Campus Corner

The Star's blog on college sports, featuring Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri

Rustin Dodd’s weekly AP football ballot

10/14/2013 11:08 AM

10/14/2013 11:28 AM

Editor’s note: The Star’s Rustin Dodd has a vote in the Associated Press poll this college football season. Each week, he’ll provide an explanation for his ballot.

We’ll get to this week’s ballot in one moment, but first … a quick game: Here are the resumes of four college football teams, all of which were ranked in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll released on Sunday.

Team A

Record: 6-1

Strength of Schedule*: 12

Best win: Home against Florida

Worst loss: At Georgia

Team B

Record: 5-1

Strength of Schedule: 20

Best win: At Central Florida

Worst loss: At Georgia

Team C

Record: 6-0

Strength of Schedule: 43

Best win: At Georgia

Worst loss: None

Team D

Record: 4-2

Strength of Schedule: 1

Best win: Home against LSU

Worst loss: Home against Missouri

*According to

the Sagarin Ratings

If you’ve paid attention to SEC football this season, you should probably be able to figure out those teams.

Team A: LSU

Team B: South Carolina

Team C: Mizzou

Team D: Georgia

So here’s the question: In what order would you rank these teams? LSU has played the toughest schedule, according to college football analyst Jeff Sagarin, but the Tigers also lost at Georgia. South Carolina, which destroyed Arkansas on Saturday, also went to Georgia and lost. And on Saturday, Missouri traveled to the same Sanford Stadium in Athens and walked out with a 15-point victory. Finally, Georgia now has two losses, but also holds those head-to-head victories over LSU and South Carolina — and its only other blemish came at No. 3 Clemson.

So how would you rank those teams? In the latest poll, these teams were ranked in the same order we listed them: No. 6 LSU; No. 11 South Carolina; No. 14 Missouri; No. 15 Georgia

Our ballot looked a little different. And it caused us to jump Missouri from unranked to No. 10. It was a big leap … but Mizzou’s complete resume transformed quite a bit in one week. Last week, the Tigers were unbeaten. But they had also played the country’s 83rd-best schedule, according to Sagarin, and their best win was at 3-3 Vanderbilt. Missouri certainly had a case to be ranked — but they were still largely unproven. A competitive loss at Georgia probably would have solidified Mizzou as a team worthy of a top 25 ranking.

But one week later, Missouri is still undefeated with a victory (at No. 7 Georgia) that few teams can top. So for now, simply based on resume, doesn’t Missouri deserve to be ahead of LSU and South Carolina?

We also kept Georgia ranked ahead of LSU and South Carolina — based on the head-to-head matchups — but in all honesty, there’s not much separating teams six through 15 on this week’s ballot.

Here’s the full ballot. (As always, each team’s actual ranking is in parentheses — and we added a few poll thoughts below.)

1. Alabama (1)

2. Oregon (2)

3. Clemson (3)

4. Ohio State (4)

5. Florida State (5)

6. Texas A (7)

7. UCLA (9)

8. Baylor (12)

9. Louisville (8)

10. Missouri (14)

11. Miami (10)

12. Stanford (13)

13. Georgia (15)

14. LSU (6)

15. South Carolina (11)

16. Texas Tech (16)

17. Virginia Tech (19)

18. Fresno State (17)

19. Wisconsin (25)

20. Oklahoma (18)

21. Washington (20)

22. Northern Illinois (23)

23. Oklahoma State (21)

24. Nebraska (NR)

25. Auburn (24)

POLL THOUGHTS:

• LSU continues its SEC gantlet this week at Ole Miss, before traveling to Alabama in three weeks. The Tigers may have slid a little bit on my ballot, but they’re still sitting in a good spot in the BCS title hunt. Three straight victories — they also play Furman at home — would likely vault LSU into the top three.

• Baylor and Louisville have both played notably weak schedules to this point — and Louisville won’t get many more chances to record any statement victories. Baylor, meanwhile, should cruise to 7-0 with victories over Iowa State and Kansas before a showdown against Oklahoma on Nov. 7.

• Who would have thought that Baylor and Texas Tech would be carrying the undefeated banner for the Big 12? The Red Raiders moved up to No. 16 on our ballot — and they now face back-to-back road games at West Virginia and Oklahoma.

• Does Texas, which looked a shambles in early September, deserve to be ranked again after three straight victories and a convincing 36-20 performance against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl? It’s a tough question, especially since the previously unbeaten Sooners were unlikely to fall out of the rankings. For one week, we kept Texas out. But that will change if they continue to stay unbeaten in the Big 12.

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