Matt Baker’s AP Top 25 ballot: Florida Gators down, Kentucky, Wazzu in top 10

A weird weekend of college football means a weird ballot...which means Kentucky and Washington State are now in the top 10
Georgia's big win over Florida had a predictable impact on Matt Baker's AP Top 25 ballot. [ BRONTE WITTPENN  | Times ]
Georgia's big win over Florida had a predictable impact on Matt Baker's AP Top 25 ballot. [ BRONTE WITTPENN | Times ]
Published October 28 2018

The state's awful weekend had a big impact on my AP Top 25 ballot this week, starting near the top.

Clemson's demolition of Florida State was enough to move the Tigers past Notre Dame for No. 2 in my rankings. No, the Seminoles aren't very good, but 59-10 is impressive against anyone, especially on the road.

Florida's 36-17 loss to Georgia bumped the Gators down to No. 14. Georgia jumped up to seventh (one notch ahead of idle UCF).

Even though I haven't been ranking USF, I still think the Bulls are a pretty good team. That's why Houston's 57-36 win put the Cougars on my ballot, all the way up to No. 21.

The other reason why Houston moved up that high: This was a turbulent weekend. Eight teams from 11-25 on last week's ballot lost, which made the process extra difficult and confusing. Someone had to move up, and Houston's 7-1 record with all double-digit wins (aside from a loss at respectable Texas Tech) warranted a big jump.

The turmoil led to some other weird decisions. Iowa had a close 30-24 loss at Penn State … and moved up one spot from 19th to 18th. Why? Because at 6-2, the Hawkeyes still have a solid resume. Three of the four teams directly in front of them on last week's ballot lost, as did three teams behind them. I didn't think a 5-3 Texas A&M (which just lost) was worthy of moving ahead of Iowa. Same with a Boston College team with the same record. So, weirdness.

Fresno State (7-1) was also a beneficiary of the weirdness. Advanced metrics love Jeff Tedford's Bulldogs, who have outscored opponents 316-108 this year. I had them ranked 20th last week and bumped them up to 16th this week after a 30-point win over Hawaii.

Wisconsin, Appalachian State, Oregon and Stanford all dropped off my ballot. Houston, Boston College, Mississippi State and Iowa State entered my rankings. Washington barely held on, because I didn't see another team worthy of jumping them. Among the other teams I considered: Virginia, Syracuse, Georgia Southern, Cincinnati, Michigan State and Texas Tech.

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

1.      Alabama (8-0)

2.     Clemson (8-0)

3.     Notre Dame (8-0)

4.     LSU (7-1)

5.     Michigan (7-1)

6.     Oklahoma (7-1)

7.     Georgia (7-1)

8.     UCF (7-0)

9.     Kentucky (7-1)

10.   Washington State (7-1)

11.   Ohio State (7-1)

12.   West Virginia (6-1)

13.   Penn State (6-2)

14.   Florida (6-2)

15.   Texas (6-2)

16.   Fresno State (7-1)

17.   Utah (6-2)

18.   Iowa (6-2)

19.   Texas A&M (5-3)

20.   Boston College (6-2)

21.   Houston (7-1)

22.   Utah State (7-1)

23.   Mississippi State (5-3)

24.   Iowa State (4-3)

25.   Washington (6-3)

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