Tom Murphy's Top 25 ballot explained

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2018
Auburn running back Shaun Shivers (25) gets past LSU cornerback Kelvin Joseph (1) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Auburn running back Shaun Shivers (25) gets past LSU cornerback Kelvin Joseph (1) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Editor's Note: Tom Murphy is one of 61 voters in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Each week, he reveals his ballot and offers insight into his votes.

No changes in the top three of Alabama, Georgia and Clemson.

Ohio State jumped two spots to No. 4 after downing TCU 40-28. The Buckeyes displaced Oklahoma, which fell to No. 5 after surviving an upset bid at Iowa State.

Wisconsin dropped 12 spots to No. 17 after falling at home to BYU. TCU fell four spots to No. 15 after leading Ohio State for a chunk of the game in Arlington, Texas.

LSU was the big mover for me, shooting up nine spots to No. 6 after its game-winning field goal at Auburn. Auburn fell a couple of spots to No. 9 and will be licking its chops with struggling Arkansas headed in.

West Virginia and Virginia Tech, both idled by the hurricane threat on the East Coast, each slid up a spot to Nos. 7 and 8, respectively. Notre Dame, which won a second consecutive game in underwhelming fashion with a 22-17 victory over Vanderbilt, stayed at No. 10.

UCF, the co-national champions of 2017, remain my top Group of 5 selection at No. 16.

Boise State and Ole Miss fell out of my rankings, while No. 23 Kentucky and No. 24 Boston College jump in for the first time this season.

The SEC leads the way with seven entries on my ballot, with No. 13 Mississippi State and No. 20 Texas A&M joining the aforementioned SEC clubs.

The Pac-12 sets up as an intriguing race. Stanford is my top team from the league at No. 11, followed by No. 12 Washington, No. 21 Colorado and No. 25 Oregon. The Pac-12 has work to do to nab a spot in the four-team playoff.

Here is my full ballot:


1 Alabama

2 Georgia

3 Clemson

4 Ohio State

5 Oklahoma

6 LSU

7 West Virginia

8 Virginia Tech

9 Auburn

10 Notre Dame

11 Stanford

12 Washington

13 Mississippi State

14 Penn State

15 TCU

16 UCF

17 Wisconsin

18 Oklahoma State

19 Miami

20 Texas A&M

21 Colorado

22 Michigan

23 Kentucky

24 Boston College

25 Oregon

Dropped out: Boise State, Ole Miss

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