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Teel Time: AP, coaches' polls disagree on Virginia Tech, Clemson rankings

Unlike last week, when

Virginia
Tech

rose in the polls without playing a snap, the Hokies earned their bump Sunday.

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Thursday’s 37-26 victory at then-No. 20

Georgia Tech

was Virginia Tech’s most impressive performance to date, a tick better than a 38-17 win at

Wake Forest

.

So on my Associated Press ballot, I moved the Hokies from No. 12 to No. 9, jumping

Houston

,

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Michigan State
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and

Boise State

. The collective AP wisdom agrees, ranking Tech ninth.

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The most strident Hokies fans argue that Virginia Tech (9-1, 5-1

ACC

) should be ahead of

Clemson

(9-1, 6-1). After all, they say, the Hokies won at Georgia Tech a week-plus after the

Tigers

lost there. Moreover, Clemson had to rally from a two-touchdown deficit Saturday to beat visiting Wake Forest 31-28 on a final-play field goal.

Fair points, and there’s no denying the Tigers’ recent defensive lapses. Clemson has allowed 142 points in its last four games; Virginia Tech has allowed 142 in its last eight games.

But I kept the Tigers one spot above the Hokies based on their head-to-head encounter, a convincing 23-3 Clemson victory in

Blacksburg

on Oct. 1.

The

disagrees, ranking Virginia Tech seventh and Clemson eighth.

Chances are, a rematch in the ACC championship game will settle the matter.

Here’s

(be patient, sometimes it's slow to post) and below is my ballot.

1.

LSU

(10-0): An

Alabama

hangover caused a slow start against Western

Kentucky

. But the Tigers eventually rolled 42-9 and prepare to visit

Mississippi

.

2.

Oklahoma State

(10-0): Brandon Weeden’s Heisman stock is soaring after a 66-6 road-rage win at

Texas Tech

. The Cowboys play at

Iowa State

on Friday.

3. Alabama (9-1): If Oklahoma State loses to

Oklahoma

, are we looking at an Alabama-LSU rematch for national title? The Crimson Tide dismissed

Mississippi State

24-7 and readies for Division I-AA

Georgia

Southern.

4.

Oregon

(9-1): The Ducks raced past previously undefeated

Stanford

53-30 and host the game of the week Saturday against Southern California.

5.

Arkansas

(9-1): The third

SEC

West team among the top five. The Razorbacks routed

Tennessee

49-7 and welcome Mississippi State this week.

6. Oklahoma (8-1): The idle Sooners head to

Baylor

this week and with Bedlam looming still maintain national championship hopes.

7. Stanford (9-1):

BCS

at-large bid probable if the Cardinal closes with wins over Cal (Saturday) and

Notre Dame

.

8. Clemson (9-1): Defense remains an issue after a come-from-behind, 31-28 home escape over Wake Forest locked the Tigers into the ACC championship game. Clemson plays at

North Carolina State

on Saturday.

9. Virginia Tech (9-1): The Hokies crave a rematch with Clemson and can further their case by beating

North Carolina

on Thursday.

10. Boise State (8-1): Guessing many will dump the Broncos farther after their 36-35 home loss to

TCU

. But Boise’s season-opening win over Georgia in Atlanta looking better and better. Broncs head to San Diego State this week.

11. Houston (10-0): The Cougars and Southern Mississippi could give

Conference USA

a compelling championship game. Houston rolled

Tulane

73-17 and faces

SMU

this week.

12. Michigan State (8-2): Pencil Spartans into inaugural

Big Ten

title contest after Saturday’s 37-21 win at

Iowa

. They next play last-place

Indiana

.

13.

Wisconsin

(8-2): Next week’s game at

Illinois

will be much more challenging than Saturday’s 42-13 rout of

Minnesota

.

14.

Kansas State

(8-2): Not sure if the defenses are awful or offenses phenomenal, but

Big 12

sure does entertain, witness Wildcats’ 53-50, four-OT win over Texas A&M. On deck for K-State is a trip to Texas.

15.

South Carolina

(8-2): Without Marcus Lattimore, the Gamecocks muddled through against

Florida

, 17-12. Presuming they’ll cruise Saturday against The Citadel.

16. Georgia (8-2): Are the Dawgs this season’s Virginia Tech?. They’ve won eight straight since an 0-2 start, none more impressive than Saturday’s 45-7 cuffing of Auburn. Beat Kentucky this week, and Georgia advances to SEC title game.

17.

Nebraska

(8-2): The Cornhuskers distinguished themselves in unique conditions at

Penn State

, where they held on for a 17-14 victory. Another big test, at

Michigan

, beckons.

18. Southern California (8-2): A 40-17 thumping of Washington signals the

Trojans

are as prepared as can be for Oregon.

19. Michigan (8-2): A New Year’s Day bowl in Brady Hoke’s first season as coach would be quite the feat. The Wolverines looked the part Saturday in a 31-14 win over Illinois.

20. Texas Christian (8-2): Bravo to Gary Patterson for disdaining OT at Boise and playing for the win. The Horned Frogs next play

Colorado State

.

21. Penn State (8-2): Unimaginable what the Nittany Lions are enduring. They travel this week to

Ohio State

for a battle of interim coaches.

22. Southern Mississippi (9-1): The

Golden Eagles

are 9-1 for the first time since 1962 after a 30-29 victory over

Central Florida

. They should punish UAB on Thursday.

23. Notre Dame (7-3): Rockne would have cringed at the Irish’s helmets Saturday. But at least they whipped

Maryland

45-21. This week a third straight game against the ACC Atlantic with

Boston College

visiting.

24.

Florida State

(7-3): Saturday’s 23-19 victory over

Miami

was the Seminoles’ fifth in a row. They host Virginia next.

25. Baylor (6-3): The Bears needed OT to beat the Big 12’s worst team,

Kansas

, 31-30. Here’s guessing they’ll be more motivated to play Oklahoma.

In: TCU, Notre Dame, Florida State, Baylor.

Out: Auburn, Georgia Tech, Texas, Cincinnati.

I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at dteel@dailypress.com. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP

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