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

FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2018, file photo, Arizona State coach Herm Edwards watches his team warm up for an NCAA college football game against UTSA in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona State rolled over a smaller-conference school in their opener, scoring two quick touchdowns on the way to a 49-7 win over UTSA in Edwards' debut as coach. Arizona State plays Michigan State on Saturday night. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File) NY162
Sunday 9 September 2018 12.09

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.

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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. 

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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)

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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)


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