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My AP ballot: Washington, Northwestern solidify spots despite losses

Stanford and quarterback Kevin Hogan celebrated after hanging on vs. Washington. Photo by Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford and quarterback Kevin Hogan celebrated after hanging on vs. Washington. Photo by Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

It was a great Saturday night of college football viewing, but a couple of fantastic finishes did nothing to shake up the rankings.

Northwestern had a fourth-quarter lead on Ohio State before falling short 40-30, which included a last-play touchdown on defense for the Buckeyes (which meant everything to everyone who had gambled on the game).

Washington-Stanford wrapped up Saturday’s action, with the Huskies driving for at least a potential tying score, before a replay reversal on fourth down ended the Huskies’ hopes. The Cardinal held on, 31-28.

The underdogs in both cases played so well that AP voters didn’t punish either team, which was the right call. Competitive losses to Top 5 teams are not a reason to de-value a team.

I ended up dropping the Huskies one spot, only to move rocket-fueled Baylor ahead of them, and I actually moved Northwestern up one place.

No team is more intriguing/vexing than Baylor. The Bears are averaging a ridiculous 70.5 points and 779.5 yards per game while awaiting their first real competition. This week’s game at Kansas State will begin to tell us something. More likely, it could be until November before Baylor gets tested. Enjoy the more-than-a-point-a-minute thrill ride.

Are the numbers for real? Debate: Baylor’s ranking ranges from No. 5 to No. 22 among the 60 AP ballots.

ASU, meanwhile, dropped out of the poll after its loss vs. Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas.

The Sun Devils came through a difficult four-game stretch with a 2-2 record, which sums up how we feel about ASU — good, not great. ASU edged Wisconsin with the help of officials at the end of the game and beat USC badly enough for the Trojans to fire Lane Kiffin … but it stumbled badly at Stanford and made too many mistakes vs. the Irish.

I can see Arizona State living on the fringe of the Top 25 all season. Those final five spots in the poll are usually a revolving door.

Here is my ballot, with comparison to the actual poll:

Gimino Team AP
1 Alabama 1
2 Clemson 3
3 Oregon 2
4 Ohio State 4
5 Stanford 5
6 Georgia 7
7 LSU 10
8 Texas A&M 9
9 Miami 13
10 Florida State 6
11 Louisville 8
12 UCLA 11
13 South Carolina 14
14 Oklahoma 12
15 Baylor 15
16 Washington 16
17 Michigan 18
18 Florida 17
19 Northwestern 19
20 Texas Tech 20
21 Fresno State 21
22 Virginia Tech 24
23 Notre Dame NR
24 Missouri 25
25 Northern Illinois 23
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