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Our AP top 25 ballot: Cincinnati and Michigan State fall. Welcome back, Arkansas

Because the Bearcats keep playing with their food, our AP voter dropped them down a notch this week.
Armwood High alumnus Jerome Ford and the Bearcats have not always looked great this season.
Armwood High alumnus Jerome Ford and the Bearcats have not always looked great this season. [ JEFF DEAN | AP ]
Published Nov. 7
Updated Nov. 7

I’m starting to lose faith in Cincinnati, and my latest AP top 25 ballot reflects my skepticism.

I dropped the Bearcats from second to third, allowing Alabama to move ahead. I considered dropping them lower, too, because their 28-20 win over Tulsa was the latest example of them playing with their food against a team they should crush.

Related: Why three-star recruit Eddie Kelly can be USF’s C.J. Spiller

I didn’t, however. The Notre Dame win remains strong and is on par with the best win Oregon has (over Ohio State). That’s enough to keep Cincinnati ahead of Oregon (with the Ducks’ head-to-head win remaining a trump card over Ohio State). I’m looking forward to seeing the Bearcats play at USF on Friday to see them either restore some of my confidence or weaken it more.

Michigan State only fell two spots on my ballot after its inexplicable loss to Purdue. I’m giving a lot of power to the Spartans’ triumph over Michigan, and I didn’t feel comfortable moving two-loss Texas A&M ahead of Sparty (though I strongly considered it). Give credit to Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies, however, because they look much, much better than they did in September.

Jimbo Fisher's Aggies remain in the top 10 of our AP top 25 ballot.
Jimbo Fisher's Aggies remain in the top 10 of our AP top 25 ballot. [ DAVID J. PHILLIP | AP ]

I kept Wake Forest 12th despite the Demon Deacons’ back-and-forth loss at North Carolina. That’s because teams in that same tier (Auburn, Mississippi, Baylor) lost, too.

Kentucky dropped out of my rankings after a close loss to Tennessee. Fresno State is out, too, after a 40-14 home loss to Boise State. Their exits made room for San Diego State and Arkansas to return. I was pretty impressed with North Carolina State after watching its win over Florida State in Tallahassee, so I considered putting the Wolfpack on my ballot. Utah and Iowa State were the other teams that also just missed the cut.

Related: Mike Norvell’s bad luck continues. But eventually FSU needs wins, period.

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

1. Georgia

2. Alabama

3. Cincinnati

4. Oregon

5. Ohio State

6. Oklahoma

7. Notre Dame

8. Michigan State

9. Michigan

10. Texas A&M

11. Oklahoma State

12. Wake Forest

13. Auburn

14. Mississippi

15. Baylor

16. BYU

17. Iowa

18. Pitt

19. Texas San Antonio

20. Coastal Carolina

21. Penn State

22. Wisconsin

23. Houston

24. San Diego State

25. Arkansas

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