Full disclosure: My first AP football ballot
While filling out my first Associated Press top-25 football ballot in a decade earlier this morning, the strains of The Godfather theme slithered like an earworm in my subconscious.
After 10 years of voter abstinence, they pulled me back in.
Submitting a weekly ballot -- a task I really don't mind -- was among the responsibilities I inherited from Times USF beat-writing predecessor Greg Auman. Truth be told, it was an offer I could've refused, but gladly chose to accept.
An avid college football follower already, I used the previous week's poll as a guide, watched a bunch of action Saturday, did a bit of considering and contemplating, and submitted by ballot around 8 a.m. today.
A little bit on my thought process:
I'm already thinking I have UCLA ranked too low and Michigan too high. I deemed LSU's win Saturday against a prominent foe a bit more impressive than Stanford's. I dropped Arizona State from the top 25, supplanting it with Fresno State.
I've got Florida on the top-20 bubble, but I like the leadership and mobility of new QB Tyler Murphy. And I actually thought long and hard about undefeated Maryland before deciding against ranking the Terps.
Anyway, the following are the rankings I must live with for this week. Just bear in mind, this is my first ballot since 2003, when Ron Zook was coaching the Gators, Ron Franklin was ESPN's lead college football analyst, and Ron Reagan was still alive.
4. Ohio State
10. Texas A&M
11. South Carolina
13. Oklahoma State
21. Ole Miss
22. Notre Dame
24. Texas Tech
25. Fresno State