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).
* 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.
* 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
5. Penn State
17. Notre Dame
20. Kansas State
21. Boise State
24. Wake Forest
25. Iowa State