Campus Corner

Rustin Dodd’s AP football poll ballot

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.

If it were already 2014, we’d be breaking down a couple of potentially epic semifinal matchups. Could Ohio State stand a chance against two-time champ Alabama? How about Oregon’s Marcus Mariota dueling against Florida State’s Jameis Winston for the right to play for a title?

But this is not 2014. This is the last year of the old BCS, and only two teams will head to Pasadena for the final BCS Championship Game. Keeping that in mind, my latest Associated Press ballot reflects a pretty clear truth about this season: For the moment, three teams have distinguished themselves as clear-cut contenders, and two others (Ohio State and Baylor) are unbeaten and waiting in the wings.

So let’s get to the latest ballot. As always, the teams’ actual AP ranking is in parentheses, and we offer a few poll thoughts below.

1. Alabama (1)

2. Oregon (2)

3. Florida State (3)

4. Ohio State (4)

5. Baylor (5)

6. Stanford (6)

7. Missouri (9)

8. Auburn (7)

9. Clemson (8)

10. Texas A (11)

11. LSU (10)

12. Oklahoma (12)

13. Fresno State (17)

14. South Carolina (13)

15. Oklahoma State (15)

16. Miami (14)

17. Wisconsin (21)

18. UCLA (16)

19. Central Florida (19)

20. Michigan State (18)

21. Louisville (20)

22. Northern Illinois (22)

23. Notre Dame (24)

24. Arizona State (23)

25. Texas (NR)

POLL THOUGHTS

• It’s hard to argue with Florida State’s resume: The Seminoles are third in the country in points per game and fourth in points allowed. In the last three weeks, Florida State has thrashed two top-10 teams, Clemson and Miami.

But No. 2 Oregon has been similarly destructive, and Alabama, the two-time champ, features the nation’s best defense. Could this be a year where three dominant teams run the table? In the last year of the BCS, it would certainly be a poetic way for the controversial system to go out.

• After the five unbeatens, there are three one-loss teams that are best positioned to get back into the title hunt — even if it’s unlikely. Auburn will get a chance to play Alabama, and Missouri could as well — in the SEC championship game. Meanwhile, Stanford plays host to Oregon on Thursday.

• Speaking of Thursday, Oklahoma could vault back into the top 10 with a victory at Baylor on Thursday night. Should be a decent night for college football, huh?

• Despite back-to-back losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Texas Tech stayed in the poll at No. 25. Not on my ballot, though. I gave the nod to Texas, which has won five straight after a disastrous start. The Longhorns took down Oklahoma, of course, and conference play should be important. It feels odd that Texas Tech, which is 4-2 in the Big 12, would be ranked ahead of first-place Texas. Who’s better? We won’t know for a while. The two teams won’t face off until Nov. 28 in Austin.

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