Full disclosure: My latest AP ballot
Even in the wake of USF's latest road triumph, even as it renders previous program benchmarks obsolete, even as it grazes a 10-win season, my doubts about the Bulls' top-25 candidacy haven't dissipated much.
I'm just not totally sold on them as a top-25 program. Is 9-2 USF better than 6-4 LSU? For that matter, should the Bulls be ranked instead of Temple? I have no clear answer.
But I do have a clear conviction: Bulls QB Quinton Flowers remains woefully under-appreciated nationally.
That belief was fortified in Sunday's wee hours, when ESPN's "Heisman-ology" listed Louisville's Lamar Jackson, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Alabama's Jalen Hurts, Clemson's Deshaun Watson and Michigan's Jabrill Peppers.
Perhaps the Heisman electorate is guilty of Power Five bias. Perhaps the AP pollsters are guilty of the same. Tailgating will be outlawed in Tuscaloosa before that debate wanes.
But my stance on Flowers is fortified by numbers and intangibles. So for the third time this season, the Bulls appear on my ballot.
It wasn't so much a vote for USF, but for its quarterback. With 3,672 total yards (a USF season record), 22 TD passes (tying his own school season record) and too many clutch moments to number, Flowers warrants some national attention.
Perhaps an appearance by his team in the top 25 will expedite that. Hence my vote.
I don't know if this constitutes voter indiscretion, and let's be clear: I'm not doing this if USF isn't a bubble ballot contender. A solid top-25 argument can be made for USF. At this point, I just don't know if it's compelling enough.
Consider Flowers my tie-breaker. He's already a record-breaker, many times over.
And he deserves more national recognition.
2. Ohio State
8. Penn State
11. Oklahoma State
16. Western Michigan
18. Boise State
19. Washington State
21. West Virginia
23. Virginia Tech
25. North Carolina