The AP ballot turned difficult this week.
It was the first “Shakeup Saturday” of the season, which has reached the point where it’s impossible to keep teams ranked along the logical lines of Team A beat Team B.
It’s more about the full body of work, so South Carolina jumps ahead of Georgia (the Bulldogs won their head-to-head meeting), Oklahoma stays ahead of Texas (can’t yet forgive the Longhorns’ prior sins) and two-loss Wisconsin is back in over two-loss Arizona State, which kinda, mostly beat the Badgers in Tempe.
The poll starts to break down after No. 15. Every team I ranked No. 16 to No. 20, I would like to put from No. 21 to No. 25. There are at least a dozen teams I reasonably considered for the final five slots.
One of those I went with is Utah, which upset No. 5 Stanford 27-21 on Saturday night. The Utes stood toe-to-toe with now-Top 10 UCLA a week earlier (losing 34-27 and ultimately undone by six Travis Wilson interceptions) and has an overtime loss to 5-1 Oregon State.
No shame in either of those losses, and Utah pairs its Stanford moment with a good win at BYU, which beat Texas, which beat Oklahoma, which beat Notre Dame, etc…
I was one of 13 of the 60 AP voters to include Utah, which plays at Arizona on Saturday night.
There are eight SEC teams ranked in this week’s AP poll and only four Pac-12 teams. I have it as seven for the SEC and five for the Pac-12, with an eye on a few more. Arizona State and Oregon State are knocking on the door, and a possibly rejuvenated USC can re-make its case in the next few weeks with games at Notre Dame, vs. Utah and at Oregon State.
Here is my ballot, compared to the AP poll…
I don’t rank Oklahoma State (No. 21 in AP) or Auburn (No. 24 in AP).