My AP Poll ballot: Week 16

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.

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the end of the regular season. For the last time ever, the BCS has picked the two teams that will play for the national title, and I don't think anyone can argue that Florida State and Auburn are the most deserving. For as much flak as the BCS has taken over the years, it's sort of fitting that it goes out with a season where it really gives us a nice 1 vs. 2 matchup. A four-team playoff would have been way, way messier this year and, as is usually the case, the teams sorted themselves out. Here's a link to the full poll, and here's my final AP ballot of the regular season...

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

- Florida State cruised past Duke, and easily holds on to the No. 1 spot. Auburn gets the expected bump up from Ohio State losing. Pretty much what you would expect in the top two spots given the results.

- I have Alabama No. 3, but it wasn't necessarily an easy call. I stuck with the Tide here because their only loss of the year came on the road, against the No. 2 team in the country on one of the most ridiculous plays of this generation. If you look at the rest of Alabama's schedule, they certainly have some nice wins (vs. Virginia Tech, at Texas A&M and vs. LSU) but nothing that really jumps off the page against another top-five type of team. I think it's really pretty close between Alabama, Stanford, Baylor and Michigan State, and I could see putting those four teams in any order.

- I still have Stanford up at No. 4 even though the Cardinal have two losses just because of the number of quality wins they have. Two wins over Arizona State (the latter in the Pac 12 championship game on the road), plus wins over Oregon and UCLA are very impressive. If the Cardinal were a one-loss team, I think they might have a very compelling argument for a spot in the title game instead of Auburn.

- Ohio State drops to No. 7 after losing in the Big Ten title game to Michigan State. I don't think the Buckeyes were "exposed" against the Spartans. I think they're still an excellent team that got beat by another excellent team. Michigan State hasn't gotten a ton of respect this year (and I'm as guilty of that as anyone) but the Spartans were one questionable loss at Notre Dame away from playing for a national title.

- One of the things I really tried to do in this poll was not punish teams for losing in conference championship games. It doesn't seem fair that teams like LSU and UCF should jump Arizona State, for instance, just because the Sun Devils had to play an extra game because they won their division. Missouri drops three spots after losing to Auburn and Arizona State only drops a spot after losing to Stanford. It doesn't seem totally fair that The biggest fall in that regard was the Buckeyes, who really only fell behind teams that won conference titles.

- In a similar theme, most idle teams like Wisconsin and Texas A&M stayed fairly steady this week. Duke also only dropped two spots after getting destroyed by Florida State. The Blue Devils are still very good, Florida State is elite.

- Northern Illinois is still on my ballot even after the Huskies lost to Bowling Green Friday night. I've watched a lot of Northern Illinois games this season (why, what are you doing on Wednesday nights?) and the Huskies are still a very good team. I think, given the right matchup, they could have given a top-15 team trouble in a potential BCS game. They fell short, though, but Jordan Lynch might still make that trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

- The bottom three teams in the poll really could have gone a couple of ways. I don't feel great about any of those three schools, but Georgia and Notre Dame both have a few nice wins (LSU and South Carolina for Georgia, Arizona State and Michigan State for Notre Dame). Vanderbilt might not have the same "Wow" factor, but 8-4 against an SEC schedule is pretty impressive.

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