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My AP top-25 ballot: LSU, Michigan and Oregon climb; the cases for Texas A&M, USC and Washington State

Highlights from the ballot …
*** LSU jumped back into the No. 2 spot — a position it held earlier in the season — after the dominating victory over Georgia.
The Tigers have now beaten Georgia, Miami and Auburn, each of which was ranked in the top 10 at the time of kickoff.
Although Miami and Auburn have taken on losses recently, those are quality secondary victories compared to those of other teams.
The depth of LSU’s resume, in other words, trumps all others. (That includes Alabama’s, but I’m not prepared to remove the Crimson Tide from the top spot on SOS grounds.)
*** Michigan jumped six places, to No. 8, after the wipeout of Wisconsin.
Clearly, the Badgers aren’t the same team defensively that they’ve been in recent years — and clearly, they aren’t as good as I expected — but the Wolverines are playing as well as anyone without Crimson in its name.
*** Oregon joined Michigan in climbing into the top 10 after the win over Washington.
I now have the Ducks slotted No. 9, which (by coincidence) is exactly the spot they occupied in my preseason ballot.
That was 15 positions higher than their overall preseason ranking the source of intense mockery, especially from fans of a certain team to the North.
But Oregon has performed exactly as I expected , with the exception of a certain outcome on Sept. 22.
*** Staying in the Pac-12 for a moment …
USC returned the ballot following a convincing victory over Colorado, but that wasn’t the only reason for the Trojans’ positioning:
Their loss to Texas doesn’t look nearly as bad now as it did at the time, while the win over Washington State has gained a bit of heft.
Meanwhile, WSU is No. 23 this week despite being idle.
The reason: I’ve now seen enough from Utah to count the Cougars’ head-to-head win as a quality victory for the Cougars — their best result is no longer a loss at USC.
*** Another newcomer this week: Texas A&M.
The Aggies are 5-2 after winning at South Carolina.
Their losses, for those who haven’t followed closely, are to Alabama (by the same lopsided margin everybody experiences against the Tide) and to Clemson (by two).
Removed from the ballot: Colorado, Wisconsin, Auburn and Miami
Added to the ballot: USC, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Washington State
1. Alabama
2. LSU
3. Ohio State
4. Notre Dame
5. Clemson
6. Georgia
7. Texas
8. Michigan
9. Oregon
10. Oklahoma
11. Washington
12. Florida
13. UCF
14. Penn State
15. West Virginia
16. Texas A&M
17. N.C. State
18. Kentucky
19. Iowa
20. USC
21. San Diego State
22. Mississippi State
23. Washington State
24. South Florida
25. Cincinnati
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