My AP Ballot: No change at top, but hello, Michigan State

by | College Football Insider

AUSTIN, Texas -- And the beat(ings) go on.

The top nine teams on my Associated Press ballot won by an average margin of 30.5 points Saturday so there wasn't much movement at the top. Actually, there wasn't any movement as the top nine teams remained the same: LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Clemson, Boise State and Oregon.

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The rest of my rankings were shuffled a little bit with losses by lower-ranked teams (Michigan, Illinois, Arizona State, Baylor and Texas).

New teams in my AP poll this week: Michigan State, Texas A&M and Auburn.

Here is my AP ballot for this week. Last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. LSU (1): The Tigers (7-0) have won every game this year by at least 13 points. They also have trailed for only 6 minutes, 33 seconds of 420 minutes this season. Next: vs. Auburn, Saturday.

2. Alabama (2): Running back Trent Richardson has a national-best six consecutive games with at least 100 yards rushing after blitzing Ole Miss for a career-high 183 yards in a 52-7 victory for the Crimson Tide (7-0). Next: vs. Tennessee, Saturday.

3. Oklahoma (3): The Sooners (6-0) scored five touchdowns in their 47-17 victory against Kansas, but had to settle for four field goals on four other trips inside KU's 20-yard line. Next: vs. Texas Tech, Saturday.

4. Wisconsin (4): The Badgers (6-0) are the nation's only team to have won every game by at least 31 points. Wisconsin's average margin of victory is 40.5 points. Next: at Michigan State, Saturday.

5. Oklahoma State (5): Since 2009, Oklahoma State (6-0) is a Big 12-best 15-4 in conference games. The Cowboys also became the first team to defeat Texas in Austin in consecutive seasons since Oklahoma in 1910-11. Next: at Missouri, Saturday.

6. Stanford (6): The Cardinal (6-0) have the nation's longest winning streak at 14 games and have won each of their past nine by at least 26 points. Before last season, Stanford hadn't won nine games in a row since 1951. Next: vs. Washington, Saturday.

7. Clemson (7): Clemson (7-0) came back from an 18-point deficit to defeat Maryland, the second-largest comeback in school history. Next: vs. North Carolina, Saturday.

8. Boise State (8): Senior quarterback Kellen Moore won his 43rd game as a starting quarterback for the Broncos (6-0). That's one shy of tying the NCAA's FBS record of 44, set by Texas' Colt McCoy. Next: vs. Air Force, Saturday.

9. Oregon (9): The Ducks have won eight consecutive road games, tied for the nation's second-longest current streak with Oklahoma State. Oregon (5-1) should have no trouble notching its ninth in a row this week against woeful Colorado. Next: at Colorado, Saturday.

10. Arkansas (11): The past two wins for the Razorbacks (5-1) were vs. Texas A&M and Auburn, marking their first back-to-back wins against top 15-ranked opponents since Nov. 13 and 20, 1999. Next: at Ole Miss, Saturday.

11. Kansas State (12): Kansas State (6-0) won for the fourth consecutive week as an underdog. The Wildcats are the first FBS team to do so in four consecutive weeks since N.C. State in 2008. Next: at Kansas, Saturday.

12. West Virginia (16): Since 2005, West Virginia (5-1) has lost only 10 Big East games. The Mountaineers are 6-3 the following season against teams they lost to the previous season. Syracuse upset WVU last year 19-14. Next: at Syracuse, Friday.

13. South Carolina (17): Sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore, who was averaging an SEC-best 130 yards per game for the Gamecocks (6-1), was limited to 39 yards before a season-ending knee injury. Next: at Tennessee, Oct. 29.

14. Nebraska (18): The Cornhuskers (5-1) are halfway to another 10-win season, which would be their third in a row. If Nebraska reaches 10 victories it will mark the first time Nebraska has won at least 10 games in three consecutive seasons since 1999-2001 under Frank Solich. Next: at Minnesota, Saturday.

15. Michigan State (NR): Kirk Cousins became the first starting QB at Michigan State (5-1) to win three consecutive starts against Michigan. "For the rest of our life, we can walk the streets of Michigan," Cousins said. Next: vs. Wisconsin, Saturday.

16. Washington (20): Sophomore quarterback Keith Price has 21 touchdown passes this season for the Huskies (5-1). That already is tied for the fourth most in a season in school history. Next: at Stanford, Saturday.

17. Michigan (10): The Wolverines (6-1) have lost four consecutive games to Michigan State for the first time since 1959-62. It equals the Wolverines' longest losing streak to the Spartans. Next: vs. Purdue, Oct. 29.

18. Virginia Tech (21): Virginia Tech (6-1) has scored 38 points in consecutive games. It's only the fourth time since 2006 the Hokies have scored at least 38 points in consecutive ACC games. Next: vs. Boston College, Saturday.

19. Texas A&M (NR): The Aggies (4-2) defeated Baylor despite Robert Griffin III throwing for a Bears-record 430 yards. Griffin is the third quarterback in the past four games to set a school record for passing yards against the Aggies, joining Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson. Next: at Iowa State, Saturday.

20. Illinois (13): Since Ron Zook came to Illinois (6-1) in 2005, the Illini are 9-17 in Big Ten home games after Saturday's loss to Ohio State. Next: at Purdue, Saturday.

21. Houston (23): Case Keenum needs only 139 yards to break former Hawaii QB Timmy Chang's NCAA total-offense record (16,910) He's also now only 1,178 yards from breaking Chang's NCAA passing record (17,072). Next: vs. Marshall, Saturday.

22. Notre Dame (24): The Fighting Irish (4-2) welcome Southern California this week. Notre Dame has won only four of the past 15 meetings against the Trojans and haven't beaten USC in South Bend since 2001. Next: vs. USC, Saturday.

23. Georgia (25): The Bulldogs (5-2) are allowing only 12.6 points per game in winning their past five games. Georgia allowed 40 points per game in its two losses. Next: vs. Florida in Jacksonville, Oct. 29.

24. Georgia Tech (14): Coming off the Yellow Jackets' first loss Saturday, Georgia Tech (6-1) looks to improve on its 8-3 record in games following a loss under coach Paul Johnson. Next: at Miami, Saturday.

25. Auburn (NR): The Tigers (5-2) visit LSU on Saturday, marking the sixth time in eight games this season they're playing a team that has been ranked at some point this year. Next: at LSU, Saturday.


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