Once again I made some changes to my Associated Press top 25 ballot, especially at the top. Here's is how it looked, followed by explanations:
2. Florida State
6. Ohio State
8. Mississippi State
9. Michigan State
10. Kansas State
11. Georgia Tech
13. Ole Miss
14. Arizona State
24. Southern California
25. Boise State
Out: Marshall, Colorado State, Minnesota.
In: LSU, Southern California, Boise State.
- I finally gave in and dropped Florida State from the top spot. For weeks I had considered putting Oregon or Alabama ahead of unbeaten FSU because the Seminoles just weren't that impressive. After Saturday, I had enough of the Seminoles' ways. Oregon and FSU have the same amount of road wins (five), while Oregon has more wins over currently-ranked teams (three versus two). Oregon's best win is also better (over Michigan State, while FSU's best win is over Clemson.) Throw in the eye test, and the nod goes to Oregon.
- So why not Alabama? Frankly, I'd favor the Crimson Tide over the Seminoles on a neutral field, but it's still about resume'. Alabama has four road wins, one less than Florida State, and one more win over a currently-ranked team. It's close, very close, but not quite enough to push Alabama over a team that has one less loss. Oregon's situation is a bit more compelling, at least in my opinion.
- And on a similar note: For awhile I had been keeping Baylor ahead of TCU because of head-to-head. But now TCU for me has passed Baylor in overall criteria, including body of work and the eye test. However ... it could be a short-lived move on my ballot. One difference in their resume's right now is TCU beating Kansas State, and Baylor plays Kansas State this week. If Baylor wins that game, there's a good chance that's enough to bump the Bears ahead on my ballot. I'm not settled on that, so we shall see.
- Arizona became my top-ranked two-loss team by virtue of a third win over a ranked team. Mississippi State has two, but both of its losses are to ranked teams. (So are Arizona's.) Michigan State has two good losses (Oregon and Ohio State) but zero wins over ranked teams. Georgia Tech now has two wins over ranked teams, but its two losses are to unranked teams. (And again, this is unranked by mypoll.) Kansas State is higher than Georgia Tech because the Wildcats have better losses (Auburn and at TCU) and one win over a ranked team. Wisconsin has just one win over a ranked team (Minnesota, and not very highly-ranked) and that loss at Northwestern is an eyesore.
- Missouri remains behind some three-loss teams, despite its run to the SEC East title. Why? The Tiger's body of work remains weak overall. Zero wins over teams I have ranked. The home loss to Indiana. Getting boat-raced at home by Georgia. The six-game win streak is impressive, as is the total of five road wins. I think Missouri can give Alabama a good test this Saturday. But the Tigers' have too many deficiencies in their resume' right now to be highly ranked.
- The more Wisconsin wins, the better LSU's win over the Badgers looks. Which is part of the reason Les Miles' boys are back in my poll.
- I wasn't crazy about Marshall and Colorado State being in my rankings at all - not because I don't like the little guy, but because they hadn't beaten anybody. Now it's not a problem. Both are out. So is Minnesota, which was a nice story, but it just hasn't done enough to stay in.