Our AP Top 25 ballot: Florida State at 1, Miami in, Deion Sanders up

I left Florida State’s season-opening win thinking the Seminoles are good enough to win a national championship. My latest Associated Press Top 25 rankings reflects that: I moved FSU past Georgia for No. 1 on a ballot that now includes the Miami Hurricanes and a boost for Deion Sanders and Colorado.

I don’t want to make too much of FSU’s 66-13 rout of overmatched Southern Miss, nor do I want to poke too many holes in Georgia, which has won its two games by a combined score of 93-10. However, I don’t see a justification to put the Bulldogs ahead of FSU. The Seminoles have the best win, by far, with their dominant second-half performance over LSU in Orlando. FSU has the second-best performance, too, doubling up Southern Miss in yards Saturday, while Georgia put up less impressive numbers against a weaker opponent.

Would I pick FSU to beat Georgia on a neutral field tomorrow? I don’t know. I don’t know enough about these Bulldogs yet, which is the problem. For now, I have a lot more information about FSU — and that evidence is compelling enough for me to switch the two on my ballot.

Texas soared from ninth to third after giving Nick Saban his worst home loss at Alabama. I considered putting the Longhorns above Georgia, too, but I want to see more; they haven’t had enough time to earn the benefit of the doubt the same way this FSU roster has (based on the number of key returners in Tallahassee).

I was impressed with Miami after watching the ‘Canes knock off Jimbo Fisher’s very talented Aggies. The offense has playmakers and coaches who know how to use them. Tyler Van Dyke looked like he did in 2021 while (according to ESPN) passing for the most touchdowns ever by a Miami quarterback against a ranked team (five). The defense did well when special-teams blunders didn’t gift Texas A&M short fields. That win plus a blowout of Miami (Ohio) in Week 1 put Mario Cristobal’s Hurricanes at No. 21.

That’s one spot behind Sanders’ Buffaloes, who had a convincing 22-point win over Nebraska. It’s hard to tune out the “Coach Prime” factor, but I tried to look at Colorado the same way I’d look at any other team that had a nice win at a rebuilt TCU team and crushed a Huskers team that lost to Minnesota in Week 1. That’s not more impressive than Duke (a big win over Clemson) or Kansas State (a 29-point win over a Troy team that could win the Sun Belt) or Oklahoma (two wins by a combined score of 101-11). Regardless, I feel better about the Buffaloes than I did a week ago, and I moved them up three spots to 20th.

Elsewhere on my ballot:

• I was unsure of where to slot LSU and Alabama, who are both 1-1 with losses to excellent teams. I decided on 10th and 11th. That puts them behind teams that have either beaten a good team or dominated every opponent (like Washington, Penn State and Notre Dame) but ahead of undefeated teams that have been a little wobbly (like Oregon and Utah).

• I dropped the Utes three spots to 14th after they barely held on to beat a Baylor team that dropped its opener to Texas State. What, if anything, should that tell us about the Gators, who lost by two scores to Utah the week before?

• Texas A&M, Wisconsin and Tulane fell off my ballot after losing this week. I also cut Kentucky; a 28-17 win over a Football Championship Subdivision team isn’t going to cut it at this point in the season. Their departures made way for Miami, UCLA, Arkansas and Washington State (which upset the Badgers). I strongly considered UCF along with Cincinnati, Iowa, Kansas and Clemson.

Matt Baker’s AP Top 25 ballot

1. Florida State

2. Georgia

3. Texas

4. Michigan

5. Ohio State

6. USC

7. Washington

8. Penn State

9. Notre Dame

10. LSU

11. Alabama

12. Oregon

13. Oregon State

14. Utah

15. Tennessee

16. Mississippi

17. Oklahoma

18. Duke

19. Kansas State

20. Colorado

21. Miami

22. UCLA

23. North Carolina

24. Arkansas

25. Washington State

AP Top 25

1. Georgia (2-0)

2. Michigan (2-0)

3. Florida State (2-0)

4. Texas (2-0)

5. USC (3-0)

6. Ohio State (2-0)

7. Penn State (2-0)

8. Washington (2-0)

9. Notre Dame (3-0)

10. Alabama (1-1)

11. Tennessee (2-0)

12. Utah (2-0)

13. Oregon (2-0)

14. LSU (1-1)

15. Kansas State (2-0)

16. Oregon State (2-0)

17. Ole Miss (2-0)

18. Colorado (2-0)

19. Oklahoma (2-0)

20. North Carolina (2-0)

21. Duke (2-0)

22. Miami (2-0)

23. Washington State (2-0)

24. UCLA (2-0)

25. Iowa (2-0)

Others receiving votes: Clemson 86, Arkansas 33, TCU 19, Kansas 19, Tulane 17, Wisconsin 10, Kentucky 5, Mississippi St. 5, Minnesota 3, Cincinnati 3, Fresno St. 2, Wyoming 1, Oklahoma St. 1, Maryland 1, James Madison 1

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