Week 9: My AP Top 25 ballot

Here's a look at who I ranked and where this week in my poll

Well, finally we have some unexpected in college football after seven weeks of mostly chalk and the good teams rarely getting pushed.

Just not at the very top, where LSU and Alabama removed any lingering doubt about whom the top two teams in the country are.

In fact, with Oklahoma and Wisconsin falling Saturday, the possibility of a Tigers-Crimson Tide rematch in January gained some traction. Stanford, Oklahoma State, Clemson and Boise State might have an argument to the contrary, but at least the framework for something like that happening is a little sturdier.

With the Sooners and Badgers tumbling, there was some shifting in my top 10 with the aforementioned Cardinal, Cowboys, Tigers and Broncos all doing their George and Wheezy imitation.

Kansas State is the only unbeaten BCS conference team outside my top 10, but that could change the next few weeks when the Wildcats face OU and Oklahoma State.

Auburn, SMU and Illinois dropped out of my poll after losses this week, with Penn State, Houston and Cincinnati all jumping in.

Oct. 23 AP poll

1. LSU (8-0):
Les Miles also said it, and I will. This was the Tigers' most complete and impressive game of the season. Can they top it in two weeks?

2. Alabama (8-0): The Crimson Tide are carving a niche as a second-half team after another dominant final 30 minutes at Tennessee made everybody forget a 6-6 deadlock at halftime.

3. Stanford (7-0): Cardinal has one of the best quarterbacks in the country and a defense that just keeps improving. This week at USC and Nov. 12 against Oregon are where Stanford's season will take shape.

4. Oklahoma State (7-0): The Cowboys suddenly sit atop the Big 12 standings and have a chance to crash the LSU-Alabama party if they win out.

Sammy Watkins: Clemson vaults to No. 5
5. Clemson (8-0):
These Tigers an score with anybody, but the last few weeks have been a little shaky on defense with 83 points allowed. Have to wonder what could happen this week against Georgia Tech.

6. Oregon (6-1): Ducks might stuck playing spoiler, thanks to LSU, but boy can these birds hang up some offensive numbers.

7. Boise State (7-0): Broncos are gradually fading out of the national consciousness and a close call against Air Force doesn't help.

8. Arkansas (6-1): Hogs survived a scare in Oxford and better buckle down for a tough two-step at Vanderbilt and back home vs. South Carolina.

9. Oklahoma (6-1): Sooners defense finally proved too costly against a mediocre Texas Tech team and now the road to the national championship game is pretty slippery for OU.

10. Michigan State (6-1): Two weeks in a row now the Spartans have squashed the unbeaten seasons of higher profile Big Ten brethren. So, how did these guys lose to Notre Dame again?

11. Wisconsin (6-1): Memo from Bucky the Badger – Bat the ball damn ball down!

12. Virginia Tech (7-1):
Hokies recovery project is gaining steam and has them headed toward an ACC Championship Game rematch with Clemson.

13. South Carolina (6-1): Gamecocks become big Florida fans this week but even more important are their two more road games at Tennessee and Arkansas.

14. Kansas State (7-0): OK, so the Wildcats finally won a game that didn't come down to the wire. Think the test might be a little tougher at OU?

15. Nebraska (6-1): Huskers reach a crossroads to show if they're real this week with a battle against Big Ten leader Michigan State.

16. Michigan (6-1): Schedule softens up now for the Wolverines until a two-week finish against Nebraska and Ohio State. UM needs help, though, to start thinking Rose Bowl.

Christine Michael: Texas A&M is a solid 2-loss team
17. Texas A&M (5-2):
Aggies can legitimately lay claim to being the best two-loss team in the land – close calls against Oklahoma State and Arkansas…

18. Georgia (5-2): of course, so could the Bulldogs. UGa's season could be defined by a big cocktail party this week.

19. Arizona State (5-2): Without a team left on the schedule with a winning record until the finale against Cal, the Sun Devils are the team to beat in the Pac-12 South.

20. USC (6-1): Trojans made one huge statement by beating Notre Dame. A win this week at home against Stanford would be even bigger.

21. Penn State (7-1):
Nittany Lions are halfway to the Leaders Division championship. Problem is the second half includes Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

22. West Virginia (5-2): Did not see a blowout loss to Syracuse coming. Now the Mountaineers may leave the Big East with a whimper.

23. Houston (7-0): Finally pulled the trigger on putting the Cougars in the poll, but I still need to see them beat somebody – anybody – to be completely convinced.

24. Georgia Tech (6-2): Suddenly the Yellow Jackets' offense is struggling and it won't get any easy this week when Tech has to figure out how to outscore Clemson.

25. Cincinnati (6-1): Bearcats are in the Big East driver's seat – for whatever that's worth – but come off a bye this week to face three road tests in the last five games.

Dropped out: Auburn, SMU, Illinois

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