My AP Top 25 ballot: Why FSU is my new No. 1

Nov. 03, 2013 @ 09:29 AM

After Week 10
1 Florida State
2 Alabama
3 Oregon
4 Ohio State
5 Stanford
6 Baylor
7 Auburn
8 Clemson
9 LSU
10 UCLA
11 Texas A&M
12 Oklahoma
13 South Carolina
14 Missouri
15 Arizona State
16 Wisconsin
17 Miami
18 Central Florida
19 Oklahoma State
20 Georgia
21 Notre Dame
22 Fresno State
23 Michigan State
24 Louisville
25 BYU

Next up: N Illinois

Moving in: Oklahoma State (19), Michigan State (23)

Moving out: Texas Tech, Florida

I changed my No. 1 pick for the first time this season. I had Alabama on top in my preseason poll, and for nine weeks they’ve stayed there, mainly because they haven’t done anything that would cause me to drop them.
But after eight games, I believe Florida State has done more to earn that spot. The blowout at Clemson is the single most impressive win of the season so far. Then FSU followed that up by blowing out another Top 10 team last night.
In between, its only other game that was decided by fewer than 27 points was a 14-point win at Boston College.
Like I said before, the Tide haven’t done anything to make me stop believing. But their best win was at Texas A&M, which became less impressive when the Aggies dropped a home game to Auburn. The neutral site win over Virginia Tech also lost its luster recently.
Oregon also had a quality win lose some of its value (at Washington) when the Huskies tumbled out of the rankings. The UCLA win is big, but there’s a slight deduction since it came at home.
Baylor still hasn’t played a ranked team, so it wasn’t in the discussion for me at the moment.
I fully expect these rankings to change after next week’s Oregon-Stanford, Baylor-Oklahoma and Alabama-LSU games. But right now, after 10 weeks, FSU has proven to me it deserves the No. 1 ranking.
Not much other movement in a week when half the teams in my rankings were off. I switched Oklahoma State and Texas Tech after their game Saturday, took out Florida after its loss to Georgia and inserted Michigan State, who had an impressive win over Michigan. If I could vote for a 26th team, Northern Illinois would be it (and with BYU playing at Wisconsin next week, NIU could move in soon).

Update (9:27 a.m.) Also forget to make a comment about Miami. Normally I wouldn't drop someone 10 spots for losing on the road to a top team. But the Hurricanes barely beat mediocre teams the past two weeks (UNC and Wake Forest), and just lost their best player (RB Duke Johnson). Right now I wouldn't take them against anyone in the top 16.

I can be reached at hgutmann@heraldsun.com or @haroldgut