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My AP top 25 ballot: Oklahoma Sooners join playoff mix

The playoff committee will need to come up with a new top four following Ohio State’s convincing victory over Michigan on Saturday.

Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson remain obvious picks for the top three spots. But what about the fourth team? My vote goes to Oklahoma, by the slimmest of margins over Georgia.

You could certainly make a case for the Bulldogs or Buckeyes at that spot, but I prefer the Sooners. All three teams have one loss, and Oklahoma’s narrow defeat against Texas on a neutral field seems like the most understandable of the bunch. It also just added a big win at West Virginia.

I ranked Georgia fifth and Ohio State sixth. As good as the Buckeyes looked against Michigan, it wasn’t enough to jump them past other playoff contenders with one loss. Georgia can play its way into the playoff in the SEC championship game.

Much could change over the next week, but that is how I see things right now.

Here’s a complete look at how I voted:

Trending up

Washington and Texas A&M.

The Huskies moved up to No. 15 on my ballot after they defeated Washington State on the road on Friday. I’ve been down on Washington much of the season, but this is a team that is coming on strong. Texas A&M also jumped up to No. 18 following its epic win over LSU.

Trending down

Michigan.

I dropped the Wolverines to No. 8 on my ballot. Thought about moving them down to No. 10, behind Texas and Florida. But their resume, for now, is slightly better than those teams, even following an ugly loss to Ohio State.

Say hello to …

Missouri.

The Tigers joined the party after finishing the regular season 8-4.

Say goodbye to …

Utah State.

The Aggies were extremely fortunate to survive against Colorado State last week. Then they lost to Boise State. Utah State is still a good team, one of the best in the G5 conferences. But it no longer seems worthy of a ranking.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1. Alabama

2. Notre Dame

3. Clemson

4. Oklahoma

5. Georgia

6. Ohio State

7. Central Florida

8. Michigan

9. Texas

10. Florida

11. Washington State

12. LSU

13. Penn State

14. Kentucky

15. Washington

16. Utah

17. West Virginia

18. Texas A&M

19. Boise State

20. Northwestern

21. Iowa State

22. Missouri

23. Fresno State

24. Syracuse

25. Army

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