AP top-25 ballot: Georgia is No. 1, BYU soars, Notre Dame falls

Highlights from the ballot …

Given all the changes you’ll find below, this seems like an appropriate time to remind readers of two voting guidelines the Associated Press provides the 63 participants in its weekly poll.

The first guideline mentioned each year is, “Base your vote on performance, not reputation.”

This seems self-explanatory but is difficult to apply across the board early in the season. Many teams have yet to face high-level opponents, creating an uneven distribution of quality results.

Some teams on my ballot have a quality win; some have a quality loss; others have zippo and are ranked based on an admitted subjective assessment.

The second guideline is often overlooked by fans (and sometimes by voters):

“Don’t hesitate to make significant changes in your ballot from week to week. There’s no rule against jumping a 16th-ranked team over the eighth-ranked team if No. 16 is coming off a big victory and No. 8 survived an unranked team.”

We made several “significant” changes this week, based on the results:

— Notre Dame and Texas A&M aren’t on the ballot following their upset losses, for example.

— BYU cracked the top-10 after beating Baylor.

— Washington State made an appearance after winning at Wisconsin.

And there are other examples.

The new names and placements could be temporary — or they could last the season. We have no idea and will adjust weekly as the results dictate.

To the ballot …

1. Georgia
2. Alabama
3. Ohio State
4. Michigan
5. Oklahoma
6. Clemson
7. Arkansas
8. Brigham Young
9. Baylor
10. USC
11. Oklahoma State
12. Cincinnati
13. Kentucky
14. Mississippi
15. Florida
16. Utah
17. Florida State
18. Washington State
19. Wake Forest
20. Tennessee
21. Michigan State
22. Texas
23. Oregon State
24. Marshall
25. Penn State

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