My AP Ballot: Unbeaten Oklahoma State climbs up to second

by | College Football Insider

STILLWATER, Okla. -- The games involving LSU and Oklahoma State both came down to the final play. LSU hit the winning field goal at Alabama in overtime, and Oklahoma State's defense held Kansas State out of the end zone from the 5-yard line.

Those two plays kept the Tigers and Cowboys unbeaten and on top of my Associated Press ballot this week.

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LSU remained No. 1, where the Tigers have been since the last week of September. Oklahoma State moves up from No. 3 to No. 2, while Alabama drops two spots to No. 4 behind unbeaten Stanford.

I still have the Crimson Tide ranked ahead of unbeatens Boise State and Houston, although the Cougars are now in my Top 10.

Dropping out of my Top 25 this week were Arizona State and Washington. They were replaced by Georgia Tech and Texas.

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

1. LSU (1): Not even a vampire enjoys the night as much as coach Les Miles. The Tigers (9-0) continued their late night magic, improving to 31-1 in their past 32 night games away from Tiger Stadium by edging Alabama 9-6 in overtime. Next: vs. Western Kentucky, Saturday.

2. Oklahoma State (3): The Cowboys, 9-0 for only the second time in school history, topped 50 points for the fifth time. They try to extend their school record nine-game road winning streak the next two weeks against Texas Tech and Iowa State. Next: at Texas Tech, Saturday.

3. Stanford (4): After winning 10 consecutive games by at least 26 points, the Cardinal (9-0) have won their past two -- against USC and Oregon State -- by a total of "only" 33. Stanford's national-best 17-game winning streak gets its toughest test Saturday. Next: vs. Oregon, Saturday.

4. Alabama (2): In its past two games, Alabama (8-1) has allowed only five field goals. But the Crimson Tide have missed four. Next: at Mississippi State, Saturday.

5. Boise State (5): QB Kellen Moore became the winningest starting quarterback in NCAA FBS history with his 46th victory as the Broncos (8-0) blitzed UNLV. But Boise State still needs some help to get in the national title picture. Next: vs. TCU, Saturday.

6. Oregon (6): Since losing the opener against LSU, Oregon (8-1) has reeled off eight consecutive victories. During their winning streak, the Ducks are averaging 48.4 points per game. Next: at Stanford, Saturday.

7. Arkansas (7): The Razorbacks (8-1) have won all five home games by double digits, so this week's visit from Tennessee should be no problem, right? Actually, Tennessee has won 13 of the past 16 meetings with Arkansas. Next: vs. Tennessee, Saturday.

8. Oklahoma (8): Oklahoma senior WR Ryan Broyles suffered a season-ending knee injury Saturday. Broyles finishes his career as the NCAA's all-time leader with 349 receptions. He also set school records in receiving yards (4,586) and touchdowns (45) for the Sooners (8-1). Next: at Baylor, Nov. 19.

9. Clemson (11): The Tigers (8-1) will clinch the ACC's Atlantic Division title and a berth in the ACC championship game with a victory in Saturday's home finale against Wake Forest. Clemson has won its past five home games against the Demon Deacons. Next: vs. Wake Forest, Saturday.

10. Houston (13): Senior QB Case Keenum broke the NCAA's all-time passing yardage record. Keenum now has set four NCAA records for the Cougars (9-0), who are averaging 58.3 points in their past six games. Next: at Tulane, Thursday.

11. Michigan State (14): The Spartans (7-2) visit their personal house of horrors in Iowa City on Saturday. Michigan State hasn't won at Iowa since 1989, losing by an average of 15 points per game. Next: at Iowa, Saturday.

12. Wisconsin (15): No Hail Mary worries this time: The Badgers (7-2) scored a season-high 62 points in pummeling Purdue 62-17. Next: at Minnesota, Saturday.

13. South Carolina (10): The Gamecocks (7-2) allowed 44 points at Arkansas, after allowing only 37 in their previous five games combined against Tennessee, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Auburn and Vanderbilt. Next: vs. Florida, Saturday.

14. Kansas State (12): The Wildcats (7-2) have been outgained in six of their past seven but still managed to win five. K-State has been outscored by the state of Oklahoma 110-62. Next: vs. Texas A&M, Saturday.

15. Nebraska (9): The Cornhuskers (7-2) have lost four games in each of coach Bo Pelini's first three seasons. To finish with fewer than four losses this season, Nebraska must win three of its last four at Penn State, at Michigan, home against Iowa and its bowl game. Next: at Penn State, Saturday.

16. Georgia (17): Running backs? We don't need no stinking running backs. Without three suspended backs, Georgia QB Aaron Murray threw for a school-record five TDs -- all in the second quarter. After their 0-2 start, the Bulldogs (7-2) are leading the SEC East. Next: vs. Auburn, Saturday.

17. Virginia Tech (18): Virginia Tech (8-1) leads the nation with seven consecutive 10-win seasons. To reach double digits for an eighth straight year, the Hokies need two more victories, and if they reach ACC title game, they have five games remaining. Next: at Georgia Tech, Thursday.

18. Penn State (21): Penn State (8-1) is the lone undefeated team in the Big Ten's Leaders Division and has a two-game cushion over Wisconsin and Ohio State with three to play. But the Nittany Lions' final three opponents (Nebraska, at Ohio State, at Wisconsin) are a combined 20-7. Next: vs. Nebraska, Saturday.

19. Southern California (22): Because of probation, the Trojans (7-2) are ineligible for the Pac-12 title game, but they'll certainly determine who gets there. After this week's game with Washington, the Trojans close the season against the possible leaders of the Pac-12 North (Oregon) and Pac-12 South (UCLA). Next: vs. Washington, Saturday.

20. Cincinnati (24): The Bearcats (7-1) are undefeated in Big East play, but it hasn't been easy. Cincinnati has overcome second-half deficits of nine points (Louisville), 10 (South Florida) and 10 (Pittsburgh) to lead the Big East at 3-0. Next: vs. West Virginia, Saturday.

21. Ohio State (23): The Buckeyes (6-3) have been playing better but must win out -- including their bowl game -- to avoid matching their most losses in a season since the 2004 team went 8-4. Next: at Purdue, Saturday.

22. Auburn (25): The three teams Auburn (6-3) has lost to this season -- Clemson, Arkansas and LSU -- are a combined 25-2. The Tigers' final two FBS opponents to close the season (Alabama and Georgia) are 15-3. Next: at Georgia, Saturday.

23. Georgia Tech (NR): The Yellow Jackets (7-2) ended their two-game skid by winning at Clemson on Oct. 29. Now Georgia Tech faces Virginia Tech, trying to win consecutive weeks against ranked opponents for the first time since beating Miami and Georgia in 2008. Next: vs. Virginia Tech, Thursday.

24. Texas (NR): The Longhorns (6-2) are 0-2 against teams from the state of Oklahoma, being outscored 93-43, but 6-0 against teams from outside Oklahoma. Next: at Missouri, Saturday.

25. Michigan (16): Another second-half collapse for Michigan? Since the Wolverines' 6-0 start, Michigan (7-2) has lost two of its past three. Last year, Michigan started 5-1, but lost five of its last seven games. Next: at Illinois, Saturday.


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