Week 7: My AP Top 25 ballot

Here's who I ranked and where this week on my Associated Press ballot.

The top third of the poll was pretty easy to manage this week. Technically for the math whizzes out there, the first 36% because every team in the first nine slots of my poll either won convincingly or were idle.

Now, 10-25, that was a little trickier, thanks to a rash of upsets and unexpected blowouts.

Arkansas has shown me a lot the last few weeks to bounce back from the mud-stomp against Alabama. Georgia Tech and Michigan just keep chugging along. Arizona State is a handful of shaky fourth-quarter decisions against Illinois from being unbeaten. And Kansas State is suddenly legitimate again.

Texas, Florida and Auburn are the three teams that lost in blowout fashion and remained in my poll … for now. I still like the Longhorns' body of work, I think Florida is a talented and solid team that will have to come to grips with injuries pretty quick and Auburn hangs around because even with the egg laid in Fayetteville (a second loss to a team now in the top 10), the Tigers still have a pair of nice SEC wins under their belts.

Newcomers in my poll this week are Illinois and Georgia. It took me a while to come around on the Illini completely after they followed up their win against Arizona State with two lackluster outings. Now I like what I see.

And with Georgia, don't look now but could the Bulldogs be emerging as the favorite in the SEC East Division?

Two teams knocking on the door in my poll are undefeated Houston and North Carolina, which has lost only to Georgia Tech.

Oct. 9 AP poll

1. LSU (6-0):
Getting harder and harder to find flaws right now. Besides a flukish celebration flag on an Australian punter, the Tigers didn't do a whole lot wrong against the Gators.

2. Oklahoma (5-0): Sooners might be giving the Longhorns some second thoughts on this whole staying in the Big 12 Conference thing. Not sure they can keep calling the annual game a rivalry at this rate.

3. Alabama (6-0): Crimson Tide began a stretch when of toying with opponents by throttling Vanderbilt. Ole Miss – you're on deck for the next appetizer before Nov. 5.

4. Wisconsin (5-0): Badgers were off, but darned if their 31-point rout of Nebraska didn't still have those hearty fans up there still feeling warm and fuzzy.

5. Stanford (5-0): No opponent has gotten closer than 26 points against the Cardinal and Colorado was no exception – or match – last week.

6. Oklahoma State (5-0): Cowboys rank first nationally in scoring offense (51.4 points a game) and 72nd in scoring defense (27.6 ppg). Sooner or later, that second number better shrink if OSU is going to be for real.

7. Boise State (5-0): The Broncos won by 50 points against a Fresno State team that gave Ole Miss all it wanted the week before. Yeah, Ole Miss is bad, but that's still impressive.

8. Clemson (6-0): The difference between Clemson teams of old and this year's edition? These Tigers can survive a letdown game and still beat Boston College by 22.

9. Oregon (4-1): Ducks notched their most impressive win of the season after a first-half tussle with Cal. Only black mark was LaMichael James' dislocated elbow, which he said wasn't serious.

10. Arkansas (5-1): Like I said above, the Razorbacks have shown me some moxie I wasn't sure they had. Only real hurdle between now and LSU is South Carolina on Nov. 5 – when nobody will be paying a lick of attention.

11. West Virginia (5-1): Mountaineers are clearly the best team in the Big East and that's good news on the field. The bad news off it is that no conference seems interested in inheriting the Mountaineers.

12. Georgia Tech (6-0): The Yellow Jackets had to take a different approach last week and grind out a win with their defense. Check that off the to-do list.

13. Michigan (6-0): Wolverines defense appeared to take the week off against Northwestern, but the offense worked plenty hard enough with 541 total yards – 452 of those from QB Denard Robinson – to stage a second-half rally.

14. Arizona State (5-1): Sun Devils are emerging as a complete package with a defense that forced five Utah turnovers last week.

15. South Carolina (5-1): Yeah, we get it Steve Spurrier. You were mad about losing to Auburn and Kentucky had to pay the price. Now show us you can do with three straight SEC road games.

16. Kansas State (5-0): Wildcats are off to their best start since 2000, with four of those wins coming by a total of 15 points. Who knew K-State could be Oklahoma's biggest obstacle until a showdown with Oklahoma State?

17. Virginia Tech (5-1): The Hokies survived against Miami to avoid a second straight loss, but now they have a tricky test against Wake Forest.

18. Illinois (6-0): Illini has taken care of business for six weeks in one way or another, but they need to snare every win they can before November when a stretch of Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin arrives.

19. Nebraska (5-1): Huskers season was circling the drain when they trailed very mediocre Ohio State 27-6 in the third quarter. But a stirring rally gives Nebraska a spark of hope moving forward.

20. Florida (4-2): Gators have been a shell of themselves the last few weeks with injuries to John Brantley, Jeff Driskel and Jeff Demps taking a major toll. But you can still see a solid defense at work and there's too much talent for Florida to not figure something out on offense.

21. Texas (4-1): The Longhorns' first four games put them back on the national map. Their challenge now is to make sure a lopsided loss to OU and a potential repeat against Oklahoma State don't blow them back to anonymity.

22. Michigan State (4-1): Spartans should be rested and relaxed after a week off. Good thing with Michigan and Wisconsin coming to East Lansing the next few weeks.

23. Georgia (4-2): Four wins in a row have the Bulldogs back in the conversation in the SEC East. No time to stumble now against Vanderbilt.

24. Baylor (4-1): Bears licked their wounds nicely at Iowa State's expense. No better time for renewed confidence than now with back-to-back road trips at Texas A&M and Oklahoma State looming.

25. Auburn (4-2): Tigers hang on in the poll by their fingernails in large part because of what they've done around their two losses – namely wins against Mississippi State and South Carolina.


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