World-Herald staff writer and Associated Press voter Sam McKewon's AP Top 25 ballot for this week, with notes at bottom:  

1. Alabama

2. Washington

3. Michigan

4. Clemson

5. Ohio State

6. Wisconsin

7. Texas A&M

8. Louisville

9. Auburn

10. LSU

11. Nebraska

12. Colorado

13. North Carolina

14. Utah

15. West Virginia

16. Oklahoma

17. Florida State

18. Florida

19. Virginia Tech

20. Baylor

21. Oklahoma State

22. USC

23. Western Michigan

24. Penn State

25. Washington State  

New teams to the poll 

No. 21 Oklahoma State: I pegged the Cowboys to beat West Virginia, and they did, 37-20. OSU is now 6-2 with a game at Kansas State looming. 

No. 22 USC: The Trojans had a rough start to the season — a blowout loss to Alabama — plus two Pac-12 losses to Stanford and Utah. But the Utes loss was close, and USC's new quarterback, Sam Darnold, has breathed life into the team. The Trojans have a nice win over Colorado and the offense has found its stride. 

Teams that dropped from the poll 

Tennessee: Lost to South Carolina, which isn't on any level a good team. UT also had a bye week to prepare. The Volunteers may rise back into the top 25 — the schedule is soft from here on out — but this loss is too ugly to lack a punishment. 

Boise State: Lost 30-28 to Wyoming. I'm tough on non-Power Five teams; always have been and always will be. Boise's first major test away from home, and the Broncos don't pass it. 


>> Nebraska did not move down in my poll. Granted, I had the Huskers lower than most — at 11 — but losses by West Virginia and Florida State helped keep NU right where it was. I like teams that play defense and have sound special teams, Nebraska has that, and it closes well, despite losing 23-17 to Wisconsin in overtime. 

>> Wisconsin creeps up to No. 6. Ohio State is right ahead at five. I dropped Louisville down, based on the Cardinals being really mediocre against Virginia and Duke in recent weeks. The focus is waning. 

>> Yes, that's Auburn and LSU in the top 10. I think they belong there over many one-loss teams, especially Florida, whose best win is ... Georgia? Kentucky? The SEC East is a mediocre division. Yes, given the tests it has faced, I'd take Florida State to beat Florida right now. 

>> Utah moves up in the polls despite losing to Washington. Part of that is a function of so many teams losing in front of the Utes, and part of it is the quality of the game — I watched from Camp Randall's press box — between the Huskies and Utes. Washington moves to No. 2 overall. 

>> Michigan drops to No. 3 and Clemson stays right where it is. If you watch Clemson, Michigan and Washington over the course of a month — as I have — you're hard-pressed to conclude Clemson is better than those teams. The Tigers have better wins — over Auburn, Louisville and Florida State — but, again, watch the games, check the stats, see the quality of play. Clemson plays a looser brand of football than either team. 

>> Oklahoma, my No. 16, will have a higher ranking this week I'd guess (I'm writing this before I know for sure) but, again, assess the quality of play, especially on defense. 

>> North Carolina is probably too high — it has losses to Georgia and Virginia Tech — but the Tar Heels, too, have battled a rigorous schedule and won some games on the road. The win at Miami is diminished.

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