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My AP Top 25 ballot: How far did Florida slide?

And how far did Georgia rise after seizing control of the SEC East?
Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) is tackled by Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Tyler Clark (52) while scrambling to get a first down during the second half of the game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday, November 2, 2019. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Nov. 3

Four of the top five teams in my AP Top 25 ballot were off this week. So were a handful of teams lower in my rankings, which meant for a relatively easy Sunday morning. I’ll take it.

A few things that actually required some thought:

* Who’s No. 6, behind the clear top five undefeated teams (Ohio State, LSU, Alabama, Clemson and Penn State, in that order)? I settled on Georgia after seeing the Bulldogs in person. Kirby Smart’s team played up to its sky-high potential. If UGA plays that well, I’m not sure how many teams in the country can beat them, and the win over Florida is the best of any team in that tier (Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah).

RELATED: Florida Gators came face to face with reality, and it didn’t turn out too well

* Where should I slot the Gators after that 24-17 loss to Georgia? I dropped them to 10th, atop the two-loss tier that includes Auburn, Wisconsin and Michigan. Florida was competitive in both of its losses (which were both to top-six teams away from home), and the head-to-head win over the Tigers was the trump card. Michigan has played well the last few weeks, but the blowout loss to Wisconsin is still weighing Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines down.

RELATED: Florida Gators fall 24-17 to Georgia Bulldogs

* How high should Memphis rise after beating SMU? I jumped the Tigers from 24th to 16th, tops in the AAC. SMU only fell three spots to 22nd.

* Who got my final few spots? With Appalachian State dropping out, I only had room for one new team on my ballot, unless someone else dropped out. I considered booting Iowa State but continue to cling to the Cyclones stubbornly because of advanced metrics. Wake Forest took my last spot, reentering my ballot at No. 24 after destroying North Carolina State. When quarterback Jamie Newman is healthy, the Demon Deacons are very impressive. Among the other teams I considered: Navy, San Diego State and Indiana.

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

1. Ohio State

2. LSU

3. Alabama

4. Clemson

5. Penn State

6. Georgia

7. Oklahoma

8. Oregon

9. Utah

10. Florida

11. Auburn

12. Wisconsin

13. Baylor

14. Minnesota

15. Michigan

16. Memphis

17. Notre Dame

18. Cincinnati

19. Iowa

20. Kansas State

21. Boise State

22. SMU

23. UCF

24. Wake Forest

25. Iowa State

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon III Hargreaves kneels in the end zone after the Seattle Seahawks defeated his team in overtime in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer) JOHN FROSCHAUER  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: It’s a mailbag episode, with answers on Jameis Winston’s future, Lavonte David’s season, Mike Evans’ plight, Kevin Cash’s third-place finish and Charlie Strong’s job...
  2. Florida quarterback Emory Jones looks for a receiver against Towson during the second half on Sept. 28 in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and Emory Jones all have remaining eligibility, which adds an interesting dynamic to next season.
  3. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass in the first half of an NCAA football game against Alabama Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa , Ala. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) JOHN BAZEMORE  |  AP
    Two notable teams fell despite 50-plus point wins. That happens sometimes.
  4. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) is carried off the field by his teammates after defeating Alabama 46-41 on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. JOHN BAZEMORE  |  AP
    The Tigers break an eight-game losing streak to the Tide with a gutty, statement road victory.
  5. Florida linebacker Mohamoud Diabate, here against Tennessee earlier this season, says “I’m proud of myself’’ after leading Florida’s defensive domination vs. Vanderbilt. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Journal: One of Diabate’s sacks is also a turnover that sets up a Gators touchdown.
  6. Florida wide receiver Trevon Grimes (8) runs after a reception past Vanderbilt linebacker Kenny Hebert (21) during the first half in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Kyle Trask’s 363 yards were the most by a Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow in 2008. But give credit to the guys catching his throws.
  7. Quarterback Kyle Trask threw for 257 yards and got the Gators back in the game vs. Georgia in the second half, but Florida lost 24-17. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The last three times Florida lost to Georgia, the Gators lost the next game by double digits.
  8. Quarterback Jameis Winston and the Bucs play their first home game in 49 days at 1 p.m. Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Can Jameis Winston make the Bucs’ welcome-home game a success?
  9. USF Bulls head coach Charlie Strong on the sideline during the second half of the game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, October 12, 2019.  OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Here are our picks for this week’s top college football games, including USF-Temple, FSU-Boston College, Florida-Vanderbilt and Alabama-LSU.
  10. Florida State fans watch as Miami wins an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Matt Baker joins Rick Stroud to talk coaching search, USF-Temple, Gators and Alabama-LSU.
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