Here's how my Associated Press top 25 ballot looked this week:
2. Ohio State
7. Oklahoma State
11. Florida State
15. Texas A&M
16. South Carolina
20. Notre Dame
21. Ole Miss
22. Northern Illinois
24. Texas Tech
Moving in: Ole Miss, Texas Tech, UCF.
Moving out: Nebraska, Wisconsin, TCU.
- Texas A&M only fell one spot on my ballot because I already had the Aggies lower than others did, and I won’t dock them severely after losing by a touchdown to the nation’s top-ranked team.
- UCLA vaulted up because of an impressive road win at Nebraska. (Albeit, after a very slow start.) I still believe Georgia deserves to be the top one-loss team in the poll, but UCLA getting such a quality road win makes it a deserving top 10 team.
- On the other hand, unbeaten Michigan dropped behind not only UCLA but Georgia and Florida State purely on style points. It’s early enough in the season that I reserve the right to evaluate how a team wins, and having to inch out a home win over Akron doesn’t cut it.
- So why not dock Stanford the style points for only beating Army by 10? Because it at least didn’t struggle the way Michigan did, and more importantly Stanford was on the road.
- I don’t believe a team needs to move up only if teams ahead of it lose. So when you look at Georgia at No. 10, for instance, in two weeks if it can knock off LSU, the Bulldogs would not only leap LSU but probably Louisville (with a weak schedule) and possibly Oklahoma State. Right now this poll is a blend of preseason expectations and performance. But we’re getting to the point where there will be enough in-season evidence to make body of work the ultimate arbiter.
- There are a lot of teams right now that can make a case for being in the 18-25 range. The wacky ending to the Wisconsin-Arizona State game makes it hard to evaluate each team. Some other one-loss teams are poised to re-enter: Virginia Tech, Boise State, and TCU among them.
- I held out on Ole Miss last week, while other people voted enough for the Rebels that they were ranked No. 25. This week a road win at Texas convinces me. Yes, the Longhorns look pretty bad right now, but it's still a road win, and by three touchdowns.