The morning after the state suffered two head-scratching defeats — the Florida Gators’ 37-34 cleat-astrophic loss to LSU and the Miami Hurricanes’ 62-28 debacle against North Carolina — I had to sort through the wreckage and figure out how far they should fall on my weekly AP Top 25 ballot.
The answers were very different. UF fell three spots. The ‘Canes tumbled eight.
I could have justified dropping the Gators more but settled on moving them from seventh to 10th. My deciding factor remains the 16-point win over Georgia last month. The Bulldogs have looked very impressive lately, including Saturday’s 35-point win over a pretty good Missouri team. UF beat Georgia handily and still needs to be ahead of the Bulldogs.
It’s worth remembering, too, that both of UF’s losses came on last-second field goals. They’re still defeats, of course, but they aren’t blowouts, either.
I was comfortable moving Coastal Carolina, BYU and Indiana ahead of the Gators this week. But I still see a gap between UF and the next tier (teams like Louisiana Lafayette and Iowa State).
Miami fell farther for several reasons. I had been shakier on the ‘Canes for most of the season, even though I talked them up a few days ago. Miami has one very nice win (over North Carolina State) and some close calls against mediocre ACC teams. The resume looks a lot flimsier now after Miami has been blown out by the two best teams it has faced. Saturday’s performance was a validation of what I had previously thought: that Miami is a pretty good team but no better than that.
I settled on putting the ‘Canes 19th, between Iowa and Tulsa.
Elsewhere on my ballot, I considered dropping Coastal Carolina some after a 42-38 squeaker over Troy. But for someone to move down, another team has to move up. I didn’t see anyone worthy of moving past the Chanticleers, who still have a pair of top-15 wins (in my view).
Colorado and Wisconsin dropped off my ballot this week. Oklahoma State reentered the mix, and San Jose State made its first appearance in my rankings.
Here’s the AP Top 25 ballot I submitted Sunday morning:
2. Notre Dame
4. Ohio State
6. Texas A&M
7. Coastal Carolina
12. Louisiana Lafayette
13. Iowa State
16. North Carolina
23. North Carolina State
24. Oklahoma State
25. San Jose State