Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot
In compiling this week's ballot, I found a definite dropoff after maybe No. 12 or so -- once you get below newly beaten Wisconsin and Oklahoma, there's a ton of one-loss teams that haven't really beaten anyone of significance. Look at Nebraska, South Carolina, Michigan, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Southern Cal -- none have beaten a team ranked when they played them.
A two-loss team can be better than a one-loss team when those losses are against strong competition, and there are better wins to offset them. So looking at Texas Tech, I see two close losses to solid teams, and a huge win against Oklahoma. I still feel compelled to rank Texas A&M ahead because of the head-to-head result, and A&M's losses are both four points or less to current top-10 teams. So I vaulted those two well above the pack of unimpressive one-loss teams.
Last three spots were a tough call. You could make an argument for three Big East teams -- Cincinnati has the best record, but its loss is to unranked Tennessee by 22 points and USF might be its best win; West Virginia and Syracuse were tempting but the Mountaineers haven't beaten anyone worth mentioning, and Syracuse's huge win is impressive but has to be balanced with a 21-point loss to newly ranked USC and an overtime loss to Rutgers.
At one point, I had Baylor, Georgia and Texas -- their only losses are to ranked teams -- but my last move was to trade out Texas for Syracuse, which has wins against another two five-win teams in Wake Forest and Toledo. Having said that, the Orange are at Louisville, at Connecticut and home against USF in the next three weeks, which could easily be two if not three losses.
So here's the ballot. Your feedback, as always, is welcome:
3. Oklahoma State
6. Boise State
8. Michigan State
11. Kansas State
13. Texas A&M
14. Texas Tech
16. South Carolina
17. Arizona State
20. Penn State
21. Virginia Tech