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My AP Poll ballot: Week 10

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.

The top of the poll stayed relatively clean this week, but there was plenty of shuffling around the bottom half of the ballot. Without further ado, here's a link to this week's poll, and here's my ballot...

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

- I think we've been waiting all season for Ohio State to show us something โ€” anything โ€” indicating that their ranking is actually based on merit and not just a weak Big Ten schedule. Well done, Buckeyes. A 63-14 obliteration of Penn State certainly qualifies. Ohio State is still definitely a solid third behind Alabama, Oregon and Florida State, but it definitely belongs in the conversation at this point. I think Ohio State is going to have a problem if multiple teams remain undefeated (and if Baylor runs the table they would probably move ahead of OSU), but I think any thoughts of a one-loss team jumping ahead of an undefeated Ohio State team can be put to rest now.

- I was surprised to see my fellow voters flip-flop Miami and Stanford this week. The Hurricanes survived by a hair again against Wake Forest, and Stanford beat a decent Oregon State team on the road (although the Cardinal had to hold on at the end too). My philosophy, though, is that through nine weeks of the season, undefeated in a major conference is worth something. Miami hasn't been impressive, but they've come away with wins in every game, and that's tough to do. This will probably all sort itself out this week anyways when the 'Canes have to play at Florida State (prediction: pain).

- Missouri drops to No. 11 after their heartbreaking loss to South Carolina at home. The Tigers still control their own destiny in the SEC East and, by that measure, the SEC in general. At this point, I think they just have to weather the storm and hope that quarterback James Franklin can return in time for their last two games at Ole Miss and vs. Texas A&M to lock up a BCS spot.

- Texas Tech also drops two spots and Oklahoma jumps up as a result of their game in Norman. Not going to penalize the Red Raiders too much for a close conference loss on the road against a good team (plus, no one behind them really did much to move up.) Oklahoma seems to have sorted some things out offensively after the loss to Texas, and now has a bye week to prepare for a Thursday night showdown against Baylor in Waco that could very well decide the Big 12 title.

- Oklahoma State made a pretty sizable jump in my poll this week from No. 24 to No. 16. Part of this was teams like Virginia Tech losing, but I also think there was some correction needed on the Cowboys. Despite the mess that is their quarterback position, their offense has actually looked pretty good the last few weeks. It's not exactly conventional for Mike Gundy, but they're winning games and putting up points.

- UCLA drops from No. 10 to No. 17 after losing at Oregon. The Bruins put up a fight, but Oregon was just too much. I don't love what has happened to UCLA's offense over the last couple of weeks, as it appears to have stagnated a bit. Losing back-to-back games against Stanford and Oregon is nothing to hang your head about, necessarily, but they can't let it affect them like Washington did and spiral out of control.

- Central Florida jumps up ahead of Louisville. Both teams looked pretty good this week, but there was probably some correction needed to reflect the Knights' win at Louisville. Plus, with some teams losing, there was room for them to move up.

- Fresno State almost lost its undefeated season late Saturday night against San Diego State but held on and Northern Illinois kept on trucking. Ultimately, I think it's going to take some teams ahead of them suffering their third losses for the Bulldogs and Huskies to move up in the polls. I do think one of them will end up ahead of the AAC winner, though, which is enough to guarantee a BCS bid.

- I kept Virginia Tech in my top 25, which most voters did not. Yes, losing at home to Duke is bad, but the Blue Devils are not a terrible team, and appear to be rounding into form. Virginia Tech's only other loss is to Alabama, and I still think the Hokies' defense is good enough to keep them in pretty much any game. I thought about Michigan and Michigan State to move in, and the winner of that game probably will jump into my poll next week.

- I actually dropped Notre Dame down a spot this week, just in some shuffling, even though the Irish looked very, very impressive against an overmatched Air Force team. The Irish beat Michigan State and Arizona State, both ranked ahead of them, earlier in the season and have only lost against No. 13 Oklahoma and on the road against a Michigan team. I think my fellow voters may be underrating the Irish a bit, but it doesn't really matter because the picture for them is simple: Win out, and likely make a BCS bowl game. Notre Dame only needs to finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings to be eligible (and if they're eligible, they'll get picked), and a 10-2 Irish team that wins at Stanford in the season finale would almost certainly be ranked high enough. It may not be fair, necessarily, but that's the way it is.

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