Tolly’s Top 25 – Post Week 8

My ballot for the AP Top 25 – If they let me have one

I have some short explanations for my picks in groups of 5 from 1 to 25. Then, at the bottom, I have the top 40 all in one list with the AP rankings in parentheses. As usual, I have plenty of disagreements with the AP. There is an entire conference I think they are overvaluing. 

First order of business, a shoutout:

Last Saturday WOF was at the Wisconsin @ Illinois game. Claire and Mark were in the stands near us in the Wisco away section, and were an absolute blast to watch the game with. Fans could take notes on “how to be a fan” from them. Thanks again, Claire and Mark, for hanging out during the game. 

Top 5

1 – Ohio State
2 – Michigan
3 – Washington
4 – Florida State
5 – Georgia

THE Ohio State is #1. I hate it, but it is what it is. No team has a better pair of wins than At Notre Dame and Vs. Penn State. OSU doesn’t really have any struggle games outside of their big matchups either. So based on overall resume, I have to give them the #1 spot.

Michigan’s resume is garbage. But, they have obliterated every team they’ve played. Everyone below Michigan has a struggle win against a bad team. Michigan doesn’t; that’s why they’re #2.

Washington and Florida State are kinda interchangeable. Both have great wins, and both have close wins vs bad teams. I gave the nod to Washington because the Oregon win is better than the LSU win right now. 

Georgia was on a bye. I had them 5th last week, and I have them 5th this week. That’s all. 


6 – Oklahoma
7 – Texas
8 – Alabama
9 – Penn State
10 – Oregon

Oklahoma finally had their first scare of the season. Beating UCF by 2 isn’t very impressive, but at this point, everyone past the top 2 has a close win vs. a bad team. 

Texas beat Alabama and lost to Oklahoma. Therefore, Texas is above Alabama and below Oklahoma. This doesn’t need to be complicated. 

Bama keeps winning, so I guess they’re a top 10 team. Their win over Ole Miss is better than anything PSU or Oregon has done so far.

PSU and Oregon have similar quality wins, but PSU has the better loss… but just barely. 


11 – Oregon State
12 – Utah
13 – Ole Miss
14 – Louisville
15 – Air Force

Oregon State beat Utah, so they are above them. The loss to Washington State looks worse every week though. 

Ole Miss is turning out to be a quality SEC team. There aren’t many of those this year. The win over LSU is comparable to Louisville’s win over ND, but Ole Miss’s loss to Bama is a bit more respectable than the Cardinal’s to Pitt. 

Air Force is undefeated, but in a G5 conference. What makes them even harder to place is the fact they have played 0 Power 5 teams this year. After some thought, I decided that I won’t have Air Force below any 2 loss teams (for now). This is mostly due to the fact that the Mountain West is playing high quality football this year. The conference is easily the 6th best right now and is about 7 schools deep with quality teams that most P5 schools wouldn’t want to play. 


16 – Tulane
17 – JMU
18 – Notre Dame
19 – LSU
20 – Duke

Tulane is just behind Air Force, but still ahead of the 2 loss teams. Air Force hasn’t played a P5, and Tulane’s only loss is their P5 game. The win over Memphis is quality though and keeps Tulane ranked in the ‘teens (as opposed to the 20’s).

JMU over Notre Dame is hard to justify. The Sun Belt is… fine. JMU is undefeated, that counts for something. JMU also has a P5 win and has blown out most of their G5 competition. The resume is paper thin, but the team is really good. If they get 1 loss, I might have to drop them a lot; stay undefeated Dukes.

Now we are finally at the 2 loss teams. Notre Dame has better wins than LSU – namely the win over Duke. Next comes LSU with some SEC wins. And then Duke at 20, with some quality losses, but that Clemson win looks worse than ever.


21 – Missouri
22 – UCLA
23 – North Carolina
24 – UNLV
25 – Iowa

Breaking up my string of 2 loss teams is Missouri. Based on wins, maybe I should have them above Duke. But Missouri has only played 1 “good” team (LSU), and they lost that one. They haven’t played anyone on FSU’s level, and I don’t want to punish Duke for playing a good team on the road. If you don’t like it, put Missouri at #20 in your head. 

Back to another 2 loss team: UCLA. Both of their losses are to teams ranked above them. But… their best win is over Washington State. That’s not great, but I’d argue it’s better than any of the wins the teams below them have. (And it’s better than any of USC’s wins). 

North Carolina has a bad loss and no standout wins. That makes them my lowest ranked 1 loss, P5 team. 

UNLV is in the Mountain West. The Mountain West is good. UNLV’s only loss is to Michigan, and they played them closer than Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, and Michigan State did. 

Iowa fell out of the AP after the loss to Minnesota. I just moved them from 17 to 25. They still have road  wins over Wisconsin and Iowa State. Those are good wins. 

Top 40

All in one list, just for you. The numbers in parentheses are where the AP poll has that team ranked. 

RV-X – means they are in the “Receiving Votes” section of the AP top 25 and would be ranked “X”
NR – means they are not ranked or receiving votes in the AP top 25.

1 – Ohio State (3)
2 – Michigan (2)
3 – Washington (5)
4 – Florida State (4)
5 – Georgia (1)
6 – Oklahoma (6)
7 – Texas (7)
8 – Alabama (9)
9 – Penn State (10)
10 – Oregon (8)
11 – Oregon State (11)
12 – Utah (13)
13 – Ole Miss (12)
14 – Louisville (18)
15 – Air Force (19)
16 – Tulane (22)
17 – JMU (25)
18 – Notre Dame (14)
19 – LSU (15)
20 – Duke (20)
21 – Missouri (16)
22 – UCLA (23)
23 – North Carolina (17)
24 – UNLV (RV-35)
25 – Iowa (NR)
26 – Oklahoma State (RV-31)
27 – Kansas State (RV-28)
28 – USC (24)
29 – Wyoming (NR)
30 – Fresno State (RV-30)
31 – Kentucky (RV-33)
32 – Miami (RV-29)
33 – Arizona (NR)
34 – Washington State (NR)
35 – Wisconsin (RV-36)
36 – Rutgers (RV-34)
37 – Florida (RV-26)
38 – Tennessee (21)
39 – Kansas (NR)
40 – Minnesota (NR)

* Liberty is “Receiving Votes (27th)” but did not make my Top 40
* Toledo is “Receiving Votes (32nd)” but did not make my Top 40

I’ll address the 7-0 Liberty ‘hate’ briefly. They have played mostly a C-USA schedule so far and Zero P5 opponents. C-USA is horrible, to put it politely, and Liberty is barely winning their games. They are 3 bad bounces away from 4-3 with a bad schedule. They wouldn’t challenge a single team in my Top 40. 

Biggest discrepancies:
AP Too High – The SEC 
AP Too Low – The Mountain West, Louisville, JMU, and Iowa

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This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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