Here's how my Associated Press top 25 ballot looked this week, followed by an in-depth explanation:
1. Florida State
4. Mississippi State
7. Ohio State
9. Michigan State
12. Kansas State
13. Georgia Tech
14. Arizona State
17. Ole Miss
24. Colorado State
In: Minnesota, Louisville, Colorado State.
Out: Southern California, Nebraska, Duke.
- There's not any movevment in the top seven (the unbeaten and one-loss elite teams). For explanations on how I ranked them, refer to last week, although I will add a note on the No. 1 team.
I gave more thought to dropping Florida State, given that it's just not passing the eye test right now. Too many close wins to mediocre teams, only two wins over a currently-ranked team. It was one, but Louisville earned its way back into my top 25.
But ultimately I decided to hold my nose and keep the Seminoles at No. 1, based on five road wins, those two wins over (barely) top 25 teams, and the fact it hasn't lost yet.
- I took a closer look this week at all the two-loss teams, and here's why I ordered them the way I did:
UCLA's two losses are to ranked teams, with Utah barely staying in the poll, but both of those losses were at home. But the Bruins also have the impressive win at Arizona state, and a total of six road wins.
Michigan State's two losses are to one-loss teams (Oregon and Ohio State.) The Spartans don't own a win over a ranked team, and only have two road wins. But they're crushing the teams they face.
Arizona is living off the win at Oregon, and deservedly so, while its two losses are to UCLA and Southern California by a total of 12 points. Arizona also just crushed Utah on the road, and has a total of four road wins.
Georgia's two losses aren't good, but they're not as bad as people keep saying: Both were away from home, and South Carolina and Florida are both bowl-eligible. Of course by no means are those good losses. Georgia also owns three wins over ranked teams (Auburn, Missouri and Clemson), and three road wins.
Kansas State's two losses are both to ranked teams, and it has one win over a ranked team, that being on the road, and a total of three road wins.
The two resume's are pretty close, so the tiebreaker was Georgia beating Auburn and Kansas State losing to Auburn.
Georgia Tech's two losses are very similar to Georgia: Not terrible, but not good. The Yellow Jackets have one win over a ranked team (Cclemson), and four road wins.
Arizona State has lost to UCLA (but at home) and at Oregon State, and has just one win over a ranked team, that being Utah.
Wisconsin lost to LSU and Northwestern, no wins over ranked teams.
As for Missouri, it's actually behind a bunch of three-loss teams. It still doesn't own a win over a ranked team, and its two losses were both at home, both ugly in its own way. (Losing at Indiana in any way, and getting thumped by Georgia.)
- Clemson gets a bit of a bump (I had it at No. 25) because its win over Louisville on Oct. 11 looks a bit better now. Clemson's three losses are all to teams ranked in the top 20.
- The hardest time I had was finding a final team to put in the poll. The best team for that slot right now, as far as the eye test, may be Arkansas, but those five losses still count. Every other candidate has some bad losses, or a lack of quality wins. (Including two-loss teams such as Boise State and Northern Illinois.) So I went with Utah, which has lost three of its past four and also has a home loss to Washington State. That's how few good choices there were. But three of Utah's losses are to teams in the top 15, and it owns a win over UCLA, as well as recently-unranked Southern California.