Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot
Here's one way to avoid regional bias in compiling an Associated Press Top 25 ballot: Compile that ballot overnight during three flights spanning Nevada to California to Miami to Tampa. Was I suddenly more aware of the Pac-12? Did I wind up finishing the poll with an SEC slant?
Hardest thing this week is being OK with dropping four ranked teams -- Arkansas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and Nebraska -- completely off my ballot. I had Arkansas 8th last week, but when you look now, what have they shown? Oklahoma State's 84-thumping of a bad I-AA doesn't mean anything. Wisconsin, which I had badly overrated entering the season, just misses the cut.
Instead, you have to reward teams that have shown something on the field -- no, I can't bring myself to rank a Louisiana-Monroe team right now, but they've succeeded in knocking Arkansas out of the poll until they show something. Final spot in the poll had about five different teams crossed out -- ultimately went with UCLA, which I don't think will hold up but deserves the nod after beating Nebraska.
Slight tweaks at the top -- LSU's domination of Washington moved them back ahead of USC, which wasn't as convincing against Syracuse; I also moved Oregon ahead of Oklahoma, respecting the Ducks' 35-6 first half against Fresno. Here you go -- I welcome your comments and criticisms, as always.
6. Florida State
9. Michigan State
10. South Carolina
11. West Virginia
12. Virginia Tech
13. Ohio State
15. Kansas State
21. Oregon State
22. Notre Dame