The biggest, most obvious question my Associated Press top 25 ballot this week was how far to drop the Florida Gators after their last-second 41-38 loss at Texas A&M. The answer led to me breaking one of my ranking rules.
Although I put a high premium on head-to-head results, I still had UF ahead of Texas A&M in the ballot I submitted Sunday morning.
There was nothing flukey about the Aggies' win, as I wrote yesterday. This Gators defense has serious holes up the middle, has struggled at times to tackle running backs and has failed to get off the field in crucial situations. That’s nothing new. And A&M, despite its history of underachieving, is a talented team.
So why are the Gators 10th and the Aggies 17th? Because I have to consider the other games, too. UF beat Ole Miss by two scores in the opener. Ole Miss was competitive with Alabama this weekend … the same Alabama team that blew out the Aggies. UF’s other win was a two-score victory over South Carolina. That’s the same Gamecocks team that trounced Vanderbilt … which A&M barely beat in its opener.
My general rule is that I rely on head-to-head results, unless I see a big difference in overall resumes. And right now, I think UF’s stronger resume gives them a trump card over a last-second road loss.
Elsewhere on my ballot, Georgia rose to No. 2 after an impressive win over Tennessee. I’m not sure about much this year, but I do feel strongly that Clemson, Georgia, Alabama and still-idle Ohio State are the top four teams in some order. There’s a big gap between that quartet and everyone else, which is why I only dropped Miami to 12th. I don’t think many other teams will be able to hang with Clemson, either.
Florida State’s next opponent, North Carolina, rose to No. 6 on my ballot after a crazy win over Virginia Tech. I also moved BYU down to 18th despite the Cougars' win over Texas San Antonio. A super soft schedule doesn’t leave BYU with much wiggle room.
LSU was the only team that fell off my ballot this week, making room for Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies. UCF, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Tulsa were among the other teams I considered.
Here’s the top 25 ballot I submitted Sunday morning;
4. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame
6. North Carolina
8. Penn State
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14. Oklahoma State
17. Texas A&M
20. Virginia Tech
23. Louisiana Lafayette
24. Iowa State