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Sam McKewon's final AP Top 25 ballot

Sam McKewon's final AP Top 25 ballot

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Check out Sam McKewon's final AP Top 25 ballot of the 2021 football season.

My final AP Top 25 ballot:

1. Georgia

2. Alabama

3. Michigan

4. Baylor

5. Ohio State

6. Cincinnati

7. Oklahoma State

8. Notre Dame

9. Utah

10. Michigan State

11. Pittsburgh

12. Mississippi

13. Oklahoma

14. Purdue

15. Clemson

16. Wisconsin

17. Wake Forest

18. Arkansas

19. Kentucky

20. Houston

21. BYU

22. Iowa

23. Minnesota

24. NC State

25. Utah State


» The first three are obvious. The next three, not as much. My thinking: Cincinnati won its league convincingly and had one outstanding victory over Notre Dame. Baylor won its league and beat three excellent teams in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Mississippi, plus a non-conference win over BYU. Ohio State lost two games decisively but had strong wins over Michigan State and Purdue, then outlasted a mostly healthy Utah team. I consider style of play; I like Baylor’s approach on offense. So, the Bears get the No. 4 spot.

» I have seven Big Ten teams and five SEC teams. I think that accurately reflects the depth of the leagues. SEC was very top heavy; the Big Ten wasn’t quite as good at the top but had more depth. I appreciate that, at 8-4, Texas A&M could have been in my top 25. But the Aggies’ one great win – over Alabama – is offset by a couple bad losses, and a pitiful non-conference schedule. Ultimately, I like Minnesota and Utah State – which squeaks into the top 25 – more than the Aggies.

A lot of voters just didn’t agree with me on teams like Purdue and Minnesota. The Gophers, I understand – they’re an acquired taste – but the Boilermakers? With losses to OSU, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and wins over Michigan State, Iowa, Oregon State and Tennessee? C’mon. That’s a good team!

» My rankings rarely favor Group of Five teams, and, once again, a team like Louisiana – which played a single Power Five team, Texas, and lost to it, yet finished No. 16 – doesn’t do well in my rankings. Utah State beat Oregon State and Washington State. Houston beat Auburn and played in the superior AAC. There’s an argument to be made that Louisiana belonged in the top 25. Did Louisiana belong at No. 11, as three voters had them, ahead ACC champion Pittsburgh and Pac-12 champ Utah? Is the argument really that Louisiana would have won those leagues?

My two cents: Twitter and the rise of the national college football media – which tends to fetishize G5 leagues because those coaches have agents who like to share information – has tilted the rankings toward G5 teams like Louisiana, UTSA and Coastal Carolina.


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