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Full disclosure: My latest AP ballot



I faced a hard choice on this week's ballot, setting me up for criticism -- varying in degree from scathing to subtle -- regardless of how I decided.

Which makes it no different than any other week. This time around, I'd invariably be branded a homer or hypocrite (or perhaps worse in the unfiltered galaxy of cyberspace), depending on the direction I took. All well and good. Let the vitriol fly; you won't hit a jaded conscience.

I put USF on my ballot.

Only a week ago, I indicated the Bulls' mid-September loss at Maryland was simply too ugly for them to warrant a ballot spot. Then I scrutinized the rest of my rankings. If I'm going to absolve other prominent teams (i.e. Oklahoma, FSU, North Carolina, Washington State, etc.) of unsightly defeats, I must do the same for the Bulls.

Moreover, I consider them among the 25 best teams in the country today (Apparently, so do a few others). Such is the inexact science of balancing a body of work against recent performance.

Elsewhere, I'm likely to catch flak for keeping Clemson at No. 1 despite the Tigers' struggle at 3-9 South Carolina. As an opponent of the style-points philosopy, I can't bring myself to penalize a team for entering its most hostile environment of the season -- with the rivalry dynamic at work -- and winning.

1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. Michigan State
5. Ohio State
6. Iowa
7. Stanford
8. FSU
9. Notre Dame
10. North Carolina
11. TCU
12. Baylor
13. Oklahoma State
14. Houston
15. Oregon
16. Florida
17. Ole Miss
18. Utah
19. Michigan
20. Northwestern
21. Navy
22. Temple
23. USC
24. LSU
25. USF

[Last modified: Sunday, November 29, 2015 2:08pm]


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