Steve Wiseman’s AP ballot: New No. 1 team, a new top 10 entry and App State’s return

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) is carried off the field by his teammates after defeating Alabama 46-41 in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa , Ala.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) is carried off the field by his teammates after defeating Alabama 46-41 in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa , Ala. AP Photo

The time finally arrived, thanks to tremendous scheduling matchups on Saturday, for me to make major changes up and down my Associated Press Top 25 poll ballot.

From LSU beating Alabama 46-41 and Minnesota topping Penn State 31-26 to Texas beating Kansas State 27-24 and Wisconsin edging Iowa 24-22, results caused a reshuffling -- even, for the first time, at the very top of my ballot.

I’ve had Clemson at No. 1 all season but LSU’s road win over Alabama means a new group of Tigers should be No. 1. LSU has accomplished more, in impressive fashion, than any team in the country this season.

Clemson should be in the College Football Playoff again so I kept Dabo Swinney’s Tigers at No. 2 followed by Ohio State with Alabama dropping to No. 4.

Surprising Minnesota jumps in to the top 10, right behind those top four, after showing just how good a team it is by beating Penn State. It’s the kind of signature win that transforms a team from pretender to contender so the Gophers deserve to move up.

Behind them is a jumbled group of one-loss teams. I went with Utah at No 6, followed by Oregon, Penn State, Georgia and Oklahoma to round out the top 10.

It looks like Oregon and Utah will be playing in the Pac 12 title game to decide which is really better among those two teams.

I moved the Ducks in front of Penn State, Georgia and Oklahoma because Oregon’s opponents have won 58 percent of their games. Penn State’s foes have won 57 percent, Georgia’s 52 and Oklahoma’s just 46.

Of note here, I kept undefeated Baylor out of the top 10, giving them a vote at No. 13, based on strength of schedule. The Bears opponents have only won 42 percent of their games. That narrow escape Baylor had to successfully navigate at TCU on Saturday (29-23 in triple overtime) showed me it doesn’t belong with the nation’s best yet.

Because of upsets this week, I dropped four teams off my ballot so four new teams are now getting votes.

Kansas State, Wake Forest, Central Florida and San Diego State all fell off following losses. Kansas State was the toughest one to boot even though the loss at Texas was its third of the season. I kept Iowa in with three losses instead because the Hawkeyes’ losses are to ranked teams Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin.

Kansas State, meanwhile, has lost to unranked Oklahoma State in addition to Baylor and Texas.

New teams moving in are Appalachian State, Navy, Indiana and Texas. Navy and Indiana are on my ballot for the first time this season while Appalachian State and Texas make returns.

The Mountaineers claiming a second win over a Power 5 team this season -- the toppled South Carolina 20-15 Saturday night -- are enough for me to over look their lone loss -- 24-21 to Georgia Southern.

Here is the ballot I submitted to the Associated Press on Sunday morning, with last week’s ranking on my ballot in parenthesis.

Steve Wiseman’s AP Top 25 football ballot

  1. LSU (3)

  2. Clemson (1)

  3. Ohio State (4)

  4. Alabama (2)

  5. Minnesota (13)

  6. Utah (8)

  7. Oregon (9)

  8. Penn State (5)

  9. Georgia (6)

  10. Oklahoma (7)

  11. Florida (10)

  12. Auburn (11)

  13. Baylor (12)

  14. Michigan (14)

  15. Notre Dame (15)

  16. Cincinnati (18)

  17. Memphis (19)

  18. Wisconsin (20)

  19. Boise State (22)

  20. SMU (23)

  21. Navy (NR)

  22. Iowa (21)

  23. Appalachian State (NR)

  24. Indiana (NR)

  25. Texas (NR)

An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.