CONSTRUDA NOTE: Austin Ward responded on Tuesday morning to our e-mail and we've posted it at the end of this entry.
A second Associated Press media member has voted Arizona State No. 1 in the most recent college football poll.
This time it's Casper Star-Tribune (Wyoming) sportswriter Austin Ward. He briefly justified his selection, but we'll shoot him an e-mail and post what we hope is more detailed reasoning.
Arizona State currently leads the Pac-10 with a 5-0 conference record and is 8-0 overall. It jumped from No. 12 to No. 7 to No. 6 over the last three weeks. It went 2-0 with a bye and defeated (then 2-3, now 2-6) Washington and No. 18 California, it's first ranked opponent of the season. The knock against the Sun Devils is that they're schedule is weak; their opponents are 28-36 through 10 weeks.
Ohio State received 59 of 65 first-place votes. Boston College is ranked No. 2 and received one first-place vote. LSU, which was idle, received three first-place votes and is ranked third.
Mobile (Alabama) Press-Register scribe Neal McCready currently drives the Sun Devils' bandwagon; he voted the team No. 1 in each of the two previous polls and the most recent. He admirably explained his selection to us.
The Sun Devils are at the beginning of the toughest part of their schedule and will face No. 4 Oregon on Saturday. (Awful Announcing broke the news earlier today that ESPN nabbed the rights to show this game to a national audience.) Games against mercurial UCLA, super-talented but inconsistent (No. 13) USC, and a rivarly game against Arizona remain.
Austin Ward's e-mailed response:
I can't think of a single sexy thing about Ohio State. Typically the Buckeyes can get away with a non-conference slate of cream puffs because they can count on the Big Ten schedule making things tough, but is there even one other team in the league that can compete with them this year? My feeling is no, even though Michigan won't be easy.
As such, it would take quite a bit for me to move them higher than No. 3. I haven't been shy about shaking up my ballot, especially with ASU and BC taking up the top slots this week and replacing LSU and Oklahoma. I think the Bayou Bengals and Sooners are the most talented teams in the nation, but the Sun Devils and Eagles aren't leaving them much room for error.
As far as the Sun Devils, I believe they have the best resume of the unbeatens. Boston College certainly picked up a very impressive win last week, but I think most people were already counting out ASU and ignoring what a tough test Cal figured to be -- and were -- on Saturday. ASU has been resilient all season and plays in a far tougher league, but an out-of-league win over Colorado has stood up reasonably well and was the toughest of the 12 between the top three perfect squads.
NOTE: We can't, for the life of us, find who picked up this story today. Construda has been blowing up from a link from a larger blog/website. If any of our readers can point us to where they found this story, please do so. Our e-mail is email@example.com. Thanks. Also, we apologize for calling Mr. Ward 'Adam.'