arizona (A), UCLA (H), Duke (A), San Jose State (H)
11. Auburn
4-1 23 * S. Carolina (H), Miss. St. (A), Utah St. (H); L: Clemson (A)
12. Illinois
5-0 19

* Arizona State (H), NW (H), W. Michigan (H)

13. South Carolina   
4-1 6 * Georgia (A), Navy (H), Vanderbilt (H), ECU (N); L: Auburn (A)
14. Arkansas
4-1 25 * Texas A&M (N), Troy (H), New Mexico (H); L: Alabama (A)
15. Oregon
3-1 17 * Arizona (A), Nevada (H); L: LSU (N)
16. Florida
4-1 12 * Tennessee (H), Kentucky (A), UAB (H), FAU (H); L: Bama (H)
17. Nebraska
4-1 11 * Washington (H), Fresno St. (H), Wyoming (A); L: Wisc. (A)
18. West Virginia
4-1 20 * Maryland (A), Marshall (H), BGSU (H); L: LSU (H)
19. Texas
4-0 18 * BYU (H), Iowa State (A), UCLA (A), Rice (H)
20. Kansas State
4-0 28 * Baylor (H), Miami (A), Kent State (H)
21. Arizona State
4-1 24 * USC (H), Missouri (OT-H), Oregon State (H); L: Illinois (A)
22. South Florida
4-1 8

* Notre Dame (A), UTEP (H), Ball State (H); L: Pitt (A)

23. Southern Cal
4-1 29 * Utah (H), Cuse (H), Ariz. (H), Minn. (H); L: Ariz. St. (A)
24. Baylor
3-1 10 * TCU (H), Rice (H); L: Kansas State (A)
25. Virginia Tech
4-1 13 * E. Carolina (A), Marshall (A), Ark. St. (H); L: Clemson (H)
26. Notre Dame
3-2 NR * Michigan St. (H), Pitt (A), Purdue (A); L: Michigan (A), USF (H)
27. Houston
5-0 30

* UCLA (H), Louisiana Tech (A), UTEP (A)

28. Texas Tech
4-0 NR

* Nevada (H), Kansas (A), New Mexico (A)

29. North Carolina
4-1 26 * Rutgers (H), ECU (A), Virginia (H); L: Ga. Tech (A)
30. Texas A&M
2-2 21

* SMU (H), Idaho (H); L: Oklahoma State (H), Arkansas (N)


Fell out: No. 22 Texas Christian, No. 27 Iowa State

—- Patrick Stevens