Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot
The big call this week is at No. 1, and I'm sticking with Oregon, even though I think Ohio State will end up the new No. 1 -- the Ducks have been more dominant, and I think their 21-point win against Stanford is more impressive than the Buckeyes' win against Miami.
The quandary in slotting the 13 undefeated teams is choosing between teams who have dominated unimpressive teams or those who have edged tougher opponents. Auburn and LSU each have four wins by eight points or less -- does that mean they're battle-tested or vulnerable? I'm tempted to move Oklahoma up, because they've beaten the best teams, dominating FSU and beating solid Texas, Cincinnati and Air Force teams.
Along the same lines, I've re-evaluated Utah and decided the Utes haven't shown me much. Their opponents are a combined 7-22, and the lone quality win, against Pittsburgh, was less dominant than Notre Dame or Michigan managed.
It's finally impossible to avoid a direct contradiction in the rankings, where Team A is below Team B, which has the same record and lost to Team A. I can still work out the SEC chain for now (Auburn > South Carolina > Alabama > Arkansas) but if Arkansas can win at Auburn this week, the whole deal is toast. But it's hard to justify ranking a one-loss Arizona team ahead of the one-loss Iowa team they beat three weeks ago, even if Iowa's only quality win is against a still-dropping Penn State team.
Finally, Oregon State is my first two-loss team -- its only losses are close and to teams in the current top five. I gave consideration to Florida and Miami, but neither team has beaten a team in the current rankings, and Miami's 28-point home loss to FSU was damaging. The Gators don't face a ranked team for a month, so they'll have a chance to move back in, and Miami might not play a ranked team again this year. Here goes, and as always, I welcome your comments and feedback.
2. Ohio State
3. Boise State
9. South Carolina
11. Michigan State
15. Oklahoma State
18. Florida State
22. West Virginia
23. Oregon State
24. Air Force