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AP top 25: Florida’s off our ballot. Welcome, UTSA?

There was little change at the top of our AP voter’s weekly rankings. The bottom is a mess.
Sincere McCormick and the UTSA Roadrunners are the latest addition to our AP voter's top 25 ballot.
Sincere McCormick and the UTSA Roadrunners are the latest addition to our AP voter's top 25 ballot. [ DARREN ABATE | AP ]
Published Oct. 17

The top of my weekly AP top 25 ballot came together pretty easily Saturday night/Sunday morning. The bottom part, however, was a chore.

We’ll start with the obvious: The Florida Gators are no longer in my rankings after the loss to a reeling LSU team. I simply don’t see a justification for putting Dan Mullen’s 4-3 team in the top 25. Assuming others agree, this will be the first time in a decade that no teams are in the Associated Press poll. I wrote more about that here.

The only major change in my top 10 came with Iowa’s bad loss to Purdue. The Hawkeyes dropped from second to eighth on my ballot, settling in ahead of Penn State (whom the Hawkeyes beat) and behind Ohio State (which might be the team to beat in the Big Ten). Cincinnati rose to second, just ahead of an Oklahoma team that finally looks to have its typical, high-scoring offense.

Related: The pressure is on Dan Mullen after Florida’s loss at LSU

Oklahoma State and Pitt were both big risers this week. The unbeaten Cowboys have back-to-back quality wins (over Baylor and Texas) and jumped from 18th to 12th in my rankings. Pitt was unranked because I had trouble getting past the Panthers’ loss to Western Michigan. I’m buying them now, though, as are advanced metrics. I moved Pitt from unranked to 17th.

I kept Kentucky 13th despite the big loss to Georgia. I’ve used this logic before; I think the Bulldogs are just that good.

Now, to the bottom. UF was one of five teams that dropped off my ballot, along with Arkansas, Mississippi State, BYU and Arizona State. Finding teams worthy of replacing them was a challenge. The teams in the 20-30 range are more flawed than usual.

Dillon Doyle and the Baylor Bears have joined our AP voter's rankings.
Dillon Doyle and the Baylor Bears have joined our AP voter's rankings. [ RON JENKINS | Associated Press ]

I felt good about putting 6-1 Baylor in at No. 20 after the Bears beat BYU. I was less confident about No. 21 Auburn; I’m still hung up on the Tigers’ too-close win over Georgia State earlier this season. San Diego State hasn’t dominated, but the Aztecs’ undefeated schedule is enough to put them at No. 23 (just behind SMU).

I kept Clemson at No. 24, despite the Tigers’ unimpressive win over a mediocre Syracuse team. Advanced metrics, for some reason, are still believers in Clemson, and I didn’t know who else to put in? BYU has nice wins over Utah and Arizona State but has lost two in a row. Arizona State just lost to Utah, which isn’t as good as usual. Houston is being weighed down by a loss to Texas Tech. Iowa State is playing better but still doesn’t have a great win.

Given those list of flawed candidates, I gave the final spot on my ballot to Texas San Antonio. The 7-0 Roadrunners don’t have good wins, and their resume includes a one-score victory over winless UNLV. But the undefeated record made a more compelling argument than the other shaky teams, which is why UTSA has joined my top 25.

Here’s the ballot I submitted Sunday morning:

1. Georgia

2. Cincinnati

3. Oklahoma

4. Alabama

5. Michigan

6. Oregon

7. Ohio State

8. Iowa

9. Penn State

10. Michigan State

11. Mississippi

12. Oklahoma State

13. Kentucky

14. Coastal Carolina

15. Wake Forest

16. Texas A&M

17. Pitt

18. Notre Dame

19. North Carolina State

20. Baylor

21. Auburn

22. SMU

23. San Diego State

24. Clemson

25. Texas San Antonio

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