AP Top 25: How about top-10 Coastal Carolina?

Our Matt Baker explains his latest AP Top 25 ballot, including how high the Gators and ‘Canes jumped and how far BYU fell.
Coastal Carolina can celebrate being a top-eight team, according to Matt Baker's ballot, at least.
Coastal Carolina can celebrate being a top-eight team, according to Matt Baker's ballot, at least. [ RICHARD SHIRO | AP ]
Published Dec. 6, 2020

The weirdness of 2020 led to one of the best games of the season — Coastal Carolina-BYU — and a big shakeup on my weekly AP Top 25 ballot. The Chanticleers are in the top 10.

Coastal Carolina’s 22-17 win over the Cougars vaulted the Chanticleers into eighth in my rankings. They have more wins over teams in my top 15 (two) than the Gators or Texas A&M. I considered putting them higher, but the soft schedule doesn’t leave much room for error. If you have to play South Alabama and Georgia Southern, beating them by only two scores won’t help when I have to compare those results to teams playing AAC or SEC schedules.

BYU stayed in the top 10, falling to ninth. I didn’t want to punish the Cougars too much for coming up a yard or two short in a hastily scheduled, cross-country game at a strong opponent.

Elsewhere on my ballot, I continued my constant evaluation of the Cincinnati-Texas A&M-Florida tier. The Aggies added a pretty good win over Auburn to their resume, but I’m still not ready to put them ahead of the undefeated Bearcats (who were idle because of coronavirus issues). And UF’s head-to-head loss to Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies is the trump card comparing those teams.

Related: Florida Gators beat Tennessee Vols to win SEC East. Now can they beat Alabama?

Miami moved up two spots to No. 11 after blowing out Duke. The Hurricanes don’t have any great wins, but I think I had been underrating their schedule. I tried to fix that this week.

Louisiana Lafayette is up all the way to 13th after a win at Appalachian State. The major factor here remains the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 17-point win at Iowa State in the opener. As the Cyclones keep playing well, that win looks more impressive. A three-point loss to mighty Coastal Carolina does, too.

I had been viewing the Big 12′s top teams (Oklahoma, Iowa State and Oklahoma State) in a two-loss bunch. The Cowboys’ defeat to TCU changed that, dropping them out of the mix. As a result, I moved the Cyclones ahead of the Sooners because of Iowa State’s 37-30 head-to-head win earlier this season.

The aforementioned Cowboys fell off my ballot. Marshall, Oregon and Washington did, too. Their departures made room for North Carolina, North Carolina State, Buffalo and Colorado. Wisconsin hung on (two blowout wins and two losses to top-16 teams). Boise State and Liberty were among the other teams I considered.

Related: Gators’ Dan Mullen: I haven’t talked with NFL teams about coaching jobs

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

1. Alabama

2. Notre Dame

3. Clemson

4. Ohio State

5. Cincinnati

6. Texas A&M

7. Florida

8. Coastal Carolina

9. BYU

10. Indiana

11. Miami

12. Georgia

13. Louisiana Lafayette

14. Iowa State

15. Oklahoma

16. Northwestern

17. Iowa

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18. Tulsa

19. USC

20. North Carolina

21. Texas

22. Wisconsin

23. North Carolina State

24. Buffalo

25. Colorado