Monday, September 24, 2018
Florida Gators

Matt Baker’s AP Top 25 ballot: Hello Herm Edwards’ Arizona State?

There wasn't much change at the top of my AP Top 25 ballot this week, but there was plenty of movement at the bottom.

First, the top. Georgia jumped Clemson for No. 2 in my rankings thanks to a convincing win at a South Carolina team I had ranked  last week. I didn't want to penalize the Tigers for a close win at Texas A&M, but Georgia left me no choice.

Speaking of the Aggies…Jimbo Fisher's new team creeped into my rankings at No. 25. Why? The Aggies have discovered that they have a darn good quarterback (IMG Academy product Kellen Mond), and they took my pick to win the national title down to the wire. That was enough to get an A&M team that was around the top 30 in my eyes into the top 25.

Miami moved up three spots to No. 19, and UCF also moved up three (to No. 21) thanks to other teams' struggles. Northwestern, Michigan State and the Gamecocks dropped out of my rankings after their losses.

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but Herm Edwards and Arizona State are in my top 25, at No. 22, thanks to the win over Sparty. I still expect the Sun Devils to flop later, but here we are. Iowa also moved into my rankings, thanks to its opening rout of Northern Illinois and a nice win over rival Iowa State.

I considered ranking USF but didn't. The Bulls have done well so far, and it's always good to beat a Power Five team. That said, Georgia Tech is a middle-of-the-road ACC team picked to finish third in the weaker Coastal Division. USF's run defense must improve. I think the Bulls have been a top-40ish team but not 25. Not yet, at least.

If you're wondering about the Gators, I didn't have them ranked last week, so they couldn't fall off my ballot after the Kentucky loss. 

Here's the AP Top 25 ballot I submitted Sunday morning:

1.       Alabama (2-0)

2.       Georgia (2-0)

3.       Clemson (2-0)

4.       Ohio State (2-0)

5.       Wisconsin (2-0)

6.       Auburn (2-0)

7.       Oklahoma (2-0)

8.       Notre Dame (2-0)

9.       Stanford (2-0)

10.   Washington (1-1)

11.   West Virginia (2-0)

12.   Penn State (2-0)

13.   Mississippi State (2-0)

14.   TCU (2-0)

15.   LSU (2-0)

16.   Boise State (2-0)

17.   Virginia Tech (2-0)

18.   Michigan (1-1)

19.   Miami (1-1)

20.   Oregon (2-0)

21.   UCF (2-0)

22.   Arizona State (2-0)

23.   Iowa (2-0)

24.   USC (1-1)

25.   Texas A&M (1-1)

Comments
More on Dan Mullen’s return to ‘Stark Vegas’

More on Dan Mullen’s return to ‘Stark Vegas’

As expected, Gators coach Dan Mullen's upcoming return to Starkville, where he led Mississippi State to national relevance, emerged as the dominant subject during his regular Monday press conference. Here's what he had to say about his de facto homec...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Cue the cowbells: Mullen returning to Mississippi State

Cue the cowbells: Mullen returning to Mississippi State

GAINESVILLE — Sonically, the Gators are making a drastic transition during practice this week, from bluegrass to Blue Oyster Cult.Or so Dan Mullen jokes.The new Gators coach knows cowbell will serve as the cacophonous soundtrack for his return ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Matt Baker’s AP Top 25 ballot: Florida’s new top team

Matt Baker’s AP Top 25 ballot: Florida’s new top team

After four full weekends of college football, here's what I know:There is one great team (Alabama). There are three very good teams (Georgia, Ohio State and Clemson).After that? There are a lot of flawed teams with messy results that seem bunched tog...
Published: 09/23/18
UF morning after: Gators answering opportunity’s knock

UF morning after: Gators answering opportunity’s knock

For all the positive vibes they gleaned Saturday night before a gradually disappearing audience, the Gators know they still must conquer their consistency issues.Still too many three-and-outs and muffed progressions. Too few running lanes."The consis...
Published: 09/23/18
Joey Knight’s takeaways from Florida-Tennessee

Joey Knight’s takeaways from Florida-Tennessee

For all their defensive opportunism Saturday, make no mistake: The Gators probably remain a year or two away from seriously contending again in the SEC East Division. Still, it beats the Vols, who appear a light-year or two away.Jeremy Pruitt confirm...
Published: 09/22/18
Updated: 09/23/18
UF journal: A resounding return for LB David Reese

UF journal: A resounding return for LB David Reese

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Gator fans have spent the better part of September wondering if junior LB David Reese ever would get on the field.They spent the better part of Saturday hoping he'd never come off.Reese, whose 2018 debut was postponed by a hi...
Published: 09/22/18
Florida extends Tennessee’s recent SEC futility

Florida extends Tennessee’s recent SEC futility

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On an evening in which Tennessee honored its 1998 national championship squad, the current crop of Vols managed to offset the whole nostalgic shindig.By making the 2018 Gators resemble a national championship-caliber club.A o...
Published: 09/22/18
Years later, head ball coach still makes Vols bristle

Years later, head ball coach still makes Vols bristle

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The head ball coach remains the most reviled Gators figure in Knoxville, according to a random fan poll conducted Saturday afternoon outside Neyland Stadium.But one of the runners-up may surprise you. Like the head ball coach...
Published: 09/22/18
Examining Florida-Tennessee, FSU-NIU and the other state college football matchups

Examining Florida-Tennessee, FSU-NIU and the other state college football matchups

  Eye on the NFL draft At 6-foot-1, 237 pounds, Northern Illinois DE Sutton Smith doesn't have NFL size, but he does have next-level productivity. He ranked in the top four nationally last year in sacks, tackles for loss and fumbles forced/recovere...
Published: 09/21/18
Heisman watch: Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins joins the mix

Heisman watch: Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins joins the mix

5. Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins: Putting up 352 yards of offense on TCU is enough to join the top five.4. Houston DL Ed Oliver: Leads all active players with 1.57 tackles for a loss per game and should pad that stat against poor Texas Southern.3. Wes...
Published: 09/21/18