Matt Baker’s AP Top 25 ballot: Welcome UNC, Maryland

UCF jumped into my top 20, and I’m still not really sure what to do with the Gators.
North Carolina's Kamari Morales (88) tries to catch a pass as Miami's DJ Ivey (8) and Michael Pinckney (56) defend during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward) Chris Seward  |  AP
North Carolina's Kamari Morales (88) tries to catch a pass as Miami's DJ Ivey (8) and Michael Pinckney (56) defend during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward) Chris Seward | AP
Published September 8

I’ve been an AP Top 25 voter long enough to know that there will be some unpredictable moves in the first few weeks.

Like this: Maryland and North Carolina are on my latest ballot, and Washington is not.

Those were among the notable changes I made this week. I bumped LSU back to fourth after its impressive win at Texas and moved Ohio State back over Oklahoma (the Buckeyes’ 42-0 trouncing of Cincinnati is more impressive than either of the Sooners’ wins). But that 4-5-6 jumble is very tight.

I kept Florida at No. 8 but still don’t feel confident about it. We’ll see how the Gators handle a trip to Kentucky – and injuries to CJ Henderson and Kadarius Toney — to find out whether the top-10 ranking is still justified. Until then, I don’t see a reason to drop the Gators, even though some lower teams (See: Badgers, Wisconsin) have looked strong.

RELATED: Gator Nation honors legendary Mr. Two Bits in home opener

Florida running back Lamical Perine, right, dives over the goal line for a touchdown against UT Martin on a 5-yard run during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) John Raoux  |  AP
Florida running back Lamical Perine, right, dives over the goal line for a touchdown against UT Martin on a 5-yard run during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) John Raoux | AP

UCF moved up three spots to No. 18 with its big rout of Florida Atlantic.

Wisconsin jumped into my top 10 after destroying Jim McElwain and Central Michigan. The Badgers’ competition hasn’t been great (sorry, USF), but outscoring them 110-0 is very, very impressive, regardless of the opponent.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: The last Florida State-Louisiana Monroe game was bad. This was worse

Michigan dropped out of my top 10 after nudging past Army. Shame on me for expecting more from the Khakis.

Maryland’s 63-20 win over Syracuse put the Terps at No. 19 on my ballot. North Carolina’s 28-25 win over Miami (plus its nice neutral-site win over South Carolina last week) put Mack Brown at No. 25. That’s one spot ahead of Brown’s old Longhorns, who stayed on my ballot by hanging with LSU. I’ve been lower on Texas than my other voters, but I don’t want to penalize the Longhorns too much for a close loss against a very good team, especially if that meant rewarding a team with a much weaker schedule so far.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: USF skid reaches eight straight after 14-10 loss to Georgia Tech

Stanford and the aforementioned Huskies both dropped off my ballot after losing games that probably ended past your bedtime. That opened spots for Maryland and UNC. Oklahoma State and USC were among the other schools that just missed the cut.

Here’s the AP Top 25 ballot I submitted Sunday morning:

1. Clemson (2-0)

2. Alabama (2-0)

3. Georgia (2-0)

4. LSU (2-0)

5. Ohio State (2-0)

6. Oklahoma (2-0)

7. Auburn (2-0)

8. Florida (2-0)

9. Notre Dame (1-0)

10. Wisconsin (2-0)

11. Utah (2-0)

12. Penn State (2-0)

13. Michigan (2-0)

14. Oregon (1-1)

15. Texas A&M (1-1)

16. Iowa (2-0)

17. Michigan State (2-0)

18. UCF (2-0)

19. Maryland (2-0)

20. Mississippi State (2-0)

21. Washington State (2-0)

22. Virginia (2-0)

23. Boise State (2-0)

24. Texas (1-1)

25. North Carolina (2-0)

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