Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot
One last ballot for the Associated Press Top 25, and Alabama made it easy. A resounding 21-0 victory over LSU justified their presence in the national title game and showed their defense was the single most impressive unit in college football. Two games against the No. 1 team in the country, and they gave up zero touchdowns.
Didn't really consider dropping LSU any lower than No. 2, just based on their overall body of work -- eight wins against ranked opponents. I'm all the more in favor of a plus-one system, in that Oklahoma State has the right to wonder how it would fare against either SEC power.
Hardest thing might have been ranking the three Pac-12 powers -- I felt like Oregon reinforced its position as the best of the group in beating Wisconsin. Even though USC beat the Ducks, I still see USC's loss to Arizona State as easily the worst loss among the three, and Stanford got the edge based on the head-to-head result. I can understand how others arrived at different answers from the same three-team puzzle.
Do you rank Michigan State or Wisconsin higher? They split two meetings, had the same record ... Michigan State won its bowl in OT, Wisconsin lost to a top-five team by a single score. I went with Wisconsin because they won the Big Ten championship and played as well as Michigan State in the bowl game. I also slid both ahead of Baylor -- that offense is incredible, but giving up 56 points to Washington, not so much so.
Bottom of the poll? Thought about Cincinnati, but the Bearcats really don't have a quality win, and two bad losses to Tennessee and Rutgers. Dropped Penn State out in favor of a five-loss Auburn, which had all its losses to current ranked teams and had a bunch of quality wins, led by South Carolina. Missouri also got a look, but the wins weren't quite as good ... As always, thanks for your feedback on this ...
3. Oklahoma State
5. Boise State
9. South Carolina
12. Michigan State
16. Kansas State
18. West Virginia
20. Southern Miss
22. Florida State
23. Virginia Tech