Tom Murphy explains top 25 ballot for Sept. 5

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Tuesday, September 5, 2017
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen in action against Texas A&M during an NCAA college football game, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. UCLA won 45-44. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen in action against Texas A&M during an NCAA college football game, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. UCLA won 45-44. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

— Mercy, Alabama. Nick Saban's squad has new faces in so many places and yet the Crimson Tide just engulfed Florida State. Now the Tide faces a tragic incident for assistant coach Mike Locksley and major injuries at linebacker with a few less-intense games before the meat of their SEC schedule.

I moved Clemson up a couple of spots to No. 3 after a dominating showing vs. Kent State. Hail to the champs!

My mythical playoff would pit Bama against No. 4 Oklahoma - mighty impressive in Lincoln Riley's debut - and Clemson against No. 2 Ohio State.

I dropped Florida State to No. 9. The Seminoles have some tough games coming soon without QB Deondre Francois.

I watched a solid piece of USC's 49-31 win over feisty Western Michigan. The Trojans have defensive improvements to make. Penn State shot up three spots to No. 6 after peeling out on Akron. With No. 11 Michigan and No. 12 Wisconsin, the Big Ten has 33 percent of my top 12.

How about those defenses in the SEC West? Alabama simply punished Florida State, while No. 7 LSU and Mississippi State posted shutouts, and Arkansas and No. 10 Auburn came close. This was my big SEC theme for the week at halftime of Texas A&M-UCLA (the Aggies were up 38-10) after John Chavis' troops ravaged the UCLA front. That was before the meltdown.

By the way, that Texas A&M Board of Regents member should have known better than to air out his grievances against Kevin Sumlin publicly; not a good look at all.

I brought UCLA into my rankings at No. 22 and reluctantly included Tennessee at No. 25. The Volunteers' stops against Georgia Tech's triple option largely came via a couple of fumbles and one game-deciding 2-point conversion. Otherwise, the Ramblin' Wreck ravaged.

But there's something to be said for winning, and the Vols will face key tests soon.

Offensively-challenged Florida and West Virginia fell out of my poll this week. Watch out for Virginia Tech.

Shout out to Jeff Brohm, who has instantly turned Purdue into a tough out. Just ask Bobby Petrino and Louisville, which dropped five spots to No. 15.

Arkansas will face TCU - the No. 21 team in my rankings - in their on-campus opener on Saturday.

Tom Murphy's Top 25

1 Alabama

2 Ohio State

3 Clemson

4 Oklahoma

5 USC

6 Penn State

7 LSU

8 Washington

9 Florida State

10 Auburn

11 Michigan

12 Wisconsin

13 Oklahoma State

14 Georgia

15 Louisville

16 Miami

17 Stanford

18 Virginia Tech

19 Kansas State

20 Washington State

21 TCU

22 UCLA

23 San Diego State

24 South Florida

25 Tennesse

Dropped Out: Florida and West Virginia

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