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

1. Alabama (12-0; Last week: 1; Actual rank: 1): The Saban train keeps rolling along.

2. Ohio State (11-1; LW: 2; Actual: 2): Whether or not JT Barrett actually got the first down, the Buckeyes made the plays to get a great win against Michigan and likely lock up a spot in the College Football Playoff.

3. Clemson (11-1; LW: 4; Actual: 3): Tigers took care of business and coasted into the ACC title game.

4. Washington (11-1; LW: 7; Actual: 4): Since the loss to USC, the Huskies are 2-0 with wins of 44-18 and 45-17.

5. Michigan (10-2; LW: 3; Actual: 5): Despite the loss in Columbus, the Wolverines are one of the best teams in the country – and not out of the CFP hunt just yet.

6. Wisconsin (10-2; LW: 5; Actual: 6): The Badgers are the team nobody really talks about, but they’ve now got a shot at the Big Ten title and the CFP.

7. Penn State (10-2; LW: 8; Actual: 8): A strong second half against Michigan State carried the Nittany Lions into the Big Ten title game.

8. Oklahoma (9-2; LW: 6; Actual: 7): Sooners were idle last week. Only reasons I moved them down was because Washington’s victory vaulted them to my top four and I give a very slight edge to Penn State. I still think this team can play with and beat anyone.

9. Colorado (10-2; LW: 9; Actual: 9): In my mind, the teams I have Nos. 6-11 are so close, it’s tough to choose where to slot everybody. For now, I like Oklahoma just a little bit better than the Buffs. Beating Washington this week could change my mind.

10. Oklahoma State (9-2; LW: 10; Actual: 11): This is a very good team, but the two worst losses by teams in my Top 16 both belong to the Cowboys (Central Michigan and Baylor).

11. Southern Cal (9-3; LW: 12; Actual: 10): Trojans are playing as well as anyone in the country right now.

12. Western Michigan (12-0; LW: 13: Actual: 13): You have to give Broncos credit for running the table so far, but their best win is against 6-6 Northwestern.

13. Florida State (9-3; LW: 14; Actual: 12): A very up and down team, the Seminoles were up last week in knocking off Florida.

14. West Virginia (9-2; LW: 21; Actual: 14): Teams I had ranked 15-25 last week went 1-10, with the one win coming from West Virginia. All the losses allowed them to move up.

15. Auburn (8-4; LW: 15; Actual: 18): Normally, I would have bumped Auburn down after its loss to Alabama, but with everybody else losing, I kept them here.

16. Stanford (9-3; LW: unranked; Actual: 17): Last week, I had the Cardinal just outside my Top 25. A slew of losses from other teams and a fifth straight vaults them to No. 16.

17. Virginia Tech (9-3; LW: unranked; Actual: 19): Just like Stanford, I had the Hokies just outside last week. But, they won their division title and now get a crack at Clemson in the ACC title game.

18. Louisville (9-3; LW: 11; Actual: 16): Just an ugly finish to the season for Louisville, which lost to rival Kentucky.

19. Florida (8-3; LW: 16; Actual: 15): The SEC East champs have feasted on average to poor teams all year, and last week got thumped by Florida State.

20. South Florida (10-2; LW: unranked; Actual: 24-tie): Getting win No. 10 vaulted the Bulls into the Top 20.

21. LSU (7-4; LW: unranked; Actual: 21): A week after losing to Florida, the Tigers knocked off Texas A&M. They’re kind of here by default, though. Tigers are the only team in my Top 25 that’s 0-4 against the current CFP Top 25.

22. Navy (9-2; LW: unranked; Actual: 20): Midshipmen have won four in a row and will play for the AAC title this week.

23. Iowa (8-4; LW: unranked; Actual: 22): Hawkeyes seem to be past their mid-season struggles. They’ve won three in a row, including against Michigan and Nebraska.

24. Houston (9-3; LW: 18; Actual: unranked): Cougars followed up their big win against Louisville with a disappointing loss to Memphis. And, then they lost their coach. Wasn’t a good weekend for the Cougars.

25. Pittsburgh (8-4; LW: unranked; Actual: 24-tie): Panthers closed the regular season strong, with three wins in a row, including against Clemson. They managed to pull out a 76-61 squeaker against Syracuse last week.

Dropped out

Nebraska (9-3; LW: 17; Actual: 23): I’m done trying to justify the Cornhuskers as a solid team. They are 0-3 this year after the FPI Top 40, 9-0 against the rest of the country. A 30-point loss to Iowa was ugly.

Boise State (10-2; LW: 19): I actually had a chance to watch the Broncos in person last Friday. With plenty to play for, they didn’t play very well and it cost them. I still wonder why coach Bryan Harsin elected to run four times in a row near the goal line in the final minutes after Air Force had stuffed the run all day.

North Carolina (8-4; LW: 20): The Tar Heels are another team that finished on a sour note, losing to rival NC State. Dropped them to 3-3 against FBS teams outside the FPI top 40.

Texas A&M (8-4; LW: 22): A bad loss to LSU close their regular season, as they went 2-4 in the second half.

Utah (8-4; LW: 23): Utah gave a good effort at Colorado, but lost two in a row to close the regular season.

Washington State (8-4; LW: 24): Cougars also lost two in a row to close the regular season, including a 45-17 blowout loss to Washington.

Tennessee (8-4; LW: 25): South Carolina and Vanderbilt can both thank the Volunteers for reaching bowl eligibility.

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


Boise State

Texas A&M

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