My AP Ballot: Upsets put OK State, Stanford, Clemson in top 5

by | College Football Insider

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- At last, some normalcy returned to college football. By normalcy, of course, I mean upsets.

And there were two biggies: Michigan State's stunning 37-31 victory against Wisconsin and Texas Tech's 41-38 shocker at Oklahoma. Losses by the Badgers and Sooners caused major shuffling in my Associated Press ballot, specifically my Top 10 teams.

LSU and Alabama remain 1A and 1B (officially Nos. 1 and 2), but Oklahoma State climbed to No. 3, Stanford to No. 4 and Clemson to No. 5 on my AP ballot.

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Kansas State and Michigan State made huge jumps into my Top 10 this week, while Texas Tech debuted on my AP ballot at No. 16.

Other teams in my rankings this week that I didn't rank last week: No. 21 Arizona State, No. 22 USC, No. 23 Penn State and No. 25 Cincinnati.

Dropping out of my poll were West Virginia, Illinois, Auburn, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech.

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

1. LSU (1): The Tigers (8-0) already have scored at least 40 points five times this season. The last time LSU scored at least 40 points in five or more regular season games was 2007, the year the Tigers won the BCS title. Next: at Alabama, Nov. 5.

2. Alabama (2): Alabama (8-0) allowed only a pair of field goals to Tennessee, marking the 24th time the past 41 games the Crimson Tide has limited an opponent to 10 or fewer points. Next: vs. LSU, Nov. 5.

3. Oklahoma State (5): For the second consecutive season, the Cowboys (7-0) have scored at least 30 points in their first seven games, including 45 at Missouri on Saturday. Last year's streak ended in game eight with a 24-point effort against Kansas State. Next: vs. Baylor, Saturday.

4. Stanford (6): The Cardinal (7-0) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 15 games, including 10 consecutive victories by at least 26 points. Next: at USC, Saturday.

5. Clemson (7): Clemson (8-0) is only the third team in ACC history to score 56 or more points in consecutive games. Florida State (1992) and Virginia (1990) are the others. Next: at Georgia Tech, Saturday.

6. Boise State (8): Senior quarterback Kellen Moore pulled even with Texas' Colt McCoy as the winningest starting quarterback in NCAA FBS history with his 44th victory as Boise State (7-0) beat Air Force. Of Moore's 44 wins, only four have been by fewer than 10 points. Next: at UNLV, Nov. 5.

7. Oregon (9): Since losing its opener to LSU, the Ducks (6-1) have scored at least 40 points in reeling off six consecutive victories. During its winning streak, Oregon is averaging 51.7 points. Next: vs. Washington State, Saturday.

8. Kansas State (11): Kansas State is off to its first 7-0 start since 1999 when it finished 11-1. K-State is an underdog Saturday at Oklahoma, marking the fifth time in six games the Wildcats have been the underdog. Next: vs. Oklahoma, Saturday.

9. Arkansas (10): The Razorbacks (6-1) were limited to 29 points in Saturday's win at Ole Miss, marking only the seventh time in the past 32 regular-season games Bobby Petrino's offense failed to score 30 points. Next: at Vanderbilt, Saturday.

10. Michigan State (15): The Spartans (6-1) committed no penalties in their wild victory against Wisconsin. Michigan State's 37 points were its most at home against a Big Ten team since Indiana in 2007. Next: at Nebraska, Saturday.

11. Oklahoma (3): The Sooners (6-1) have allowed 40 or more points in two of their past 10 games. Prior to that, Oklahoma hadn't allowed more than 40 points since 2008. Next: at Kansas State, Saturday.

12. Wisconsin (4): The national title hopes of the Badgers (6-1) came to a crashing end with their loss at Michigan State. In the past two years, the Badgers are 0-2 against Michigan State and 17-1 against everyone else. Next: at Ohio State, Saturday.

13. South Carolina (13): Without quarterback Stephen Garcia and running back Marcus Lattimore, the Gamecocks (6-1) face consecutive road games at Tennessee and Arkansas. South Carolina is 2-0 this year in true road games, winning by a total of five points. Next: at Tennessee, Saturday.

14. Nebraska (14): The Cornhuskers (6-1) are averaging 41 points in their six victories. Now they get Michigan State in a battle for the top of the Big Ten's Legends Division. Next: vs. Michigan State, Saturday.

15. Texas A&M (19): One major difference for the Aggies (5-2) when they join the SEC next season will be the amount of travel they'll have. Including Saturday's game with Missouri in College Station, 26 of Texas A&M's past 33 games have been played in the state of Texas. Next: vs. Missouri, Saturday.

16. Texas Tech (NR): Last season, the Red Raiders (5-2) lost 45-7 at Oklahoma. Saturday, they got their revenge, pulling off the upset of the year with a 41-38 victory against Oklahoma Norman. Texas Tech was a four-touchdown underdog, but should be favored in four of its final five games. Next: vs. Iowa State, Saturday.

17. Michigan (17): How will the Wolverines (6-1) respond after their first loss under Brady Hoke? We'll find out Saturday. In the past three seasons under Rich Rodriguez, Michigan was 5-14 the next game following a loss. Next: vs. Purdue, Saturday.

18. Virginia Tech (18): Since Virginia Tech (7-1) was limited to three points against Clemson, the Hokies have averaged 35 points in their past three games, all wins. Next: at Duke, Saturday.

19. Houston (22): Houston QB Case Keenum broke former Hawaii QB Timmy Chang's NCAA total offense record as the Cougars (7-0) routed Marshall. Keenum also moved within 802 yards of Chang's NCAA passing-yards record (17,072). He also needs only five TD passes to break the NCAA touchdown record (134), held by Texas Tech's Graham Harrell. Next: vs. Rice, Thursday.

20. Georgia (23): Coach Mark Richt and the Bulldogs (5-2) have rebounded from their 0-2 start. Now the Bulldogs meet Florida, hoping to end a three-game skid vs. the Gators. Richt is only 2-8 against Florida. Next: vs. Florida in Jacksonville, Saturday.

21. Arizona State (NR): After on off week the Sun Devils (5-2) welcome Colorado to Tempe this week and it won't be pretty. The Buffaloes are allowing 40.4 points per game in their seven losses. Next: vs. Colorado, Saturday.

22. Southern California (NR): The Trojans (6-1) and Coach Lane Kiffin already have six wins. Kiffin's on pace to increase his win total for a second straight year after going 7-6 at Tennessee in 2009 and 8-5 at USC last season. Next: vs. Stanford, Saturday.

23. Penn State (NR): Five of the Nittany Lions' six wins against FBS foes have been by 10 or fewer points. Penn State (7-1) is off to its best start since 2009 when it started 9-1. Next: vs. Illinois, Saturday.

24. Washington (16): The Huskies (5-2) managed 21 points against Stanford. It was the most allowed by the Cardinal this season, but the Huskies still were no match for Stanford. Next: vs. Arizona, Saturday

25. Cincinnati (NR): Senior Zach Collaros become only the second Cincinnati quarterback to throw for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. The Bearcats have won five consecutive games while limiting their past four opponents to 31.8 yards rushing per game. Next: at Pittsburgh, Nov. 5.


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