The ballot I submitted to the Associated Press for this week's college football Top 25:

1. Alabama (9-0; Last week: 1; Actual rank: 1)
There really is no doubt about the top team in the country at this point. The Tide solidified their No. 1 ranking with a 10-0 win against LSU last week.

2. Michigan (9-0; LW: 2; Actual: 2)
Wolverines are the only team that's defeated 3 teams from the current College Football Playoff Top 12 - No. 12 Colorado, No. 10 Penn State and No. 7 Wisconsin - and they did it in consecutive weeks.

3. Washington (9-0; LW: 3; Actual: 4)
The Huskies' schedule hasn't been too daunting, but they've been dominating most of the year. They'll have chances over the next few weeks to prove whether or not they belong here.

4. Clemson (9-0; LW: 4; Actual: 3)
Tigers haven't always been pretty, but they've got wins against Auburn, Louisville and Florida State.

5. Ohio State (8-1; LW: 6; Actual: 6)
I've had the Buckeyes behind Louisville, but their 62-3 crushing of Nebraska was impressive, and I felt they deserved a chance to move up.

6. Louisville (8-1; LW: 5; Actual: 5)
Despite bumping the Cardinals down a spot this week, I still really like this team and believe they are a legit contender for the CFP.

7. Wisconsin (7-2; LW: 8; Actual: 7)
The Badgers aren't flashy, but they win hard-nosed, tough football games. The two losses came against Michigan and Ohio State - by a total of just 14 points.



Oklahoma (7-2; LW: 9; Actual: 9)
The Sooners have won six in a row. Winning out - making them 10-2 - and claiming the Big 12 title would give the Sooners a shot at the playoffs.

9. Auburn (7-2; LW: 10; Actual: 8)
After a 1-2 start, the Tigers were written off. Now they've won six in a row and the two losses - Clemson and Texas A&M - don't look too bad. They still have a shot at Alabama (on Nov. 26) and the SEC title game. Win out and this is a playoff team.

10. Texas A&M (7-2; LW: 7; Actual: 10)
The Aggies looked bad against a Mississippi State team that came in 3-5 last week. To make matters worse, they lost QB Trevor Knight for the season. Aggies will have a tough time staying here.

11. North Carolina (7-2; LW: 14; Actual: 15)
This is a very good team that nobody talks about. The potential to face Clemson in the ACC title game makes the Tar Heels an intriguing team down the stretch.

12. Penn State (7-2; LW: 15; Actual: 12)
Not many teams in the country have been better over the past month. The Nittany Lions rolled past Iowa, 41-14, on Saturday.

13. Oklahoma State (7-2; LW: 17; Actual: 17)
The Week 2 loss to Central Michigan is a bad mark on an otherwise great season for the Cowboys - even if that loss did come on a play that never should have happened.

14. West Virginia (7-1; LW: 18; Actual: 11)
At 7-1, the Mountaineers deserve a solid ranking, but I want to see them beat somebody worth talking about.

15. Utah (7-2; LW: 19; Actual: 13)
Utes were on a bye last week, but moved up because of a bunch of losses ahead of them. Playing toe-to-toe with Washington two weeks ago showed they are a good team, but they too often play to the level of their competition.

16. Colorado (7-2; LW: 20; Actual: 16)
Ugly win against UCLA last week at home, but it kept the Buffs atop the Pac-12 South. Are they really this good? Not sure yet. They'll get a chance to prove it during the final two weeks of the regular season.

17. Florida State (6-3; LW: 16; Actual: 20)
I bumped the Seminoles down a spot after barely getting past NC State. This is a good team, but not the Florida State we're used to seeing.

18. Washington State (7-2; LW: 23; Actual: 23)
No question, voters are still hung on the fact the Cougars opened the season with a loss to an FCS team. They've won seven in a row, however, and at this moment look very much like a Top-20 team.

19. Western Michigan (9-0; LW: 22; Actual: 14)
Several losses led me to bump the Broncos into the Top 20. As I've said all along, however, with their schedule, I don't think they belong much higher. Yeah, they've got two wins against the Big Ten. Those two Big Ten teams are a combined 7-11.

20. Arkansas (6-3; LW: Unranked; Actual: Unranked)
Last week, I had the Razorbacks at No. 26. After thumping Florida, 31-10, they deserved to move up. All three losses are to teams in the Top 10, and now they've got a high quality win.

21. Southern Cal (6-3; LW: 24; Actual: Unranked)
I've got to think that the image of USC's 52-6 season-opening loss to Alabama is hard to erase for most voters. I'm not sure there's a team in the country that's taken a more dramatic turn for the better this season, though. This is not the same team that started the year 1-3. Over the last five weeks, they've looked like a Top-10 or Top-15 team, and they have a real shot to shake up the national title picture this week against Washington.

22. Florida (6-2; LW: 11; Actual: 22)
Dropping the Gators 11 spots after a win against a quality seems dramatic. Last week, however, I wrote that this was the least interesting top team in rankings and felt they've played down the competition all year. The 21-point loss to Arkansas tells me this just isn't a very good team. They're really only played two quality opponents, and they've lost to both.

23. LSU (5-3; LW: 21; Actual: 19)
I was really surprised when voters - and the CFP selection committee - vaulted LSU into the top 15 before last week's games despite the Tigers not doing anything to warrant that. They're now 0-3 against the three best teams on their schedule and their best win has come against the most disappointing team in the SEC (Ole Miss). Yeah, they hung with Alabama last week before losing 10-0, but was anyone really surprised? That's a big-time rivalry game for the Tigers.

24. Nebraska (7-2; LW: 13; Actual: 21)
When the Huskers got to 7-0, I had them at No. 10 and wrote, "I have a feeling they'll get knocked down to reality the next two weeks." Since then, they've lost at Wisconsin and got blasted by Ohio State, 62-3. This is a good, solid team that'll win 9 or 10 games, but not a top-20 team.

25. Baylor (6-2; LW: 12; Actual: 25)
The Bears vaulted into the top 10 with a 6-0 start against a soft schedule. We knew the second half would be tougher, and so far they are 0-2 in the second half, including last week's 62-22 loss to TCU. More losses are coming, too.

Dropped out

Virginia Tech (7-2; LW: 25; Actual: 18): I had a hard time dropping the Hokies off my ballot this week. I really didn't think Florida, LSU, Nebraska and Baylor deserved to drop all the way out. But, I also believe that Arkansas deserved to be ranked. Last week, I had Virginia Tech at No. 25 and Arkansas at No. 26. Arkansas then blasted Florida, while the Hokies escaped against Duke. Keep winning and they'll get back on my ballot soon.

Knocking on the door (3 teams I have next in line)

Virginia Tech (7-2): The Hokies can win the next three and get into the ACC title game.

Houston (7-2): The Cougars had a bye last week. Their last chance to make any noise comes next week against Louisville.

San Diego State (8-1): Since a loss to South Alabama, the Aztecs have played very well.

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