You lost your spot at No. 1 on my Associated Press Top 25 college football ballot. Maybe only temporarily.
For now, the Tigers don’t quite pass the eyeball test as they once have, partly through no fault of their own. The coronavirus sidelined presumptive Heisman Trophy favorite Trevor Lawrence for the Boston College and will excuse him from action against Notre Dame next weekend as well. Even so, Clemson has struggled mightily its last two games against BC and Syracuse and almost got bit by the upset bug on Saturday.
Clemson shouldn’t fret. The AP Poll is simply a beauty contest, and Dabo Swinney’s bunch just isn’t as pretty these days as are dominant No. 1 Alabama (even without star receiver Jaylen Waddle) and unbeaten No. 2 Ohio State. As long as Clemson takes care of business and beats a good but not great Irish team, it should be good to go for the rest of the season.
Texas A&M is making a name for itself by the week, thoroughly beating an improved Arkansas team to climb to No. 5 in my vote. A three-game winning streak with zero sacks allowed and an emerging powerful offense just might carry the Aggies to a 9-1 record this season and a long-shot chance at the College Football Playoff despite likely having no shot at being an SEC champion, thanks to the Crimson Tide in the West.
Besides Clemson, the Big 12 teams took the biggest hits. Losses by Oklahoma State and Kansas State cost them dearly, slipping to No. 15 and 16 on my ballot.
Uplifted by defensive end Joseph Ossai’s spectacular game, Texas made its entrance despite two losses after beating the sixth-ranked Cowboys in overtime on the road. I put the Longhorns at No. 25. I gave them the benefit of the credit for that huge win over the Cowboys and gave the Big Ten teams the benefit of that doubt by starting out 2-0. That includes Northwestern (18th) and Purdue (21st). Sorry, Michigan, you’re out.
Here’s my Top 25 ballot:
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Texas A&M
- Oklahoma State
- Kansas State
- Coastal Carolina
- Iowa State
- Boise State