Clemson is No. 1, followed by Oklahoma and Alabama


Highlights from the ballot …

There was a change at the top for the second consecutive week, with Clemson vaulting into the No. 1 spot following its dominating victory at Louisville.

Combine that with the Week Two win over Auburn, and the Tigers have the best wins … and the best overall resume … in the country.

Neither victory unto itself can top Oklahoma’s win at Ohio State, but the combination of Auburn-Louisville trumps that single performance.

*** As a result, I moved Oklahoma into the 2-hole and dropped Alabama to third.

Yes, Alabama is third. And please, please, please note:

I would favor Alabama in a head-to-head matchup with either the Tigers or Sooners, but my ballot is not based on hypothetical matchups.

It’s based on results to date, and Alabama’s neutral field win over Florida State doesn’t quite match Clemson’s Auburn-Louisville combo or Oklahoma’s win in Columbus.

To quote the AP voter guidelines:

“Base your vote on performance, not reputation. Avoid regional bias, for or against. Your local team does not deserve any special handling when it comes to your ballot. Pay attention to head-to-head results.”

It is not possible to rank every team on performance at this point, because there aren’t 25 results of substance. But that list grows by the week and by early October, we should have a ballot based entirely on results.

Until there, there is some guesswork and some lingering preseason bias.

But in the case of Clemson, Oklahoma and Alabama, we have results of substance.

*** I moved Michigan up three spots, to No. 4, because of the added weight assigned to its win over Florida.

The Gators beat Tennessee, thereby elevating the Wolverines’ neutral field victory over UF.

(That’s all based on what we think we know about the Gators and Vols. It could all change this coming weekend, of course.)

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