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My AP top 25 ballot: Oregon, Iowa in the top five, UF and UCF up

UCF and the Gators both moved up on Matt Baker’s weekly ballot.
Oregon's win over Ohio State put the Ducks into our AP voter's top five.
Oregon's win over Ohio State put the Ducks into our AP voter's top five. [ Tribune News Service ]
Published Sep. 12, 2021|Updated Sep. 12, 2021

I began the season with five teams that I thought were a notch above everyone else in the country. After two full weekends, that has changed, and my AP top 25 ballot reflects it.

Oregon rose all the way to No. 4 on my ballot after its impressive win at Ohio State. The Buckeyes fell from third to ninth in my rankings. The other team to crack my top five? Iowa. The Hawkeyes have two of the best wins in the country (blowing out Indiana and earning a nice double-digit win at Iowa State). I don’t see a reason to put them any lower, even if it means moving another elite team (Oklahoma) down.

Florida rose to No. 11 on my ballot. That’s not necessarily because of how the Gators have looked so far. They’ve been good against unimpressive competition. Mostly, it’s a reflection of other teams falling. We’ll see how UF looks this week against Alabama before I start forming a concrete opinion of Dan Mullen’s team.

Related: Why Dan Mullen says Emory Jones, not Anthony Richardson, is Florida’s starter

I dropped Notre Dame a couple spots after the Irish’s close win over Toledo. Florida State’s shocking loss to Jacksonville State — the worst in the modern era of Seminoles football — hurt Notre Dame, too, by making the Irish’s Week 1 win look shakier.

Michigan is up to No. 20 after beating an underachieving Washington team. UCF rose a spot to No. 21. I didn’t have Miami on my ballot last week and felt better about that decision after the Hurricanes nearly lost at home to Appalachian State. Miami remains unranked in my eyes.

I remain an outlier with Georgia at No. 1, barely ahead of Alabama. I’m fine with that, given Georgia’s Week 1 win over Clemson and demolition of Alabama Birmingham (with a backup quarterback, no less) in Week 2. After I get to see Alabama in person Saturday in Gainesville, I might change my mind.

Utah, Texas and USC all fell off my ballot to make room for Arkansas, Auburn and BYU. Liberty, TCU and Oklahoma State were among the other schools I considered.

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

1. Georgia

2. Alabama

3. Clemson

4. Oregon

5. Iowa

6. Oklahoma

7. Texas A&M

8. Cincinnati

9. Ohio State

10. Penn State

11. Florida

12. UCLA

13. Virginia Tech

14. Notre Dame

15. Iowa State

16. Wisconsin

17. North Carolina

18. Mississippi

19. Coastal Carolina

20. Michigan

21. UCF

22. Arizona State

23. Arkansas

24. Auburn

25. BYU

Related: Is USF football a disappointment or a victim of expectations?

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