Where Ohio State, FSU, Clemson and Alabama fit into our ranking

A chaotic end to college football’s regular season forced a complete overhaul of my weekly AP Top 25 pick. Only three teams (No. 1 Georgia, No. 6 Alabama, and No. 15 Utah) stayed where they were last week…and I’ve seriously considered moving them all.

The Bulldogs stayed ahead of No. 2 Michigan, who had a hugely impressive win over Ohio State but don’t have the overall power to get past Georgia. The Buckeyes dropped from second to fifth place. I’ll take their one-loss resume (wins over Notre Dame and Penn State) over two-loss Alabama, especially after one of the teams that defeated the Crimson Tide, LSU, somehow lost to Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies.

Related: Poll: USF fans say they want Deion Sanders as next Bulls coach

Penn State is in eighth place after overtaking Michigan State to win the Land Grant Trophy. The Nittany Lions have been okay all season without impressing me, but 10-2 in the Big Ten deserves to be this high.

I didn’t punish Clemson too much for losing a rivalry game to South Carolina by a point. The Tigers fell two places to ninth place, although a steeper drop could be warranted.

Jordan Travis and the Seminoles are 12th on our ballot.
Jordan Travis and the Seminoles are 12th on our ballot. [ JAMES GILBERT | Getty Images North America ]

I kept LSU in the top 10, just ahead of Washington, thanks to the strength of the win over Alabama and wins against solid Mississippi and Mississippi State teams. That also means I held the 9-3 Tigers ahead of 9-3 Florida State, who beat LSU in Week 1. Why? I put the Seminole victory in context; It was Week 1 for LSU’s new hires, and there came a last-second blocked extra point. That being said, FSU’s best win is a road win over 7-5 Louisville. LSU also played the Gators better than FSU, which fed into my thought process as well. FSU is still in 12th place after beating Florida in a sensational game at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Related: No. 16 FSU Seminoles, Jordan Travis beat Florida Gators

Tulane jumped three places to 13th after a 27-24 win in Cincinnati. I consistently ranked the Green Wave higher than my peers, and I agree with that. Tulane’s head-to-head win over Kansas State was a trump card for me, although I’ll change my mind if the Wildcats beat TCU for the Big 12 championship.

Oregon State defeated Oregon and created a 9-3 Pac-12 cluster with four teams 15-18. UCLA beat Utah, who beat Oregon State, who beat Oregon, who beat UCLA. Advanced metrics are what the Utes like best, so I did that too. The Ducks’ two conference losses totaled just seven points, putting them next in line, followed by the Beavers and Bruins.

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UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee and the Knights are just outside our top 25.
UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee and the Knights are just outside our top 25. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, and Mississippi all fell out of my rankings this week. They gave way to Mississippi State (which defeated the rebels in a crazy Egg Bowl), Boise State and Minnesota. I’ve been considering UCF a lot but I’m still not getting over the home loss to Navy. The fact that the Knights needed a miracle play to beat 1-11 USF didn’t matter; as long as one team wins in a rivalry game, that’s enough for me.

Related: UCF Knights outlast USF Bulls in thriller War on I-4.

I also considered Purdue, Illinois and South Carolina. Troy (10-2) was also in the mix but lost to Mississippi in Week 1 at 18. The Rebels are still in that 23-30 mix for me, and I couldn’t justify using Troy while leaving a team like that crushed them.

My AP Top 25 ballot

1. Georgia


3. TCU


5. State of Ohio

6. Alabama

7. Tennessee

8. Penn State

9. Klemson

10. LSU

11. Washington

12. State of Florida

13. Tulane

14. State of Kansas

15. Utah


17. State of Oregon



20. North Carolina

21. Notre Dame

22. State of Mississippi

23. State of Boise



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