Duke Now

Laura Keeley’s 2015 AP football poll ballot: Week 3

Is a win really a win?

Auburn needed a last-minute touchdown just to force overtime against FCS Jacksonville State. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson continued to look like a mess. And, yes, the Tigers won 27-20, but where does that leave an AP voter like me?

I was high on Auburn to begin the year, based on the idea that Johnson would be the second coming of Cam Newton and a breakout star. That doesn’t appear to be the case. So I took my No. 3-ranked team from last week out this week’s poll. But here’s the thing about the SEC West: there are so many opportunities to play your way back into the polls. And the Tigers have one next week when they go to LSU.

Continuing with the theme of rewarding teams for good wins, Michigan State rises to No. 3, seeing as they own the most impressive victory on the year, the 31-28 win over Oregon (even if I am less high on the Ducks than most).

And Duke will face its first ranked opponent of the year next week, as Northwestern makes its debut in the poll (No. 23) and on my ballot (No. 22).

1. Ohio State (last week: 1)

2. Alabama (4)

3. Michigan State (6)

4. TCU (2)

5. Baylor (5)

6. Notre Dame (6)

7. UCLA (8)

8. Southern Cal (9)

9. Clemson (10)

10. Florida State (11)

11. LSU (14)

12. Georgia Tech (15)

13. Georgia (13)

14. Ole Miss (16)

15. Oklahoma (18)

16. Oregon (12)

17. Texas A&M (17)

18. BYU (23)

19. Arizona (21)

20. Missouri (24)

21. Wisconsin (22)

22. Northwestern (NR)

23. Toledo (NR)

24. Utah (NR)

25. Arizona State (NR)

Welcome: Northwestern (2-0), Toledo (1-0, won at then-No. 18 Arkansas, 16-12), Utah (2-0) and Arizona State (1-1)

Goodbye: Auburn (won 27-20 OT vs. Jacksonville State), Arkansas, Boise State (lost 35-24 at BYU), Mississippi State (lost 21-19 at LSU)