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Josh Furlong's AP Top 25: Georgia was the train that couldn't be stopped ... again


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SALT LAKE CITY — All the magic of college football was used in the College Football Playoff semifinal games — at least we'll have those two great games.

The national championship game wasn't competitive by any stretch of the imagination, and it took only one series from both teams to realize it would end with Georgia as champs. Congrats to Stetson Bennett and the Bulldogs for another incredible season.

Long live Uga and the Bulldogs.

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

1. Georgia

There was no denying Georgia for the second straight season. After sending 15 players to last year's NFL draft, Georgia didn't miss a beat and made a statement about where the power has shifted in college football. Is Nick Saban's reign at Alabama done? Has it been transferred to Kirby Smart? It's starting to look that way, and the Bulldogs are back-to-back champions.

2. Ohio State

The Buckeyes needed some help to get into the College Football Playoff; but once there, Ohio State did almost everything right to take down Georgia ... except actually beating the reigning champ. It was a tough way for C.J. Stroud to end his collegiate career, but it's hard to argue against Ohio State being one of the best in the country — even if they did lose to Michigan again. This wasn't an easy pick, but someone has to be No. 2.

3. TCU

It was a great Cinderella, but Georgia was an unstoppable force. The Horned Frogs defied odds in Sonny Dykes' first season with the program and made us all believe in the hypnotoad — long live the toad. The final game will be one TCU won't want to remember, but they got closer than most teams in the country. I originally had TCU pegged at No. 2 — like I do most seasons for the loser of the title game — but it's hard to keep them there in the immediacy of the final score.

4. Michigan

The Wolverines didn't know what hit them when they they ran into TCU. By all accounts, Michigan had a great season and seemingly had everything to compete for a national championship. Losing Blake Corum for the semifinal game certainly hurt, but Michigan was one of the best in college football. And Michigan got another win over Ohio State, but lost to TCU.

5. Alabama

It was not the typical Alabama season we've come to know over the last decade, but it's hard to argue that the Crimson Tide isn't one of the best teams in the country again. Against a good Kansas State team, Bryce Young continued to show why he was a Heisman winner and ended his career with a dominant win. And Alabama stayed in my top five.

6. Tennessee

It's unfortunate we weren't able to see Hendon Hooker finish the season, but Tennessee still finished strong and proved it's the best Orange team in the country. Joe Milton filled in at quarterback and gave Vols fans something to celebrate. It's not the finish Tennessee hoped for, but it's clear there's a lot to be optimistic about with the tenure of Josh Heupel.

7. Penn State

I've said it all season, but Penn State is the quietest Top 10 team in the country. Few talked about the Nittany Lions all season, but they were a consistently great team that deserved more press, especially with its two-headed monsters at running back in Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen. Penn State wasted no time showing its physicality against Utah in the Rose Bowl to end a strong season and propel the program to a likely better 2023 campaign.

8. Washington

Washington wasn't perfect this season, but there's a case to be made that the Huskies were the best team to come out of the Pac-12 in the 2022 season, especially with Michael Penix Jr. lighting up the conference with his highlight reel throws. The Huskies finished the season on a high note with a win over Texas and will easily ride the momentum to a likely Top 10 ranking going into 2023.

9. LSU

It was a bit of an up and down season for the Tigers, but a 63-7 drubbing over Purdue is about as good as a team could ask for as a four-loss team. With Jayden Daniels at quarterback and Brian Kelly at head coach, LSU found a way to get back to the top 10. The 2022 season very well could jumpstart an LSU team that quickly dropped to irrelevance after a national title.

10. Oregon

Bo Nix transformed his career at Oregon after a lackluster career at Auburn. The Ducks easily could have dropped its last game of the season against North Carolina in what appeared to be a sort of trap game, but Oregon played well to finish out Dan Lanning's first season in Eugene. You could argue some other teams above Oregon, but they've proven all season they belong near the top.

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

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

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Josh is the Sports Director for KSL.com 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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