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Josh Furlong's AP Top 25: USC takes commanding step in Pac-12, but top 4 remain

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SALT LAKE CITY — It was supposed to be a quieter weekend for most of the teams in the Associated Press Top 25, with only the Pac-12 and Mountain West seemingly in the spotlight.

The games out west delivered, with each game being no more than 3 points separating the two teams. And each team had their chances to win their respective games, which is all we can ask for as a fan of the game.

This week's rankings come with a little more sleep deprivation, but away we go.

Here's the ballot I submitted to the Associated Press that will be counted toward the official consensus poll released later today.

1. Georgia

Did the game look close? Yes. Was Georgia ever really in doubt? Not really. Still, Kentucky made it a game and made some people sweat watching. But unless there's something better from the teams below them, Georgia isn't losing its top spot (barring a loss).

2. Ohio State

Ohio State made the score look better at the end of the game against Maryland with a pick-six score, but there was some fear the Buckeyes could lose the game. Had the teams below Ohio State done better this weekend it could have pushed the Buckeyes down in the rankings. But they remain No. 2 in my ballot.

3. Michigan

Illinois controlled a late lead ... and then suddenly played not to lose in the most conservative effort seen. Michigan wasted no time once it got the ball back, drove the length of the field and got the go-ahead score and win. Once again, given the teams around it, there's no need to do anything different with Michigan this week.

4. TCU

In one of the most wild finishes of the weekend, TCU got deep into Baylor territory while trailing by 2 points. With time quickly running down and no timeouts in their back pocket, TCU pulled off a rushing play and quickly switched out the personnel on the field with the field goal unit and drilled the game-winning kick as time expired. TCU doing it with style, even though the stress was at an all-time high.

5. LSU

LSU took care of business against UAB and moved up in the rankings due to Tennessee getting destroyed on the road against South Carolina. Nothing more needed here.

6. USC

In one of the top games in the Pac-12 this week, the Trojans went into the Rose Bowl and came away with a victory and clinched their spot in the Pac-12 title game. It was dramatic, they trailed early, and it showcased everything you want in a primetime game in Los Angeles.

7. Alabama

Welcome to cream puff week. Next.

8. Clemson

Is Miami a cream puff, too? Seems as such this week. Clemson wasted no time here against the Hurricanes. Moving on again.

9. Oregon

Oregon survived. Utah had three prime chances late in the game to beat the Ducks on their home field and give Oregon back-to-back losses for the first time since 2002. But Utah couldn't do anything with the prime opportunities and Oregon moves up and is primed for another Pac-12 title game appearance ... if they can get past rival Oregon State.

10. Penn State

Penn State played Rutgers. Enough said.

Checking in: Oregon State, South Carolina, UTSA

Dropping out: UCF, Oklahoma State, NC State

In consideration: Coastal Carolina, Illinois, UCF, NC State

If you can't see my full ballot below, click here.

Want to create your own Top 25 ballot, go create one with the College Football Top 25 Fan Poll.

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Josh is the Sports Director for and beat writer of University of Utah athletics — primarily football, men’s basketball and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 voter for college football.


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