Texas Tech's rise to No. 2 in the latest Associated Press poll is precisely why I would never want to vote, and why I've always said that if offered, despite the honor, I would respectfully decline.
For this reason: Newspapers are supposed to cover the news, not make it.
I don't want to be part of the story. Nor do I want the enormous burden of the financial and passionate pressure that goes with having a vote.
It's a lose-lose situation: With all things being relatively equal, if you vote for the local team, you're a homer. If you don't, you're an ... well, you get the idea.
Rather than organize a legitimate playoff, college football relies on polls and thrives on computers and controversy and all but forces teams to roll up scores, thus cheapening an otherwise great sport.
That said, and knowing this position will not be popular around here, much less my own house, I can understand why Texas Tech jumped the Nittany Lions.
Penn State's best win came at Ohio State, then ranked No. 9.
Texas Tech's best win came Saturday night, at home but against the No. 1 team.
Probing a little deeper: In Ohio State's biggest moment, the Buckeyes laid an egg at Southern Cal, and in Texas' biggest moment, the Longhorns beat Oklahoma. Both USC and the Sooners were ranked No. 1 at the time of those games.
Just ask yourself: Which team was more impressive when it mattered most - Texas Tech or Penn State?
Neither team played a taxing non-conference schedule, but the Lions should get credit for beating Oregon State, which whipped USC. Texas Tech did nothing comparable in the non-conference.
The upside is those ahead of the Lions, No. 1 Alabama and now No. 2 Texas Tech, will be heavily challenged in the coming weeks. Alabama has at least two good chances to lose (at LSU Saturday, Auburn and in the SEC championship game, probably against Florida). Ditto Tech, which must beat Oklahoma State Saturday, win at Oklahoma and capture the Big 12 final.
If either or both win out, they deserve to be in the BCS title game.
The more logical scenario will find one or both looking up at Penn State, which - as an underdog - in turn could be staring hard at a national championship matchup with Florida.
I'll at least vote for that.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.