When I sit down every Sunday morning throughout the college football season and rank my top 25 teams, the main thing I try to reward is quality victories.
That’s why Oklahoma topped my ballot after it won at Ohio State. And that’s why Clemson vaults to No. 1 following its convincing victory over Virginia Tech.
The defending national champions have the nation’s best resume, and it’s not really close. The Tigers have beaten three teams currently ranked in the top 15 (Auburn, Louisville, Virginia Tech) with two of those victories coming on the road.
I didn’t think all that much of the Auburn win at the time, but it keeps looking better and better. Clemson looked great against Louisville and then beat Virginia Tech 31-17 on Saturday.
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Oklahoma has the best single victory of the season, and Alabama has the most lopsided victories of the season, but Clemson has the most quality victories. The Tigers are my new No. 1 team.
I once again thought about jumping Alabama past Oklahoma, this time for the No. 2 spot, after the Crimson Tide humiliated Mississippi 66-3. They have now won their first two SEC games by a combined score of 125-3. With Oklahoma off, it was tempting to move the Sooners down.
But I have doubts about the SEC. Alabama and Georgia look like world-beaters. Auburn and Florida look solid. But is anyone else in the conference any good? Like, at all? LSU can’t beat Troy at home. Mississippi State has looked pathetic since stomping LSU. Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M fans all want to fire their coach.
Alabama hasn’t defeated a team currently ranked in the top 25. It’s hard for me to reward that resume, even though Nick Saban has his players firing on all cylinders.
Other notable changes to my ballot: Georgia moves into the top 5 after its dominant win at Tennessee. Washington State leaps into the top 10 at No. 7 after beating USC. Mike Leach is doing a heck of a job with the Cougars.
Notre Dame, North Carolina State and Central Florida all join my top 25 for the first time.
California, Florida State and Texas Tech all dropped out.
You can find my entire AP top 25 ballot below:
4. Penn State.
7. Washington State.
11. Ohio State.
12. Oklahoma State.
16. San Diego State.
17. South Florida.
18. Virginia Tech.
21. West Virginia.
23. Notre Dame.
24. North Carolina State.
25. Central Florida.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett