My AP Poll ballot: Week 7

Written by Sam Werner on .

Each week, I'll go through my AP Top 25 ballot and give a few thoughts on how I voted and how it compares to the overall poll results.

This was an interesting week, as a couple of teams at the top (and middle) of the poll made some statements with victories. We still haven't gotten the poll-shaking upset that significantly alters the top 10, but we've definitely learned more about a lot of the teams that are national championship contenders at this point in the season...

  1. Alabama
  2. Oregon
  3. Clemson
  4. Stanford
  5. Florida State
  6. Ohio State
  7. Louisville
  8. Georgia
  9. LSU
  10. Texas A&M
  11. Baylor
  12. South Carolina
  13. UCLA
  14. Washington
  15. Oklahoma
  16. Miami (Fla.)
  17. Michigan
  18. Florida
  19. Texas Tech
  20. Northwestern
  21. Fresno State
  22. Virginia Tech
  23. Northern Illinois
  24. Oklahoma State
  25. Notre Dame

- Probably the most significant change to my poll at the top is sliding Florida State up to No. 5, ahead of Ohio State. The Seminoles' 63-0 thrashing of a pretty decent Maryland team was enough to convince me that they firmly belong in the national title mix. This isn't a knock on the Buckeyes, at all. If anything, I was very impressed by their ability to rally against Northwestern (which is also a pretty good team) in a road environment. That said, I just think that right now, on a neutral field, Florida State would beat Ohio State. The Seminoles' defense, a bit of a question mark coming into the season, appears to have really rounded into form. We'll know a lot more about Florida State in a couple of weeks when they have to travel to Clemson.

- I jumped Baylor up to No. 11 after the Bears annihilated West Virginia on Saturday night. I'm not completely sold on the Bears' defense, but I'm very willing to be proven wrong there. The biggest problem is Baylor won't really face a true test until it has to play Oklahoma the first weekend in November. Sure, it's fun as heck to watch them rack up insane offensive numbers and point totals, but I'm holding off on judging them a truly elite team until they face a quality opponent.
For now, that's the reason I still have Louisville ahead of the Bears. The Cardinals demolished Ohio 49-7 in week one, and the Bobcats are probably the best team either Louisville or Baylor have faced thus far. That's reason enough for me to give the Cardinals the edge for now.
Those two teams are the toughest to judge right now, because they really haven't played anybody. Louisville was supposed to be able to make a statement against Rutgers this week, but after the Scarlet Knights looked pretty brutal in almost blowing a big lead to SMU, I'm not sure how impressive even a big win would be.

- I only dropped Washington one spot after taking Stanford to the wire late Saturday night. I was really impressed with the way the Huskies hung with the Cardinal and looked the part of a top 20 team. They host Oregon this week, so it's eminently possible Washington could lose again but not drop too far. I'd like their chances for an upset over the Ducks more if playing Stanford wasn't such a taxing ordeal. The way the Cardinal play, Washington will probably be pretty banged up and bruised this week.

- Oklahoma didn't exactly inspire me barely holding off TCU. There was probably some hangover after a big win at Notre Dame the week before, but I think they're behind Baylor in terms of Big 12 favorites right now.

- Similar to with Washington, I only dropped Northwestern a spot after taking Ohio State down to the wire. I really like Northwestern's defense, and they're a pretty interesting offensive team with Kain Colter's versatility and Venric Mark's big-play ability. It wouldn't surprise me if the Wildcats got another shot at Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game.

- Virginia Tech is back in my top 25 after their win against North Carolina. The Hokies' offense still isn't that inspiring, but Logan Thomas has looked a lot better these last few weeks. I'm not totally sold on his ability to keep it going (he struggled mightily against Pitt last year), but Virginia Tech's defense is good enough to keep them in pretty much every game. Looks like their Nov. 9 game against Miami could be for the Coastal Division title.

- I dropped Oklahoma State a spot after barely edging out a pretty bad Kansas State team at home. At this point, the Cowboys certainly don't look like Big 12 title contenders.

- Notre Dame comes back at No. 25. The Irish defense contained an explosive Arizona State offense on Saturday night and, for the first time, looked at least close to the defense we saw last year. I think there's a ceiling for how good Notre Dame can be with Tommy Rees at quarterback, but this was an encouraging sign for the Irish.

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