Week 11: My AP Top 25 ballot

Here's a look at who I ranked and where in my Nov. 7 AP ballot

With the regular-season stretch run at hand, there will be big games every week that create a rippled effect on the BCS National Championship hunt.

That began last week of course with LSU downing Alabama 9-6 in a showdown of No. 1 vs. No. 2.

Those two stayed there in my poll because honestly there was very little to distinguish the two other than Drew Alleman and Brad Wing.

After those two, Oklahoma State and Stanford are waiting in the wings for a chance at a shot against the Tigers, but both have major hurdles to scale first – the Cardinal this week at home against Oregon.

Georgia cracked my Top 10 with a lopsided win and South Carolina's loss to Arkansas, which elevated the Bulldogs into the driver's seat in the SEC East.

Outside the top 10, the topsy-turvy Big Ten caused some shifting. Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State all remained in my poll. But all three have work to do to stay there and to punch a ticket to the inaugural league championship game.

Two games to keep an eye on outside the SEC and the Oregon-Stanford clash are Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech and TCU at Boise State. Both have some potential implications that could be felt later.

Nov. 7 AP poll

1. LSU (9-0):
Tigers found away against their toughest opponent in the most hostile environment imaginable, clearing the path to a BCS National Championship shot.

2. Alabama (8-1): Crimson Tide was too close to the No. 1-ranked Tigers for me to drop them at all. Clearly the two best two teams in the country.

3. Oklahoma State (9-0): If defense didn't matter, the Cowboys would be a run-away No. 1. It does.

4. Stanford (9-0): Cardinal has spent most of the season – minus the USC scare – toying with opponents. Time for a big-boy test this week.

5. Oregon (8-1): Ducks have been a little under the radar since falling to LSU. Time to stand up and be counted and perhaps jump into a different rematch discussion.

6. Boise State (8-0): After seven weeks in cruise control, the Broncos finally get another tough test this week against TCU. Flashbacks to Nevada last season?

7. Arkansas (8-1): Razorbacks romp past South Carolina stacks up as their best win this season. They can top that in a few weeks.

8. Oklahoma (8-1): Sooners get a respite and need it badly to adjust to life without Ryan Broyles. All Sooner eyes are on Oklahoma State on Dec. 3.

Virginia RB David Wilson: Hokies face a tough test against Georgia Tech

9. Virginia Tech (8-1): Hokies have muddled through the last few weeks. They'll need a much stronger performance to get past Georgia Tech.

10. Georgia (7-2): Now alone in first place in the SEC East, the Bulldogs encounter their final real league hurdle in the Oldest Rivalry in the South.

11. Penn State (8-1): Hard to think there will be much focus for the Nittany Lions this week.

12. Georgia Tech (7-2): Gotta wonder which Yellow Jackets will show up. The team that lost to Miami and Miami in back-to-back weeks or the one that humbled Clemson. The ACC Coastal Division crown is at stake.

13. Clemson (8-1): Tigers have had two weeks to stew after falling to Georgia Tech and they'd better have that behind them against a Wake Forest that could take control of the ACC Atlantic with a win.

14. Michigan State (7-2): Spartans can maintain control of Big Ten Legends Division if they can fare better than their in-state brethren did last week.

15. Wisconsin (7-2): Badgers made sure there was no last-gasp pass against Purdue and they should have a similarly easy time against the Gophers.

16. South Carolina (7-2): Gamecocks have work to do to return to Atlanta and now they may have to move forward without Conner Shaw.

Houston WR Patrick Edwards: Cougars are barreling toward an unbeaten season.

17. Houston (9-0): Cougars just keep thumping opponents and shouldn't meet much resistance in the Superdome on Thursday. Back-to-back games against SMU and Tulsa could be tougher hills to climb.

18. USC (7-2): With a goal of playing spoiler, the Trojans can start that task by officially knocking UW from the Pac-12 North race.

19. Nebraska (7-2): On the heels of a clunker of a loss to Northwestern, the Huskers begin the toughest road but clearest path to the Rose Bowl with a visit to Happy Valley.

20. Michigan (7-2): Wolverines have turned inconsistent at the wrong time of the year with a tricky three-game finish on the way.

21. Cincinnati (7-1): Three league wins by 15 points total have the Bearcats flying solo in first place. Can they win a shooting against West Virginia, though?

22. Southern Miss (8-1): Only thing standing between the Eagles and a spot in the C-USA championship game is three games with three bad teams.

23. Texas (6-2): Longhorns have racked up 95 points the last two weeks to bounce back from a two-game skid against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

24. TCU (7-2): After a stunning start and equally as jolting loss to cross-town rival SMU, the Horned Frogs can make their season this week they face Boise State.

25. Kansas State (7-2): Like anybody else who's played OU and Oklahoma State back-to-back, the Wildcats' pride is pretty wounded. Now they have to navigate a tough two-step vs. Texas A&M and Texas.


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