Tom Murphy's Top 25 Poll for Sept. 10

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Sunday, September 10, 2017
TCU Horned Frogs vs Arkansas Razorbacks –Darius Anderson(6) running the ball up the field as Randy Ramsey (10) tries to catch him from behind at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, on Saturday, September 9, 2017.
Photo by David Beach
TCU Horned Frogs vs Arkansas Razorbacks –Darius Anderson(6) running the ball up the field as Randy Ramsey (10) tries to catch him from behind at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, on Saturday, September 9, 2017.

— Tom Murphy explains his latest Associated Press top 25 ballot.

1 Alabama

2 Oklahoma

3 Clemson

4 USC

5 Penn State

6 Washington

7 LSU

8 Florida State

9 Michigan

10 Oklahoma State

11 Ohio State

12 Wisconsin

13 Georgia

14 Louisville

15 Auburn

16 Miami, Fla.

17 Virginia Tech

18 Kansas State

19 TCU

20 UCLA

21 Washington State

22 San Diego State

23 South Florida

24 Maryland

25 Tennessee

Dropped out: Stanford

Oklahoma was the weekend's biggest winner. The Sooners' avenging road victory at No. 2 Ohio State vaulted rookie coach Lincoln Riley's squad two spots in my rankings to No. 2, over defending champ Clemson. Oklahoma clearly outplayed the Buckeyes and laid down a strong argument for their playoff inclusion in three months.

I dropped Ohio State to No. 11. That still leaves the Big Ten with four teams in my top 12, with No. 5 Penn State, No. 9 Michigan and No. 12 Wisconsin also in there. I jumped Washington two spots, over LSU, to No. 6. No. 7 LSU has two methodical wins under its belt heading into a big SEC opener on the road at Mississippi State.

Clemson sacked Auburn 11 times in its 14-6 defensive slugfest victory. The Tigers are solidly in the weekly "mythical" playoff, just ahead of USC. Many experts bought into the idea of physical Stanford knocking off the Trojans, but USC rose to the challenge and prevailed behind Sam Darnold.

In the SEC, Alabama remained solidly at No. 1, followed by LSU, No. 13 Georgia, No. 15 Auburn and No. 25 Tennessee. Georgia's young players showed out in a huge road statement, a 20-19 win at Notre Dame. Auburn scrapped together a paltry 117 yards, obviously impact by the 72 lost yards in sacks.

Oklahoma State, which has been on point offensively with quarterback Mason Rudolph, jumped three spots to No. 10.

Big 12 teams occupy four spots in my rankings, with the Sooners and Cowboys joined by No. 18 Kansas State and No. 19 TCU, which moved up two spots after getting payback on Arkansas by a score of 28-7.

Maryland's jump into my rankings at No. 24 gives the Big Ten five teams, while the ACC also holds five spots and the Pac 12 four.

My top Group of 5 teams are No. 22 San Diego State, which won 30-20 at Arizona State, and No. 23 South Florida, which already had two games under its belt but did not play on Saturday due to concerns over Hurricane Irma. Among the other Florida-based schools who did not play because of Irma were No. 9 Florida State and No. 16 Miami, which was scheduled to play Arkansas State in Jonesboro.

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