Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot
Wild week to fill out a ballot, with four undefeated teams losing and nine ranked teams falling overall -- that allows for shakeups throughout the poll.
-- I've made a big move at the top, sliding Notre Dame and Kansas State ahead of Oregon. Seems like a tough move when the Ducks continue to be as dominant as they've been, but to this point, they haven't faced nearly as tough a schedule as the Irish or Wildcats. I see Notre Dame with wins against Oklahoma and Stanford (and three other top 50 teams), and Kansas State beating Oklahoma, Texas Tech and West Virginia. Oregon hasn't beaten a team with less than three losses, though the Arizona win is gaining value, for sure. If the Ducks continue to dominate with USC, Stanford and Oregon State in its final four games, they can move back up.
-- How do you rank Florida, Georgia and LSU? If you looked at blank resumes and didn't weigh head-to-head results or conference standings, you'd say Georgia has the worst resume. The Gators are Georgia's only win against a top-50 opponent; Florida has three top 25 wins, including soundly beating a South Carolina team that soundly beat Georgia. LSU also beat South Carolina and Texas A&M. But because of head-to-head and conference standing, I have to put Georgia ahead of Florida, as well as Florida ahead of LSU.
-- Arizona is my first three-loss team on a ballot, but the Wildcats look strong. All three losses are to teams ranked in my top 20, including overtime vs. Stanford and three points to Oregon State, and Arizona has three solid wins against USC, Toledo and Oklahoma State. I moved them ahead of USC, even with the extra loss, because USC hasn't faced either Oregon team and its best win is against 4-4 Washington. (Washington has two wins against current top 20 teams in Stanford and Oregon State, and all four losses are to ranked teams, but three are by 30 points or more, so can't seriously consider them.)
-- Lots of one-loss teams on the top-25 bubble, but so few have beaten anyone of consequence. Dropped Rutgers clear out from No. 14 after a 12-point loss to Kent State. Strongly considered ranking Kent State, but their one loss is terrible -- by 33 points to a Kentucky team that is now 1-7. Louisiana Tech hasn't beaten anyone ranked higher than 90, Tulsa and Northern Illinois are a little better, but their losses are worse than their best wins. Toledo's only loss -- in OT to Arizona -- looks better now, so they stay in even though the Cincinnati win holds less water with the Bearcats' second loss.
-- You have these chains of two-loss teams -- Oklahoma State looks good, but they lost to Texas, and Texas is tempting, but they lost to West Virginia. I had West Virginia in my last spot, but I like Nebraska better, with three top-50 wins instead of just one. And despite a bad loss to Cal, I like UCLA to stay ahead of Nebraska because of their head-to-head result.
In the end, I wound up keeping Ohio in the poll despite a 3-point loss to Miami (Ohio) -- seems odd, but their best win (Penn State) is still better than the best for the other bubble options, and their loss isn't as bad as Kent State's.
As always, I look forward to your comment and criticisms -- who do I have too high, or too low, and so on. Here's the full ballot ...
2. Notre Dame
3. Kansas State
5. Ohio State
9. Florida State
13. South Carolina
14. Oregon State
15. Texas A&M
17. Texas Tech
19. Mississippi State
21. Boise State