This is the ballot I just sent in to the AP office:
1. Notre Dame
3. Ohio State
7. Kansas State
10. Texas A&M
11. Florida State
12. Oregon State
14. South Carolina
21. Oklahoma State
23. Mississippi State
- This is the part where I remind you that no Georgia national title chances were harmed in the making of this ballot. The AP poll isn't a part of the BCS formula - at the AP's own request, back in 2005, because it didn't want to affect the national title anymore. I'm glad it did that, and wouldn't vote if it wasn't the case. That said, I take this vote very seriously and put a lot of thought into it.
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- While Ohio State isn't eligible for the BCS, and thus not a part of the coaches or Harris polls, it is eligible for the AP. Therefore, I must consider them the same way I do everyone else. That said, I see little chance of Ohio State ending up the AP champion, unless there is a bunch of carnage elsewhere. In two weeks if Georgia beats Alabama, I will jump the Bulldogs over the Buckeyes. Heck, I'm not ruling out doing it after next week if Ohio State has a close win over Michigan, and Georgia has a convincing win over Georgia Tech. And if Michigan beats Ohio State, then that takes care of that.
- So why Alabama, but not Georgia, ahead of Ohio State? I explained my reasoning last week, and it hasn't changed, especially after Ohio State got a road win at Wisconsin while Georgia and Alabama just beat FCS teams. Ohio State has four road wins, wins over four teams with winning records, and its opponents' combined record is 57-65. Alabama has three road wins, four wins over teams with winning records and its opponents' record is 61-49. (Not counting Western Carolina, an FCS team.) Alabama also has two wins over top 10 teams, while Ohio State has none. So Alabama's resume' is better enough to be put over an unbeaten Ohio State. Georgia has three road wins (and one "neutral" over Florida), two wins over teams with winning records, and a combined opponent record of 52-58. (Not counting Georgia Southern.) Georgia has one win over a top 10 team, but no other wins over a top 25 team, while Ohio State has one win over a top 25 team. So I don't think Georgia's resume' warrants being ahead of an unbeaten Ohio State. But it's close.
- By the way, you could also make an argument based on resume' for Oregon or even Kansas State over Georgia and Alabama. But Kansas State got throttled by a team that had a losing record. Oregon lost at home, but so did Alabama, but Alabama's resume' is better than Oregon, and Georgia has the momentum factor over Oregon. (Yes, how you're playing at this point in the season matters too.) Also, Georgia and LSU own much better quality wins (Georgia over Florida, Alabama over LSU) than either Oregon and Kansas State.
- Normally I also break down the rest of the ballot, but ... I think this will suffice today.