Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to win a Big Ten title with the Wolverines and has struggled against arch-rival Ohio State but he opened with a big win over Minnesota. But is he dressed for success? (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Kirk Bohls

American-Statesman Staff

Column

Bohls: Hello, Big Ten, welcome to the party

Posted October 25th, 2020

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Welcome back, Big Ten.

We’ve missed you.

With a fourth Power 5 conference back in the fold and on the field, my Associated Press Top 25 college football ballot now includes those from that storied (stubborn) conference. The Big Ten started this weekend with a bang with upsets (Indiana) surprises (Purdue), apologies (Ryan Day) and … no khakis? What’s up with the blue pants, Jim Harbaugh? I don’t even know you any more.

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So I gave Big Ten teams full consideration and inserted Ohio State as my No. 3 team behind only unbeatens Clemson and Alabama. In addition, I put Wisconsin at No. 12, Michigan at No. 16 and Indiana at No. 17. I’m assuming Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. scored, but after watching the replay about 100 times, I wouldn’t swear to in a courtroom.

I’ve got Oklahoma State, Texas’ formidable opponent on Saturday, at No. 8.

Cincinnati jumps into my Top 10 after mauling previously undefeated SMU in Dallas. The Bearcats had best sign Luke Fickell to a lifetime contract and give him a share of the Bengals to keep him away from a better job. SMU plummets to No. 19.

Otherwise, not a great deal of change on my ballot. In the No. 25 spot, I put Boise State although I was sorely tempted to put Liberty there to give the Flames some love. Maybe next week.

Here’s my Top 25:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio State
  4. Notre Dame
  5. BYU
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Kansas State
  8. Oklahoma State
  9. Georgia
  10. Cincinnati
  11. North Carolina
  12. Wisconsin
  13. Miami
  14. Florida
  15. Oklahoma
  16. Michigan
  17. Indiana
  18. Marshall
  19. SMU
  20. Memphis
  21. Coastal Carolina
  22. Louisiana-Lafayette
  23. Army
  24. Iowa State
  25. Boise State

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