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AP top 25: How far did we drop the Florida Gators and Jimbo Fisher?

Our AP voter has a new No. 1 on his ballot this week after Alabama looked vulnerable at Texas.
Florida receiver Ja'Quavion Fraziars and the Gators dropped on our AP top 25 voter's ballot after losing at home to Kentucky.
Florida receiver Ja'Quavion Fraziars and the Gators dropped on our AP top 25 voter's ballot after losing at home to Kentucky. [ JOHN RAOUX | AP ]
Published Sep. 11

A week after making a big jump on my AP top 25 ballot, the Florida Gators made a big fall.

Saturday night’s loss to Kentucky dropped UF from eighth to 16th in my weekly rankings. The Gators’ offense looked bad on a night where quarterback Anthony Richardson regressed. The defense, however, continued to show improvement, which is something I must consider.

Related: Florida Gators lose to Kentucky as Anthony Richardson struggles

I also have to consider the opponents. I was higher on Kentucky than most of my colleagues entering the season, and I remain high on the Wildcats. Their defense looked good with the return of linebacker Jordan Wright, and quarterback Will Levis showed off his NFL arm and toughness. I moved Kentucky from 22nd to eighth on my ballot. Florida’s win over Utah still looks impressive after the Utes blew out Southern Utah.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis looked like an NFL prospect in the Wildcats' win at Florida.
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis looked like an NFL prospect in the Wildcats' win at Florida. [ JAMES GILBERT | Getty Images North America ]

One win over a top-20 team and one loss to another top-20 team puts UF somewhere in the middle. That’s how I settled on 16th, between Texas and Utah.

There’s a new No. 1 on my ballot this week: Georgia. The Alabama/Ohio State/Georgia triumvirate can be in any order, as far as I’m concerned, but the Crimson Tide narrowly beat their marquee opponent. The Buckeyes and Bulldogs didn’t have a problem last week with Notre Dame or Oregon. That and Alabama’s self-inflicted issues were the reasons I put ‘Bama behind the other two.

Related: What a Nick Saban bestseller taught us about Florida Gators’ Billy Napier

The Longhorns went from unranked to 15th on my ballot after a close loss to Alabama. That seems like a big move for a defeat — and it is —but I’ll justify it for two reasons. First, the Crimson Tide is a juggernaut, so hanging with them is impressive. Second, this year is already proving to be wild, even by college football’s wacky standards. There will be big moves up and down because I don’t see much separation between teams 4-40. That’s why Florida made a huge rise last week, and it’s why Texas is making a big leap this week.

Arkansas soared from 12th to sixth after beating South Carolina. The Razorbacks have two of the most impressive wins of anyone so far (over a Cincinnati team I have in the top 25 and the Gamecocks). BYU is up from 23rd to seventh after beating a strong Baylor team —a feat made more impressive considering the Cougars were without two of their top receivers. Tennessee was just outside my top 25 last week and is up to 13th after a win at Pitt. I had been skeptical of Oklahoma but saw no reason not to believe the advanced metrics, so I bumped the Sooners from 19th to ninth after they crushed Kent State.

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher watched his Aggies lose at home to Appalachian State.
Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher watched his Aggies lose at home to Appalachian State. [ SAM CRAFT | AP ]

Now for the other part of that equation. Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies slid from seventh to 24th after losing at home to Appalachian State. Notre Dame dropped from sixth to unranked on my ballot after an ugly home loss to Marshall. Pitt is off, too, mostly because the Panthers’ backup quarterback didn’t impress me and because the win over West Virginia looks much worse now after the Mountaineers lost to Kansas.

Houston and Wisconsin are also off my ballot. Their departures made room for Tennessee, Texas, Kansas State and Marshall (whose other win was a 52-point blowout of Norfolk State). I also considered Mississippi State, Washington State, Florida State and Appalachian State.

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

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State

3. Alabama

4. Michigan

5. USC

6. Arkansas

7. BYU

8. Kentucky

9. Oklahoma

10. Clemson

11. Oklahoma State

12. Miami

13. Tennessee

14. Michigan State

15. Texas

16. Florida

17. Utah

18. Baylor

19. North Carolina State

20. Wake Forest

21. Mississippi

22. Cincinnati

23. Kansas State

24. Texas A&M

25. Marshall

• • •

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