The biggest issues for my Associated Press college football ballot this week – votes are due Tuesday morning due to the Miami-Maryland game Labor Day – involved fourth-ranked LSU’s victory over No. 3 Oregon.
How high to raise the Tigers? How low to drop the Ducks?
I was tempted to elevate LSU, No. 3 on my preseason ballot, to No. 1. But the Tigers were a little too skittish offensively (273 total yards) in their 40-27 victory.
Unless I dropped Oregon, No. 4 on my preseason ballot, at least nine spots, Virginia Tech was going to remain 13th. That seems too drastic, so the Ducks go to No. 10, while the Hokies stay put after their 66-13 shellacking of Appalachian State.
Here’s the ballot:
1. Oklahoma: The Sooners smacked Tulsa 47-14 and are off until their set-the-DVR showdown at Florida State on Sept. 17. But might they make news before then with a move to Pac-12?
2. LSU: The Tigers smothered Oregon’s running game and should cruise in Saturday’s home opener against Northwestern State.
3. Alabama: After rolling Kent State 48-7, the Crimson Tide heads to Penn State this week.
4. Boise State: Saturday’s 35-21 domination of Georgia in Atlanta could be the Broncos’ ticket to BCS title game. They’re idle until Sept. 16 game against Toledo.
5. Stanford: Andrew Luck and friends housed San Jose State 57-3 and can name their score Saturday at Duke.
6. Florida State: Will a 34-0 opening win over Louisiana-Monroe and this week’s mauling of Charleston Southern prepare the Seminoles for Oklahoma?
7. Oklahoma State: T. Boone Pickens isn’t about to let the Cowboys get left behind in conference reshuffling. OSU routed Louisiana-Lafayette 61-34 and heads to Arizona this week.
8. Texas A&M: The Aggies blitzed SMU 46-14 on Sunday in what used to be a Southwest Conference rivalry. Quaint notion there. Up next, Sept. 17 against Idaho.
9. Wisconsin: The Russell Wilson experiment debuted to raves with a 51-17 rout of UNLV. Doubt Oregon State will fare any better at Camp Randall on Saturday.
10. Oregon: The Ducks host Nevada on Saturday.
11. Nebraska: The Cornhuskers dusted Chattanooga 40-7, welcome Fresno State this week and should be 4-0 headed to Wisconsin on Oct. 1.
12. Arkansas: Joe Adams’ two punt returns for touchdowns were worth the price of admission in Razorbacks’ 51-7 victory over Missouri State. They host New Mexico on Saturday.
13. Virginia Tech: David Wilson averaged 10 yards per carry in 66-13 win over Appalachian State. He might better that Saturday against defenseless East Carolina.
14. South Carolina: The Gamecocks hung 42 second-half points on ECU in a 56-37 victory. Much bigger test Saturday at Georgia.
15. Michigan State: Methodical best describes 28-6 conquest of Youngstown State. Up next, Florida Atlantic.
16. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs head to Auburn this week after trouncing Memphis 59-14.
17. Ohio State: No vest, no problem. At least in a 42-0 opening win over Akron for interim coach Luke Fickell. The Buckeyes host Toledo this week.
18. Baylor: Quarterback Robert Griffin III, a.k.a., RG3, will become a household name with more games like Friday’s 50-48 upset of Texas Christian. The Bears are off until a Sept. 17 visit from Stephen F. Austin.
19. West Virginia: Dana Holgerson’s coaching debut was rain-shortened but impressive, a 34-13 victory over Marshall. Bank on Saturday’s margin over Norfolk State being larger.
20. Missouri: The Tigers showed little offensive spark in 17-6 win over Miami of Ohio. Much tougher game Friday at Arizona State.
21. TCU: The Horned Frogs won’t lead the nation in defense again this season. And Saturday brings another stern test, at Air Force.
22. South Florida: The Bulls managed two weather delays and took advantage of Notre Dame’s red-zone turnovers in a 23-20 road upset. They host Ball State on Saturday.
23. Florida: The Gators beat Florida Atlantic 41-3, play UAB this week and should be 4-0 headed to Alabama on Oct. 1.
24. Texas: The Longhorns step up in class this week against BYU after opening with a 34-9 win over Rice.
25. Southern California: The Trojans were lucky to escape Minnesota 19-17 and Saturday welcome new Pac-12 rival Utah.
New to poll: Baylor, South Florida, Florida.
Out of poll: Notre Dame, Georgia, Auburn.