BLACKSBURG – Alabama is supposed to be the one constant. Pencil the Tide in atop your AP Top 25 ballot each week and then go to work on the mixed bag that is the rest of college football. But Saturday, Alabama lost to Texas A&M. And while Georgia is a fairly unassailable choice to take over the No. 1 ranking, the fact that even the Tide couldn’t help but get swept up on this year’s sea of unpredictably should tell us a lot about what to expect over the next two-and-half months.
Iowa rallied past Penn State, Ole Miss survived a 2-point try at the end by Arkansas, Oklahoma stormed back to top Texas in the Red River Showdown, and Notre Dame needed a late, long field goal to win at Virginia Tech.
Ohio State and Kentucky continue to impress.
Michigan and Michigan State survived Nebraska and Rutgers, while BYU and Oregon State took losses that dropped their profiles.
Watching the Big Ten sort itself out should be fun. I ended up with five teams from the league in my top nine spots, and I have the growing sense that Ohio State – the long, long ago Oregon loss not withstanding – will end up being the best of that bunch.
I’ve also flopped from banging on Oklahoma for not being as dominant as expected to giving the Sooners tons of credit for consistently finding a way to win.
A trio of Texas teams – Baylor, Houston and UTSA – joined the discussion for the final spot in the poll, along with Liberty and Pittsburgh.
And, of course, A&M joined my rankings. After all, it did just beat Alabama.
With so many moving pieces, it’s getting harder and harder, but I did try to slight YOUR favorite team again this week, and – of course – I terribly overrated its rival. Because, as always, my ballot is here to hurt your feelings.
Here is this week’s AP Top 25 ballot:
6. Ohio State
8. Michigan State
9. Penn State
11. Oklahoma State
12. Wake Forest
13. Coastal Carolina
14. Ole Miss
16. Notre Dame
18. Arizona State
21. San Diego State
23. Texas A&M