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Matt Baker’s AP Top 25 ballot: Welcome UNC, Maryland

UCF jumped into my top 20, and I’m still not really sure what to do with the Gators.
North Carolina's Kamari Morales (88) tries to catch a pass as Miami's DJ Ivey (8) and Michael Pinckney (56) defend during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward) [CHRIS SEWARD | AP]
Published Sep. 8

I’ve been an AP Top 25 voter long enough to know that there will be some unpredictable moves in the first few weeks.

Like this: Maryland and North Carolina are on my latest ballot, and Washington is not.

Those were among the notable changes I made this week. I bumped LSU back to fourth after its impressive win at Texas and moved Ohio State back over Oklahoma (the Buckeyes’ 42-0 trouncing of Cincinnati is more impressive than either of the Sooners’ wins). But that 4-5-6 jumble is very tight.

I kept Florida at No. 8 but still don’t feel confident about it. We’ll see how the Gators handle a trip to Kentucky – and injuries to CJ Henderson and Kadarius Toney — to find out whether the top-10 ranking is still justified. Until then, I don’t see a reason to drop the Gators, even though some lower teams (See: Badgers, Wisconsin) have looked strong.

RELATED: Gator Nation honors legendary Mr. Two Bits in home opener

Florida running back Lamical Perine, right, dives over the goal line for a touchdown against UT Martin on a 5-yard run during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) [JOHN RAOUX | AP]

UCF moved up three spots to No. 18 with its big rout of Florida Atlantic.

Wisconsin jumped into my top 10 after destroying Jim McElwain and Central Michigan. The Badgers’ competition hasn’t been great (sorry, USF), but outscoring them 110-0 is very, very impressive, regardless of the opponent.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: The last Florida State-Louisiana Monroe game was bad. This was worse

Michigan dropped out of my top 10 after nudging past Army. Shame on me for expecting more from the Khakis.

Maryland’s 63-20 win over Syracuse put the Terps at No. 19 on my ballot. North Carolina’s 28-25 win over Miami (plus its nice neutral-site win over South Carolina last week) put Mack Brown at No. 25. That’s one spot ahead of Brown’s old Longhorns, who stayed on my ballot by hanging with LSU. I’ve been lower on Texas than my other voters, but I don’t want to penalize the Longhorns too much for a close loss against a very good team, especially if that meant rewarding a team with a much weaker schedule so far.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: USF skid reaches eight straight after 14-10 loss to Georgia Tech

Stanford and the aforementioned Huskies both dropped off my ballot after losing games that probably ended past your bedtime. That opened spots for Maryland and UNC. Oklahoma State and USC were among the other schools that just missed the cut.

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

1. Clemson (2-0)

2. Alabama (2-0)

3. Georgia (2-0)

4. LSU (2-0)

5. Ohio State (2-0)

6. Oklahoma (2-0)

7. Auburn (2-0)

8. Florida (2-0)

9. Notre Dame (1-0)

10. Wisconsin (2-0)

11. Utah (2-0)

12. Penn State (2-0)

13. Michigan (2-0)

14. Oregon (1-1)

15. Texas A&M (1-1)

16. Iowa (2-0)

17. Michigan State (2-0)

18. UCF (2-0)

19. Maryland (2-0)

20. Mississippi State (2-0)

21. Washington State (2-0)

22. Virginia (2-0)

23. Boise State (2-0)

24. Texas (1-1)

25. North Carolina (2-0)

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Quarterback Kyle Trask (11) winds up to pass during the third quarter of the Orange and Blue Debut at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. TAMPA BAY TIMES
    Could Trask-Jones be the next Chris Leak-Tim Tebow? “We’ll see,” Dan Mullen says.
  2. Florida coach Dan Mullen consoles quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) as he lies injured on the field during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    The timetable would have Franks returning sometime around spring practice.
  3. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
Quarterback Kyle Trask (11) practices throws at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, December 29, 2016. University of Florida held practice for the Outback Bowl at Jesuit High School.  Times
    The former Gators coach who recruited Trask to Florida isn’t surprised that Trask didn’t transfer.
  4. FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2014, file photo, Tim Tebow answers a question during a interview on the set of ESPN's new SEC Network in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File) NY161
    The former Florida Gators quarterback was passionate in his reasoning for why student-athletes shouldn’t make money. It didn’t sit well with many in the media, including other ESPN employees.
  5. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) flips the ball in the air after running in for a touchdown during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    “In today’s college football world, people jump the gun,” coach Dan Mullen said. Trask never did.
  6. Florida running back Lamical Perine (2) attempts to break through an opening in the Kentucky defensive line during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    The gap between UCF and UF is shrinking, at least on Matt Baker’s AP ballot.
  7. Kentucky tight end Keaton Upshaw (88) makes a catch over the defense of Florida defensive back Brad Stewart for a touchdown during the second half. TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    Kentucky’s fancy facilities are obvious, even from the outside on game day
  8. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) flips the ball in the air after running in for a touchdown during the second half. TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    Psst, Kentucky: You might want to try defending the Gators’ receivers.
  9. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) tries to avoid the defense of Kentucky linebacker Jordan Wright (15), and linebacker DeAndre Square (17) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    No. 9 UF rallied from 11 down to beat Kentucky on the road Saturday night.
  10. Florida coach Dan Mullen consoles quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) as he lies injured on the field during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    His teammates surrounded him before he was carted off the field.
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