Hlas' AP Top 25 ballot: Who's No. 3? I go with the Gators

Off you go, Florida State, Georgia, LSU ...

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Florida is 4-0 in the SEC on Oct. 7.

A lot of teams don't have four total wins. A lot.

I scratched my head and scratched it some more before casting this week's Associated Press Top 25 ballot, and not because of head lice. Who to pick for No. 3 behind Alabama and Oregon? The candidates were Florida, Kansas State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio State.

For a fleeting moment, I penciled in Kansas State. It won at Oklahoma. It clobbered Miami at home.

I thought about South Carolina, after the Gamecocks' dominant 35-7 home win over Georgia. The eyeball test might say to go with USC, as South Carolina calls itself. And the Gamecocks are also 4-0 in the SEC. But their other league wins were over Vanderbilt, Missouri and Kentucky.

Notre Dame has downed Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan in South Bend, and Miami in Chicago. Nice, very nice. But not one of those teams should be in the top 23.

West Virginia won at Texas Saturday, which was quite a feat. It also has beaten Baylor at home. Ohio State has beaten Michigan State and Nebraska on successive weeks.

So I took Florida. It won at Texas A&M, which has lost to no one else. It won at Tennessee, convincingly. And it knocked off LSU, which had been my No. 4 team. The Gators certainly don't look like the third-best team in the country, but they have the body of work. And we're told to vote on performance.

By the way, I had Florida sixth last week. No one in the AP electorate had the Gators higher, and only one other voter had them as high as No. 6. So there.

On with my ballot:

1. Alabama (5-0)

2. Oregon (6-0)

3. Florida (5-0)

4. Kansas State (5-0)

5. South Carolina (6-0)

6. Notre Dame (5-0)

7. West Virginia (5-0)

8. Ohio State (6-0)

9. Oregon State (4-0)

10. LSU (5-1). Hosts South Carolina this Saturday night. That will be a hoot.

11. Oklahoma (3-1)

12. Texas (4-1)

13. USC (4-1)

14. Florida State (5-1)

15. Clemson (5-1)

16. Georgia (5-1)

17. Mississippi State (5-0). Should be 7-0 when it plays at Alabama on Oct. 27. Then it will be 7-1.

18. Stanford (4-1)

19. Baylor (3-1)

20. Rutgers (5-0).

21. Louisville (5-0). I got emails from Louisvillians after I didn't rank the Cardinals last week. What do you have against Louisville, one person asked. Nothing. I was in Louisville in March, and enjoyed it greatly. But I only voted for you this week because Nebraska, TCU, UCLA and Texas Tech all lost Saturday.

22. Louisiana Tech (5-0)

23. Boise State (4-1)

24. Michigan (3-2). Hey, I had to put someone from 20 through 25. Michigan's losses were to Alabama and Notre Dame. That isn't ham and eggs.

25. Texas A&M (4-1)

The AP poll:

1Alabama (60)5-01500
3South Carolina6-01359
5West Virginia5-01260
6Kansas State5-01217
7Notre Dame5-01176
8Ohio State6-01053
10Oregon State4-0873
12Florida State5-1800
19Mississippi State5-0450
22Texas A&M4-1153
23Louisiana Tech5-0129
24Boise State4-1114

  • Dropped from rankings: TCU 15, Nebraska 21, Washington 23, Northwestern 24, UCLA 25

  • Others receiving votes: Ohio 79, Baylor 62, Iowa State 54, TCU 50, Michigan State 49, Arizona State 39, Washington 39, North Carolina State 17, Nebraska 5, Arizona 4, Duke 3, Tennessee 3, Texas Tech 2, Tulsa 2, Penn State 1, Northwestern 1


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