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Our AP top 25 ballot: Where we ranked Ohio State, Utah, Oregon and Michigan State

Welcome back to the top four, Cincinnati. You earned it.
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes looked fantastic against Michigan State.
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes looked fantastic against Michigan State. [ JAY LAPRETE | AP ]
Published Nov. 21

My AP top 25 ballot had shakeups from No. 2 to No. 25, and many, many places in the middle.

Ohio State moved ahead of Alabama for the second spot after crushing Michigan State. I dropped the Spartans from eighth to 15th, which might not have been steep enough. But Michigan State’s win over Michigan is still strong and a selling point over the No. 16 team on my ballot, Wisconsin (which lost to the Wolverines).

Cincinnati is back into my top four. I was critical of the Bearcats after watching them beat USF in person. That’s because they didn’t play as well at Raymond James Stadium as they did Saturday in a 48-14 win over a good SMU team. If Cincinnati looks like that the rest of the season, it will deserve a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Jerome Ford, an Armwood High alumnus, is a big part of Cincinnati's team.
Jerome Ford, an Armwood High alumnus, is a big part of Cincinnati's team. [ AARON DOSTER | AP ]

Utah was the biggest riser this week, leaping from 23rd to 12th after obliterating Oregon by 31. The Utes have found themselves after a 1-2 start (with losses to a pair of teams in my top 20, BYU and San Diego State). Oregon, however, had been artificially high with the win over Ohio State. The Ducks had been shaky, but I wasn’t going to dump a one-loss team that beat the Buckeyes. Now Oregon is 13th on my ballot.

Related: Was Florida’s loss to Missouri the end for Dan Mullen’s Gators tenure?

I moved Baylor ahead of Oklahoma (which I should have done last week) and Wisconsin ahead of Iowa (same). I dropped Texas San Antonio three spots to No. 21 after a crazy win over Alabama Birmingham, but that was more of a product of my increased respect for Houston, San Diego State and the Badgers more than it was a dig against the Roadrunners.

The bottom of my ballot became an ACC cluster with North Carolina State, Clemson and Wake Forest, in that order. The Demon Deacons’ 21-point loss to the Tigers led to their fall from 11th to 25th but kept them ahead of Penn State (which fell out of my rankings). Arkansas also dropped out to help make room for the Wolfpack and Clemson.

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

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State

3. Alabama

4. Cincinnati

5. Notre Dame

6. Oklahoma State

7. Michigan

8. Baylor

9. Mississippi

10. Oklahoma

11. BYU

12. Utah

13. Oregon

14. Texas A&M

15. Michigan State

16. Wisconsin

17. Pitt

18. Iowa

19. San Diego State

20. Houston

21. Texas San Antonio

22. Louisiana Lafayette

23. North Carolina State

24. Clemson

25. Wake Forest

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