Week 12: My AP Top 25 ballot

Here's a look at who I ranked and where in my Nov. 13 AP ballot

A pretty sizable shift in the top 10 this week, with Stanford and Boise State biting the dust and exiting the BCS National Championship Game hunt once and for all this season.

Those teams' losses not only shake things up in the polls, but also swing the door open a little wider for Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma and even Arkansas to punch a ticket New Orleans for the national title game.

For now, LSU and Oklahoma State are in the drivers' seats as the only two remaining undefeated BCS-level teams with three weeks to go in the regular season. Should the Tigers and Cowboys take care of their business, it's a no-brainer for those two to collide.

So many games remain with huge meaning, though, and the rankings – mine included – could shift and move a lot more before it's all said and done.

Oregon and Arkansas made big jumps in my poll this week and hovering right on the fringe for me is Virginia Tech, which notched an impressive win last Thursday at Georgia Tech that got lost in the shuffle of the Stanford and Boise State losses.

Nov. 13 AP poll

1. LSU (10-0):
The Tigers looked pretty human for a half against Western Kentucky, but woke up in plenty of time to flex their muscles down the stretch. If there's a quarterback controversy brewing, it sure hasn't slowed LSU down.

2. Alabama (9-1):
With all the talk swirling about LSU's two-quarterback system, where's all the chatter about the Crimson Tide's two-kicker setup? That could be the only thing that keeps Alabama from claiming another national crown.

3. Oklahoma State (10-0):
Not sure if anybody still counts up style points, but the Cowboys sure racked 'em up against Texas Tech last week. Going on the road to Iowa State isn't as much of a cakewalk as it seems, though.

4. Oregon (9-1):
Lots of people are talking about Oregon jumping back into the national championship hunt, but there's an eager group of Trojans waiting this week who could make their season with an upset.

Dennis Johnson and Arkansas are waiting in the wings in the SEC West and BCS standings.

5. Arkansas (9-1): The Razorbacks went back to looking dominant again with a rout of Tennessee after a few weeks of muddling through. Now it's one more home test against Mississippi State before the Hogs take aim at LSU.

6. Oklahoma (8-1):
The Sooners had a week off to adjust to life without Ryan Broyles and now they get a pair of tuneups for a showdown against Oklahoma State. Baylor is the first one and then Iowa State – two teams that are better than the Texas Tech team that derailed OU's season.

7. Virginia Tech (9-1):
All the Hokies have done since losing to Clemson is punch out five ACC wins in a row, only one by more than 11 points. But that has Tech in line for a rematch with the Tigers in the ACC Championship Game with a win against Virginia.

8. Georgia (8-2):
One more step for the Bulldogs to reach the SEC Championship Game and it's not a tough one – vs. Kentucky. Georgia is playing as well right now as it has since 2007.

9. Stanford (9-1):
The Cardinal's national championship homes are dashed and if there's one week, one game, when Stanford can't afford a letdown it's against the bitter-rival Bears. This could be a tricky week on The Farm.

10. Clemson (9-1):
Living dangerously has cost the Tigers only once, but they are still headed to the ACC title game. Win out and get a wave of upsets above them to help, and CU could even start making a claim in the BCS Championship Game race.

11. Michigan State (8-2):
The Spartans might be the most schizophrenic team in the country, and last week was a good one with a rout at Iowa. Now State has a clear path to the Big Ten title game.

12. Wisconsin (8-2):
Badgers have re-established themselves as an elite team with back-to-back blowouts. But their two big wins didn't require any downfield pass defense, either.

13. Boise State (8-1):
Got to be a familiar feeling in Idaho right now with another potential chance at national championship shot gone. Time to see what the Broncos are made of – to see if they can pick themselves up against a decent San Diego State team.

14. South Carolina (8-2):
All the Gamecocks can do now is wait and hope Kentucky can spring a massive upset at Georgia. If not, Carolina can still play spoiler against Clemson and take aim at a January bow game.

Charles Sims and Houston may wind up in a BCS bowl with an unbeaten season

15. Houston (10-0): The Cougars have done enough to warrant a visit from ESPN's Game Day this week, and Boise State's loss clears the path to a potential BCS bowl berth. But UH is still a ways off from being a real national contender.

16. USC (8-2):
With no bowl game to shoot for, this week looms as a nice substitute. OK, Eugene isn't exactly a warm weather location, but you get the idea. Beating the Ducks could make Troy's season and spoils UO's.

17. Nebraska (8-2):
Nobody promised the Cornhuskers a warm welcome to the Big Ten, but back-to-back games at Penn State and Michigan is a bit much. Nebraska held off the Nittany Lions and can stay in the Rose Bowl hunt by winning in the Big House.

18. Penn State (8-2):
There is never likely to be a week like the Nittany Lions went through last week and they turned in a gritty performance to finish it. But Penn State's destiny is still in site and winning the next two games gets the Lions a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Josh Boyce and TCU found a way to get past Boise State.

19. Michigan (8-2): The bottleneck in the Big Ten standings has been entertaining, and has probably overshadowed the job Brady Hoke has done in his debut season at UM. The Wolverines can add two nice exclamation points by winning against Nebraska and Ohio State.

20. TCU (8-2):
The Horned Frogs put a memorable spin on their swan song season in the Mountain West by ending Boise State's big dreams. Nice way to segue into the Big 12.

21. Southern Miss (8-1):
Central Florida almost punched a hole in the Golden Eagles' season, but they survived. Probably safe to project USM as the Conference USA East rep in the league championship game with remaining games against bottom feeders UAB and Memphis.

22. Kansas State (8-2):
The Wildcats won a game for the ages against Texas A&M and can add another layer to their newest resurrection project by winning at Texas this week.

23. Georgia Tech (7-3):
The Yellow Jackets' season has turned sour with three losses in four games, but they can finish strong … and be a thorn in Georgia's side.

24. Tulsa (7-3):
Nobody is talking much about the Golden Hurricane, but they could jump onto the radar big-time by ending Houston's unbeaten run on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

25. Cincinnati (7-2):
The Bearcats stubbed their toe against West Virginia and now they have to move on without quarterback Zach Collaros, who broke an ankle and is out the last three games.


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