Time to send another Top 25 ballot to The Associated Press.
I kicked out San Diego State after its losses to UNLV and Wyoming. The UNLV loss was at home and the Aztecs scored just 45 points against Wyoming.
I evicted Missouri after its 31-point loss to Florida. That’s 2 lopsided losses in the past 3 games for Missouri. Time to evict them until the Tigers get healthy and get back to playing like a Top 25 team.
I booted Illinois after its loss to Northwestern at home. Illini have lost 3 straight.
I kicked out Notre Dame after its loss to St. John’s. Irish have lost 2 of 3.
I booted UCLA after its home loss to Oregon.
Here is my ballot:
1. With Louisville having lost, I needed a new No. 1 for the 2nd straight week. I looked at Duke, Michigan and Syracuse. Duke was No. 2 in my ballot last week, so I decided to move them back up to No. 1 after its win over Ga. Tech. Michigan and Syracuse both had great road wins this past week, but Duke gets my vote because of its body of work this season. But Michigan and SU would be worthy No. 1s as well. Next: big game at Miami on Wed. and a Sat. game with Maryland. Will Duke still be No. 1 on my ballot next week?
2. Michigan moves up 2 spots after winning at Minnesota. Next: Thurs. against Purdue and Sun. at Illinois.
3. Syracuse moves up 4 spots after winning at Louisville. Next: big game Mon. against Cincinnati and a Sat. game at Villanova.
4. Kansas moves up a spot after beating Baylor and Texas. Next: huge game Tuesday at Kansas State and a Sat. game with Oklahoma.
5. Butler moves up 4 spots after beating Richmond and Gonzaga. Butler has now beaten Indiana and Gonzaga — impressive. Next: Wed. at La Salle and Sat. against Temple.
6. Louisville falls 5 spots after beating UConn and losing to Syracuse. Next: Tues. at Villanova and Sat. at Georgetown.
7. Gonzaga falls one spot after beating Portland and losing at Butler on a buzzer-beater. Next: Thurs. against BYU and Sat. against San Francisco.
8. Oregon moves up 5 spots after winning at Southern Cal and winning at previously hot UCLA. Some may think Oregon is not a top 10 team, but this team has beaten Arizona and has won at UNLV and at UCLA. That is an impressive resume. Time for Oregon to be ranked ahead of Arizona. Next: Wed. against Wash. State and Sat. against Washington.
9. Arizona moves up 2 spots after beating Arizona State. Next: good game against UCLA on Thursday, and a Sat. game with Southern Cal.
10. Kansas State moves up 5 spots after beating TCU and Oklahoma. This team has beaten Florida, and its only losses were to Michigan and Gonzaga. I think this is a top 10 team. Next: huge game Tues. against visiting Kansas, and a good game Sat. at Iowa State. Will K-State still be in my top 10 next week?
11. Florida moves up six spots after beating Texas A&M and thumping Missouri. I like Florida, but don’t agree with people who think Florida is a possible No. 1 team right now. The Gators have lost to both Arizona and K-State. I can’t ignore the two losses, which is why Florida is on my ballot behind those two teams. Next: Wed. at Georgia and Sat. at Miss. State.
12. Indiana falls 9 spots after losing to Wisconsin and beating Northwestern. You lose at home to an unranked team, you fall out of the top 10 on my ballot, especially when there are so many worthy teams. Next: Wed. against Penn State and big game Sunday against Mich. State.
13. Minnesota falls 5 spots after losing at home to Michigan. No shame in the loss, but it was at home. And there were other teams I thought were more worthy of the top 10-11 spots. Minnesota stays behind Indiana since it has lost to Indiana. Next: Wed. at Northwestern and big game Sat. at Wisconsin.
14. Mich. St. moves up seven spots after beating Penn St. and Ohio State. Next: big game Tues. at Wisconsin and huge game Sunday at Indiana.
15. NC State falls 3 spots after losing at Maryland and beating Clemson. Next: Tues. at Wake and Sat. at UNC.
16. Ohio State stays here after losing at Mich. State. Next: Tues. against Iowa and Sat. at Penn St.
17. Wichita State returns to my ballot here after beating Ill State and Creighton. Quality win, beating Creighton, so Wichita State deserves to be back on the ballot — and deserves to be ahead of Creighton and VCU, two teams it beat. Next: Wed. at Missouri State and Sat. against Bradley.
18. Creighton falls 8 spots after beating Northern Iowa and losing at Wichita State. Considered dropping Creighton only 4 spots, but I decided to put them behind Wichita State. Next: Wed. at Draken and Sun at. Southern Ill.
19. VCU moves up 3 spots after beating St. Joe’s and Duquesne. Next: Thursday at Richmond and Sat. vs. La Salle.
20. New Mexico moves up three spots after beating Boise State in OT on the road. Next: big game Wed. vs. Colorado State and a good Sat. game at San Diego State.
21. Cincinnati returns to my ballot here after beating DePaul and Marquette. Next: big game Mon. at Syracuse.
22. Marquette falls 3 spots after beating Seton Hall and losing at Cincinnati in OT. Next: Sat. vs. Providence.
23. Wisconsin cracks my ballot here after winning at Indiana and losing at Iowa. Don’t usually have teams crack my ballot after just going 1-1 on the week, but that win at Indiana was too good for me not to put Wisconsin on my ballot. And it’s not like the Iowa loss came at home. Wisconsin is 4-1 in the Big Ten, including a lopsided win over Illinois. Next: big game Tues. against Mich. State and another big game Sunday against Minnesota. Will Wisconsin still be on my ballot next week?
24. Colorado State cracks my ballot here after crushing Air Force and beating UNLV. The Rams, who made the NCAAs last year, have won 9 of their last 10 games, with the only loss coming in OT at San Diego State. Next: big game Wed. at New Mexico and a Sat. game at Fresno St. Will the Rams still be on my ballot next week?
25. For this last spot, I thought about keeping Missouri, San Diego State or UCLA on my ballot. I looked at UNLV. I looked very, very hard at Miami, which is 4-0 in the ACC. But it was hard for me to put Miami on my ballot after its only game of the week was a 1-point road win over Boston College. So I will wait a week on Miami to see how they do Wed. at home against Duke.
I decided to give the 25th spot not to Miami but to Ole Miss. Ole Miss cracks my ballot here after beating Vandy and Arkansas to improve to 4-0 in the SEC. But the lopsided win over Missouri on Jan. 12 is the big reason Ole Miss is on my ballot. Ole Miss has won seven straight. Next: Thursday against Tenn. and Sat. at Auburn.