For much of this season, I’ve annoyed Virginia Tech partisans by voting the Hokies lower than most on my weekly Associated Press top-25 ballot. After Saturday’s anemic 23-3 loss to Clemson, I’m guessing most will forgive me for having Tech No. 24 this week, three spots below their actual ranking.
My ballot is below.
3. Oklahoma (4-0): The preseason No. 1 Sooners haven’t done anything wrong, including Saturday’s 62-6 drubbing of Ball State. They just haven’t been as good as the SEC heavyweights. Up next, unbeaten Texas.
4. Oklahoma State (4-0): The Cowboys were idle and host Kansas on Saturday.
5. Boise State (4-0): The Broncos on Saturday avenged their only loss of the last two years, dusting Nevada 30-10. They head to Fresno State this week.
9. Oregon (3-1): The Ducks took Saturday off to prepare for Thursday’s visit from California.
10. Texas (4-0): This may be too high, too fast for the Longhorns, but their 37-14 win at previously unbeaten Iowa State was in stark contrast to the eight top-25 teams that lost over the weekend.
11. Arkansas (4-1): Down 35-17 to Texas A&M at halftime Saturday, the Razorbacks appeared headed out of the 25. Then they stormed back for a 42-38 win as Tyler Wilson threw for a school-record 510 yards. Arkansas hosts Auburn this week in the brutal SEC West.
12. West Virginia (3-1): Seems crazy to move a team up eight spots after a 55-10 walkover against Bowling Green. But that’s what happens when so many ranked teams lose so convincingly. The Mountaineers should roll Connecticut on Saturday.
13. Auburn (4-1): The Tigers regained their close-game mojo with a 16-13 survival at South Carolina.
17. South Carolina (4-1): Quarterback Stephen Garcia’s gaffes finally cost the Gamecocks in the Auburn loss. Kentucky won’t be nearly as challenging this week.
18. Nebraska (4-1): Wisconsin may be the real thing, but I still expected more out of the Cornhuskers on Saturday. They host offensively-challenged Ohio State on Saturday.
20. Baylor (3-1): Quarterback Robert Griffin III was outstanding again against K-State but couldn’t overcome the Bears’ leaky defense. Iowa State is up next.
21. Florida State (2-2): The Seminoles head to Wake Forest, which is 2-0 in ACC play, after yesterday’s open date.
22. Florida (4-1): Life gets no easier for the Gators, who leave the friendly confines of Gainesville and head to No. 1 LSU.
24. Virginia Tech (4-1): I thought about dropping the Hokies from the poll altogether and will if they lose at home Saturday to Miami. Among its many issues, Tech 117th nationally in net punting among 120 teams.
25. Michigan State (4-1): The Spartans won at Ohio State 10-7 and remain No. 1 nationally in total defense. They take this week off before a key three-game stretch against Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska to close October.
In this week: Michigan State, Auburn, Kansas State.
Out: Texas A&M, South Florida, TCU.
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