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My week 5 AP ballot: Top tier of teams emerging

Clemson players shower coach Dabo Swinney with Gatorade after their win at Virginia Tech. Photo by Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

I meant to post this Sunday, but never got around to it …

The top tier looks nine deep, with the top six in particular posting impressive victories.
Boise State is next on my ballot because of its win at Georgia (not bad at all), and then come Stanford and Oregon. The Cardinal hasn’t played a top-flight team yet, while Oregon failed against LSU in its opener in Dallas.

I have Clemson at No. 4 (the Tigers are eighth in the AP poll), and you could make a case that the Tigers should be third based strictly on their three-game run through Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech.

After the first tier, you either have undefeated teams that have player so-so competition so far or that has one loss to an elite team but also has a high-quality win.

In these cases, I usually go with the team that has the higher-quality win … hence, Auburn at No. 10 (winning at South Carolina) and Arkansas at No. 11 (beating Texas A&M).

I slid 4-1 Washington onto my ballot at No. 24, giving the Pac-12 four representatives. I put Notre Dame in the last spot, making me one of seven voters (there are 60 of us) to include the Irish. Even with two losses, Notre Dame’s good wins over Michigan State and at Pitt give them better victories than those on the fringes of the Top 25.

Here is this week’s ballot:

1. LSU
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. Clemson
5. Oklahoma State
6. Wisconsin
7. Boise State
8. Stanford
9. Oregon
10. Auburn
11. Arkansas
12. Texas
13. Michigan
14. Nebraska
15. South Carolina
16. Georgia Tech
17. Illinois
18. West Virginia
19. Texas A&M
20. Florida
21. Kansas State
22. Arizona State
23. Florida State
24. Washington
25. Notre Dame

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