Top football teams create separation, but there’s fun at the bottom of this AP ballot

College football’s top teams flexed their collective muscles this weekend, displaying clear separation between the teams that have a chance to win the national title and the rest of the field.

When the new Associated Press Top 25 poll is announced Sunday, the top 10 teams should remain the same after those teams dominated in their latest games.

The second 10 should see some reshuffling with the usual upheaval coming in spots 20 through 25.

On my ballot, Utah moved up a couple of spots because, though Florida and Penn State won on Saturday, both showed cracks.

Pittsburgh’s failure to score when it had first and goal at the 1 in the fourth quarter have everything to do with its incompetence and nothing to do with Penn State bowing up. Florida escaped a good Kentucky team on the road but lost quarterback Feleipe Franks for the rest of the season to a gruesome injury.

Central Florida is the biggest mover, jumping eight spots to No. 13 following a 45-27 beat-down of Stanford.

As for the teams at the bottom that should be shown the door, Maryland proved a one-hit wonder, moving into the poll last week and promptly losing 20-17 to Temple. Mississippi State lost 31-24 on its home field to Kansas State and Michigan State stumbled its way to a 10-7 home loss to Arizona State.

So Washington makes a reappearance on my ballot, one week after dropping out due to its home loss to California. The Golden Bears are still in there, too.

The newcomers are BYU and Wake Forest.

BYU has played three Power Five schools, losing to a solid Utah team before upsetting Tennessee and Southern California on the road. Neither of those teams are what they used to be, but BYU still deserves some love.

Wake Forest looked like the state of North Carolina’s best team in the preseason and has rolled to three wins in a row to start the season. None of them are Football Championship Subdivision foes, it should be noted.

  1. Clemson (1)

  2. Alabama (2)

  3. Georgia (3)

  4. Ohio State (4)

  5. LSU (5)

  6. Oklahoma (6)

  7. Notre Dame (7)

  8. Auburn (8)

  9. Michigan (9)

  10. Texas (10)

  11. Texas A&M (11)

  12. Utah (14)

  13. Central Florida (21)

  14. Florida (12)

  15. Penn State (13)

  16. Wisconsin (15)

  17. Iowa (16)

  18. Oregon (17)

  19. Boise State (20)

  20. Washington State (23)

  21. Virginia (25)

  22. Wake Forest (NR)

  23. California (19)

  24. Washington (NR)

  25. BYU (NR)

An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.