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Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot

18

November

Huge upheaval at the top of the polls -- this is what makes college football's regular season a great thing. Even with a four-team playoff, you would see Oregon and Kansas State effectively eliminated from such a postseason with their losses Saturday -- Kansas State's loss is bad enough it might have knocked them out of an eight-team model in a single day.

The first debate is Ohio State vs. Alabama for No. 2 -- the Tide have the best single win with LSU, and the rest of their wins are all by at least 19 points, but I don't think the other factors are enough to override the fact that the Buckeyes haven't lost. Alabama's opponents are 53-57, Ohio State's are 57-65, so the schedules are comparable. If Ohio State beats Michigan, it will validate them being ahead of Alabama; if they lose that game, they'll fall below.

Do you put Oregon above or below Georgia and Florida? Oregon's loss is more excusable than Georgia's, while Georgia has a better best win than Oregon, whose opponents all have at least three losses. I feel compelled to keep Georgia ahead of Florida because of the head-to-head and division title, but Georgia has only two wins against I-A teams with winning records. Two! I'll keep Georgia ahead right now (again, they'll either beat Alabama and validate, or lose and drop) and Florida has a stronger strength of schedule than Oregon does, so the Ducks fall to No. 6. I can understand some voters putting Oregon fourth, based on their dominance -- they're 11 points a game better than Georgia against a tougher schedule.

How far to drop Kansas State? I have them 10th -- you have a 28-point loss to an otherwise unimpressive Baylor team. It's a worse loss than FSU's only loss, but I keep them ahead because Kansas State has five top-50 wins and FSU still has only one. I understand criticism about having FSU lower than nearly all voters -- they've played one game that registers with me, against a Clemson team whose best win is still ... Ball State.

Bottom of the poll was again a difficult challenge -- looked at about 15 teams for final five spots. I've been hesistant to rank Northern Illinois, but they have two top-50 wins and their only loss is by a single point, so they're in. And Kent State has a 33-point loss to a worse opponent in Kentucky, so they're below NIU, and Rutgers has to be below Kent State because they lost head-to-head and the Scarlet Knights' best win is still just Cincinnati.

Last spot? Looked at Tulsa, but Boise has closer, better losses and comparable wins. Utah State's two losses are by a combined five points, so I put them in for their overtime win against a Louisiana Tech team I'd been hesitant to rank in the first place. Was tempting to rank Mississippi State -- their three losses are all to top 10 teams, but they're all by 20-plus points, and the Bulldogs' best win is ... Middle Tennessee? You have to beat someone of relevance.

Here's your ballot -- have at it ...

1. Notre Dame
2. Ohio State
3. Alabama
4. Georgia
5. Florida
6. Oregon
7. LSU
8. Texas A&M
9. Stanford
10. Kansas State
11. Oklahoma
12. South Carolina
13. Florida State
14. Clemson
15. Oregon State
16. UCLA
17. Nebraska
18. Texas
19. Louisville
20. Michigan
21. Oklahoma State
22. Northern Illinois
23. Kent State
24. Rutgers
25. Utah State

[Last modified: Sunday, November 18, 2012 9:34am]

    

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