Ohio State put together a strong finish — one that saw the Buckeyes dismantle a surging Michigan team, then claim the Big Ten championship with a convincing win over Northwestern.
But I still don’t think it was enough to leapfrog Oklahoma. The Sooners did just the same, winning their regular-season finale over West Virginia and avenging their only loss in the Big 12 title game.
Does Oklahoma stand a chance against Alabama? Probably not, but it’s hard to forget OSU’s 29-point loss to a 7-win Purdue team.
Which is why my ballot this week included Oklahoma at No. 4 and the Buckeyes at No. 5. The College Football Playoff rankings are due out this afternoon, and I suspect they will be the same.
There was no other changes to my Top 4, to no surprise. Alabama won its toughest game of the season and Clemson handled business in the ACC championship.
You can knock Notre Dame for not playing in a conference, but it went 12-0 with a competitive schedule. The Irish deserve to be in.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s loss to Alabama was too close to drop the two-loss Bulldogs too far. I moved them to No. 6, behind Ohio State, and ahead of the unbeaten American champions Central Florida. It was a very good year for the Knights, but they did not play one of the games on their schedule (13-0 would look better than 12-0), which wasn’t the strongest to begin with.
Michigan remains at No. 8 as one of the best two-loss teams in the country.
Couple notes, since most teams did not play over the weekend:
+ I moved Washington up 8 spots, to No. 10, after the Huskies claimed the PAC 12 championship with a win over Utah. That’s two wins in a row over ranked opponents for them, a 10-win season and berth into the Rose Bowl. A strong finish for Washington.
+ Texas fell eight spots, to No. 17, with its fourth loss of the season. The Longhorns deserve some credit, however: their previous three losses were by a combined 9 points. And they played Oklahoma competitive.
+ Fresno State (19), Iowa State (24) and Army (25) are new this week. The Bulldogs claimed the Mountain West championship with a win over Boise State, in Boise, while Iowa State finished off a difficult schedule with win No. 8. Meanwhile, Army, which had been knocking on the door for a few weeks now, slips in after Northwestern and Utah losses
(Scroll down for my full ballot)
My AP Top 25 poll — Week 15
1. Alabama (-)
2. Clemson (-)
3. Notre Dame (-)
4. Oklahoma (+1)
5. Ohio State (+1)
6. Georgia (-2)
7. UCF (-)
8. Michigan (-)
9. Florida (+1)
10. Washington (+8)
11. Penn State (+1)
12. Washington State (-)
13. LSU (-)
14. Kentucky (-)
15. Syracuse (-)
16. West Virginia (-)
17. Texas (-8)
18. Texas A&M (+1)
19. Fresno State (new)
20. Cincinnati (+1)
21. N.C. State (-1)
22. Mississippi State (+2)
23. Boise State (-6)
24. Iowa State (new)
25. Army (new)