Highlights from the ballot …
— Alabama and Georgia remained on top after dominating victories over ranked opponents (Mississippi and Arkansas, respectively), while Iowa and Penn State flipped positions, with the Hawkeyes now the No. 3 team.
— Cincinnati was the big riser this week, jumping nine spots, to No. 5, after the victory at Notre Dame.
The Bearcats are undefeated with a double-digit road win over what was, and still is, a top-10 team (at least on my ballot). That’s plenty good enough for a top-five spot, ahead of the Oklahoma schools, Oregon and Ohio State.
(Yes, both Oklahoma schools: The Cowboys beat Baylor and are worthy of a top-10 ranking.)
— Speaking of Oregon: The Ducks dropped only three spots, to No. 8, after the overtime loss to Stanford.
Their limited slide was due partly to developments elsewhere: Half the teams on the ballot lost, including four of the top 10.
What’s more, I believe the Ducks should be ranked ahead of Ohio State, at least while they have the same number of losses. And the Buckeyes, who thumped Rutgers, warrant a spot in the top 10.
— Arizona State returned to the ballot, in the No. 19 position, after winning handily at UCLA.
The Sun Devils have one loss, to a ranked opponent (BYU), and can now claim a quality victory.
— We considered Oregon State for a spot at the bottom of the ballot.
But even though they’re 4-1 and atop the Pac-12 North, the Beavers have a loss to unranked Purdue (which just lost to unranked Minnesota) and no wins over ranked opponents.
Beating USC (3-2) and Washington (2-3) means nothing these days when evaluating a team’s merits for the top 25.
In fact, the Beavers aren’t scheduled to face a ranked opponent until the end of the season, when they play ASU and Oregon back-to-back.
If they keeping winning, we’ll reassess. But at the moment, their resume doesn’t quite clear our bar.
— Removed from the ballot this week: Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Fresno State, UCLA and LSU.
— New to the ballot this week: Kentucky, ASU, Clemson, Texas and Wake Forest.
4. Penn State
7. Oklahoma State
9. Ohio State
10. Notre Dame
11. Michigan State
14. Brigham Young
17. Coastal Carolina
19. Arizona State
24. Kansas State
25. Wake Forest
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