The chaos of Saturday elevated Notre Dame to No. 1 in the AP poll, and Alabama back into the driver’s seat for a spot for the national championship game.
The Irish and Ohio State (ineligible for the postseason) are the only two unbeaten teams, and Notre Dame deserves unanimous support for the top spot. The Irish, despite some close calls, have wins over Michigan, Stanford and at Oklahoma to hang their leprechaun hats on.
I dropped Oregon from No. 1 to No. 5 following its overtime loss to Stanford, although I will revisit the Ducks’ status relative to the SEC teams if they win at Oregon State this week and get to play in the Pac-12 title game vs. UCLA (which would require a Bruins’ victory over the visiting Cardinal this weekend).
I dropped Kansas State further — from No. 2 to No. 9 — because its loss at Baylor was “worse” than Oregon’s close defeat to a ranked team.
I had more trouble at the bottom of the poll. I did consider 7-4 Arizona, because the Wildcats have as many or more quality wins than any team on the fringes of the poll. But every team in that range has its flaws, and it’s more of a guessing game than anyone would want to admit.
Arizona did end up on four of the 60 AP ballots — a No. 20, a No. 21 and a pair of No. 25s. Another victory this week against Arizona State, which would make the Cats 5-1 in the second half of the season, could move them in.
Here is my ballot for the week:
1. Notre Dame
3. Ohio State
8. Texas A&M
9. Kansas State
11. Florida State
12. South Carolina
15. Oregon State
21. Oklahoma State
22. Utah State
23. Northern Illinois
24. Kent State