The ballot I submitted to the Associated Press for this week’s college football Top 25:
1. Alabama (8-0; Last week: 1; Actual rank: 1)
I’m guessing the Tide have got this spot locked up for the remainder of the season.
2. Michigan (8-0; LW: 2; Actual rank: 2)
Not an overwhelming win at Michigan State, but good enough to keep the Wolverines unbeaten.
3. Washington (8-0; LW: 3; Actual rank: 4)
Huskies got their first significant test of the season and passed it with a 31-24 win at Utah.
4. Clemson (8-0; LW: 4; Actual rank: 3)
Great win for the Tigers against a very good Florida State team. There’s no reason this team shouldn’t coast into the ACC title game at 12-0.
5. Louisville (7-1; LW: 5; Actual rank: 5)
Still the best one-loss team in America, despite a ho-hum win against Virginia. Cardinals are just waiting for somebody to slip up so they can get back into the title race.
6. Ohio State (7-1; LW: 6; Actual: 6)
After the disappointing loss to Penn State, the Buckeyes slugged through a four-point win against Northwestern. I’m thinking they get their act together this week against Nebraska.
7. Texas A&M (7-1; LW: 8; Actual: 7)
Aggies had an easy one after the loss to Alabama, crushing New Mexico State.
8. Wisconsin (6-2; LW: 12; Actual: 8)
I jumped the Badgers over three teams that lost (Baylor, Nebraska and West Virginia), but also a team that won (Oklahoma). Why? The Badgers now own three wins against Top-25 teams and beating previously unbeaten Nebraska was more impressive than any win Oklahoma has had this season.
9. Oklahoma (6-2; LW: 9; Actual: 12)
I’ve been on the Sooner bandwagon all season, despite two early losses. While I did move Wisconsin ahead of them, I still think the Sooners are one of the 10 best teams in the country. They crushed Kansas (not a surprise) last week.
10. Auburn (6-2; LW: 13; Actual: 11)
The Tigers were impressive on the road at Ole Miss last week and have now won five in a row. They could take an eight-game win streak into the Iron Bowl against Alabama later this month.
11. Florida (6-1; LW: 15; Actual: 10)
Gators knocked off rival Georgia, 24-10, last week. Florida might be the least interesting Top-10 team in the country, though. They’ve only played one really good team (Tennessee) and got beat, and they seem to play down to the competition.
12. Baylor (6-1; LW: 7; Actual: 13)
Bears coughed up a great opportunity at Texas last week, losing 35-34. They have plenty of chances to make up ground in the coming weeks, though.
13. Nebraska (7-1; LW: 10; Actual: 9)
Cornhuskers came up short in their toughest game of the year, losing at Wisconsin. Doesn’t get any easier this week at Ohio State.
14. North Carolina (6-2; LW: 19; Actual: 18)
Losses by West Virginia, Florida State, Utah, Boise State and Tennessee helped the Tar Heels jump five spots on a bye week. The schedule sets up well for a potential rematch with Clemson in the ACC title game.
15. Penn State (6-2; LW: 20; Actual: 20)
Knocking off Ohio State two weeks ago seemed to give the Nittany Lions a jolt of confidence, as they waxed Purdue, 62-24. They go into November in contention for the Big Ten East division title.
16. Florida State (5-3; LW: 14; Actual: 19)
This has been a weird team this year. Seminoles have all the talent in the world, but have lost to the three best teams on their schedule (Clemson, Louisville, North Carolina). They could have won two of those.
17. Oklahoma State (6-2; LW: Not ranked; Actual: 22)
I had the Cowboys at No. 26 last week, but had an impressive 17-point win over previously unbeaten West Virginia. They now have two top-25 wins and really should be 7-1, as the loss to Central Michigan came on a play that should not have counted.
18. West Virginia (6-1; LW: 11; Actual: 14)
I said last week I didn’t believe in this team, and then they stubbed their toe at Oklahoma State. They’ll beat Kansas this week, but more losses are coming.
19. Utah (7-2; LW: 16; Actual: 16)
The Utes stood toe-to-toe with unbeaten Washington before falling 31-24 last weekend. Coming into the year, I thought Utah was overrated. So far, the Utes are proving me wrong.
20. Colorado (6-2; LW: 21; Actual: 21)
Buffs had a bye last week, but several losses above them warranted a move to 20. With games against UCLA and Arizona the next two weeks, CU could be on this list for a little while.
21. LSU (5-2; LW: 22; Actual: 15)
Since falling to No. 36 overall in the actual rankings, LSU had two byes, defeated the last-place team in the SEC East (Missouri), the last place team in the SEC West (Ole Miss) and knocked off Southern Mississippi – and yet, they’ve climbed all the way to No. 15? Yeah, the Tigers are playing better since that 2-2 start, but they’re not back yet.
22. Western Michigan (8-0; LW: 23; Actual: 17)
Most voters keep moving the Broncos up because they keep winning. Beating average MAC teams doesn’t warrant much movement, in my opinion. As I said last week, they belong in the rankings because they’re undefeated, but a lot of teams would be 8-0 with that slate.
23. Washington State (6-2; LW: 25; Actual: 25)
The Cougars were THIS close to falling out of my Top 25 before holding on to win at Oregon State, 35-31. They’ve now won six in a row and should make it eight with games against Arizona and Cal the next two weeks.
24. Southern Cal (5-3; LW: Not ranked; Actual: Not ranked)
No doubt, the 1-3 start was ugly for the Trojans. This isn’t the same team, though. With Sam Darnold entrenched at QB, USC is a bonafide Top-25 team that could shake up the national title race in two weeks when it visits Washington.
25. Virginia Tech (5-2; LW: Not ranked; Actual: 23)
The Hokies won a big game at Pitt last weekend. If they win their last three conference games (Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia), they’ll play for the ACC title.
Boise State (7-1; LW: 17; Actual: 24): After struggling at home against Colorado State and BYU, Boise State was due to crack, and the Broncos did just that in losing at Wyoming.
Tennessee (5-3; LW: 18; Actual: not ranked): Not long ago, the Volunteers were in the top 10. Three consecutive losses – the last of which came against unranked South Carolina – changed that in a hurry.
Navy (5-2; LW: 24; Actual: not ranked): Another team that was a bit shaky going into last week, the Midshipmen fell at South Florida.
Knocking on the door (3 teams I have next in line)
Arkansas (5-3): The Razorbacks looked bad in their last game at Auburn, but had a bye last week and now face a great opportunity to make a move. They’ve got Florida and LSU at home the next two weeks.
Houston (7-2): Cougars have stumbled a bit in recent weeks, but the opportunity is still there to finish strong.
San Diego State (7-1): Aztecs had an ugly loss to South Alabama several weeks ago, but since then they’ve won four in a row.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at email@example.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.