University of Missouri

Alex Schiffer’s AP ballot: Hello Kansas State and TCU, goodbye Maryland and USC

The latest AP Top 25 poll dropped on Sunday.

There wasn’t as much shakeup as last week, with no ranked teams facing each other, but the ballot is primed for a major redo this coming weekend with Notre Dame at Georgia, Michigan at Wisconsin and Auburn at Texas A&M.

Trending up

UCF, Kansas State, Washington State and Iowa. I’ve had the Knights game against Stanford circled on my calendar since the summer, because UCF has been known for winning a lot of games without a great schedule. But the Knights blew out the Cardinal 45-27 in a game Stanford was never in. I don’t know how high the Knights can get in the poll, because Cincinnati doesn’t look like a worthy challenger to Josh Heupel’s squad in the AAC, but they showed me something on Saturday.

I thought Kansas State had the hire of the college football offseason with Chris Klieman from North Dakota State. That thought has aged well. The Wildcats are 3-0 under Klieman and had an impressive road win at Mississippi State on Saturday. A quick glance at KSU’s schedule made me think the Wildcats can flirt with eight or nine wins if they can snag an upset or two. Iowa beat rival Iowa State in a game that took forever because of a weather delay, but the Hawkeyes just seem to reload every year.

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Michigan State. The Spartans have a defense worthy of the College Football Playoff but lost 10-7 to Arizona State and entered the fourth quarter trailing 3-0. The Sun Devils started a number of true freshmen on offense against a veteran defense and still did enough to escape with a road win. This is a bad loss for Mark Dantonio.

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Say hello to …

TCU, Virginia, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. All three teams I added to the poll last week lost, opening up a number of spots for the back of my ballot. The Cavaliers are 3-0 and had an impressive win against Florida State to improve to 3-0. In the ACC, anything is on the table, except when one has to face Clemson. I already touched on KSU, but the Wildcats play OSU this weekend in what should be a good game. The Horned Frogs had a nice road win at Purdue and should get to 4-0 with SMU and Kansas on deck.

Say goodbye to ...

Michigan State, Iowa State, Maryland and USC. I touched on the Spartans and the Cyclones. The Terps lost to Temple, who seems to have their number with two wins in a row against them. The Trojans had a chance to beat BYU late in the game but poor decision-making by Clay Helton did them in. USC’s next three games? Utah, Washington and Notre Dame, three top-20 teams. Helton’s job security could be decided in the next three weeks.

My ballot

  1. Clemson

  2. LSU

  3. Alabama

  4. Oklahoma

  5. Georgia

  6. Ohio State

  7. Notre Dame

  8. Auburn

  9. Michigan

  10. Texas

  11. Florida

  12. Penn State

  13. Utah

  14. Texas A&M

  15. UCF

  16. Wisconsin

  17. Iowa

  18. Oregon

  19. Washington State

  20. Washington

  21. Boise State

  22. TCU

  23. Virginia

  24. Kansas State

  25. Oklahoma State

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Alex Schiffer has been covering the Missouri Tigers for The Star since October 2017. He came in second place for magazine-length feature writing by the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association in 2018 and graduated from Mizzou in 2017.