Hlas' final AP Top 25 ballot -- My 1-2-3 is Alabama, Oregon, Texas A&M

And my No. 25: The rough-and-ready Red Wolves of Arkansas State

Courtesy of CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Alabama beat Georgia and Notre Dame in its final two games. That's a pretty compelling argument.

Alabama was my preseason No. 1. USC was Associated Press' preseason No. 1. So who knows more, me or the rest of the 59 panelists put together?

The other 59, of course, and by 118 times more. But I got that one right. Now, on with the final ballot until August:

1. Alabama (13-1). The Mayans claim the world will end before a conference other than the SEC wins a national-title. They may be right this time.

2. Oregon (12-1). Oregon would have given Alabama a game, and then some.

3. Texas A&M (12-2). The Aggies did give Alabama a game, and a defeat.

4. Notre Dame (12-1). Great season. Rotten finish.

5. Ohio State (12-0). The Buckeyes never played a team that was ranked higher than 19th.

6. Stanford (12-2). I wouldn't have thought it likely four months ago, but Barry Alvarez got beat in a Rose Bowl.

7. Georgia (12-2). You and I know the Dawgs would beat Notre Dame at a neutral site. Or anywhere else.

8. South Carolina (11-2). Just another 11-win SEC team.

9. Clemson (11-2). Part of an ACC that went 4-2 in bowls, proving bowl-records by conference aren't completely meaningful.

10. LSU (10-3). Down season.

11. Kansas State (11-2). Had K-State beaten Baylor, it would have been Alabama's pinata Monday night.

12. Florida State (12-2). Better than anyone the Mid-American Conference could put up against it.

13. Louisville (11-2): Centuries later, we'll all wonder how the Cardinals dominated Florida. Well, we really won't, because we'll all be dead.

14. Florida (11-2). Beat Texas A&M by a field goal back on Sept. 8, when Johnny Manziel was just a teenager.

15. Northwestern (10-3). Weird to say it, but a 10-win Northwestern team will always wonder what might have been.

16. Oklahoma (10-3). When the Sooners were good, they were good. But when they were bad, they were horrid.

17. Utah State (11-2). Lost 16-14 at Wisconsin, then lost its coach to Wisconsin three months later. Does that seem fair?

18. Boise State (11-2). Broncos need to take a long, hard look at themselves after a 2-loss season.

19. Vanderbilt (9-4). Only lost to teams with 10 or more wins, which seems elitist. And, for Vanderbilt, fitting.

20. Northern Illinois (12-2). Jordan Lynch vs. Iowa on Aug. 31. You know, a matchup of Orange Bowl programs.

21. San Jose State (11-2). This team was 1-12 two years ago. Now it's the No. 2 team in California, at least on this ballot.

22. Baylor (8-5). Not a great record, but closed with wins over Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and UCLA in succession.

23. Penn State (8-4). Kept Bill O'Brien as coach, mainly because of a buyout clause in his contract that made NFL executives faint.

24. Michigan (8-5). Didn't embarrass itself in the Outback Bowl against South Carolina, which qualifies as progress in the Big Ten.

25. Arkansas State (10-3). Lobbied me on Monday for a vote in this poll. Do I at least get a gift basket, Red Wolves?

Here is the final AP poll:


1 Alabama (59) 13-1 1475

2 Oregon 12-1 1358

3 Ohio State 12-0 1302

4 Notre Dame 12-1 1288

5 Georgia 12-2 1230

5 Texas A&M 11-2 1230

7 Stanford 12-2 1169

8 South Carolina 11-2 1038

9 Florida 11-2 933

10 Florida State 12-2 922

11 Clemson 11-2 889

12 Kansas State 11-2 871

13 Louisville 11-2 781

14 LSU 10-3 756

15 Oklahoma 10-3 615

16 Utah State 11-2 456

17 Northwestern 10-3 443

18 Boise State 11-2 419

19 Texas 9-4 358

20 Oregon State 9-4 303

21 San Jose State 11-2 243

22 Northern Illinois 12-2 227

23 Vanderbilt 9-4 180

24 Michigan 8-5 147

25 Nebraska 10-4 119

Others receiving votes: Baylor 95, Penn State 90, Cincinnati 78, Oklahoma State 42, Tulsa 34, UCLA 31, Arkansas State 28, UCF 9, TCU 9, Wisconsin 6, North Dakota State 1




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