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Our AP top 25 ballot: Miami Hurricanes out, Georgia and Michigan up

Mario Cristobal’s coaching malpractice dropped The U out of our rankings as FSU remains in our top three.
 
The Miami Hurricanes dropped out of our AP top 25 rankings after a mind-numbing home loss to Georgia Tech.
The Miami Hurricanes dropped out of our AP top 25 rankings after a mind-numbing home loss to Georgia Tech. [ AL DIAZ/ADIAZ@MIAMIHERALD.COM | Miami Herald ]
Published Oct. 8, 2023|Updated Oct. 8, 2023

Mario Cristobal’s clock management in the Miami Hurricanes’ stunning loss to Georgia Tech was one of the worst examples of coaching malpractice I’ve ever seen. As a result, Miami dropped out of my AP top 25 ballot during a turbulent week for rankings.

The Yellow Jackets were coming off an 11-point home loss to lowly Bowling Green — a game in which they gave up 38 consecutive points. That backdrop alone made Miami’s performance shaky enough at Hard Rock Stadium. The fact that the Hurricanes bungled a chance to win it when Cristobal chose to run the ball instead of taking a knee, then surrendered a 44-yard, game-losing touchdown is inexplicable. I can’t justify ranking Miami after that performance, which is why the Hurricanes went from 13th to out in my rankings.

Ohio State remains atop the shrinking cluster of very good teams. The Buckeyes have issues but pulled away from a top-30 Maryland team to win by 20. Every Ohio State win is by at least 20 points other than a close loss to a good Notre Dame team. I’ll take that resume over Georgia or anyone else.

Georgia jumped into second on our AP top 25 ballot.
Georgia jumped into second on our AP top 25 ballot. [ SILAS WALKER | Lexington Herald-Leader ]

The Bulldogs moved from fourth to second after crushing a good Kentucky team. I considered Georgia at No. 1 but couldn’t get past the close wins over Auburn and South Carolina. Florida State stayed at No. 3 after cruising past Virginia Tech.

Michigan came next after another dominant win over a team that isn’t great (52-10 over Minnesota). The Wolverines are destroying their opponents, but their weak strength of schedule weighs them down compared to comparable teams.

Oklahoma leaped nine spots to fifth with its thrilling win over Texas. The undefeated Sooners have won every game by at least 14 points and now have a quality victory, too. I’m not sure they’re a national championship contender, but they deserve their ranking this week. The Longhorns dropped six spots to ninth.

Other AP top 25 thoughts

The Pac-12 is starting to cannibalize itself, as evidenced by UCLA's win over Washington State.
The Pac-12 is starting to cannibalize itself, as evidenced by UCLA's win over Washington State. [ LUIS SINCO | Los Angeles Times ]

• Aside from undefeated Washington (sixth), Oregon (seventh) and USC (11th), the Pac-12 is a mess. UCLA beat Washington State on Saturday. The Cougars previously beat Oregon State, which beat Utah, which beat UCLA. All four of those teams have only one loss, which makes it hard to sort through. I settled on this: Washington State is 14th thanks to a boost from beating Wisconsin. Oregon State and Utah are next, and UCLA is a little lower at 21 after some unimpressive early games.

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• Alabama has started to figure things out after its close win at USF. The Crimson Tide beat a top-15 Mississippi team, blew out Mississippi State and topped Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies on the road Saturday. ‘Bama is up to 10th on my ballot, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nick Saban make another College Football Playoff run.

• I was iffy on Louisville after the first month, but the Cardinals’ 33-20 win over Notre Dame finally puts them on my ballot at 17th. The 5-2 Irish tumbled nine spots to 18th and are buoyed by the close loss to Ohio State and a nice win over Duke.

• The bottom five teams on last week’s ballot (Kentucky, Kansas State, Maryland, Texas A&M and Fresno State) all joined Miami by dropping out this week after losses. They made way for LSU, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Clemson and the aforementioned Cardinals and Bruins. I also considered Iowa, Air Force, Wyoming, James Madison, Tulane and Kansas, among others.

Our AP top 25 ballot

Trey Benson and the Seminoles stayed at No. 3 in our rankings.
Trey Benson and the Seminoles stayed at No. 3 in our rankings. [ COLIN HACKLEY | AP ]

1. Ohio State

2. Georgia

3. Florida State

4. Michigan

5. Oklahoma

6. Washington

7. Oregon

8. Penn State

9. Texas

10. Alabama

11. USC

12. North Carolina

13. Mississippi

14. Washington State

15. Oregon State

16. Utah

17. Louisville

18. Notre Dame

19. Duke

20. LSU

21. UCLA

22. Tennessee

23. Wisconsin

24. Clemson

25. Missouri

• • •

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