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My AP ballot: Tougher calls at the bottom of Top 25 than at the top

LSU is still No. 1 on my ballot; the Tigers play host to Auburn this week. Photo by Crystal LoGiudice-US PRESSWIRE

The top 10 teams in the AP poll are unchanged from last week, and I didn’t make any moves in my top 10 either.

For the second consecutive week, I had Houston on my working Top 25 ballot before making another choice. The strength of schedule for the 6-0 Cougars is still too weak. In fact, if I was going to put a team from Conference USA on my ballot, it would probably be 5-1 SMU, which was a win at TCU after opening the season with a loss at Texas A&M.

Those were two of the close calls on my ballot this week. Other near misses were USC and Georgia Tech, which dropped from the unbeaten ranks with a loss to Virginia.

Unbeaten Kansas State is 12th in the AP poll and on my ballot. The Wildcats have won four in a row against solid competition — at Miami, Baylor, Missouri, at Texas Tech. The next three weeks, however, will tell the tale — Oklahoma, at Oklahoma State, Texas A&M.

The issue moving forward for South Carolina is the loss of sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore, who suffered a torn ACL on Saturday. The Gamecocks and Georgia are each 4-1 in the SEC East, and the Bulldogs have only home games remaining in the SEC — Florida, Auburn and Kentucky.

South Carolina has to play at Tennessee, at Arkansas and is home for Florida. Edge: Georgia, which would get the honor of being smacked down in the SEC title game.

Here’s my ballot:

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

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