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Ballot Type: hybrid

Overall Rationale:
No more funny business this week. With one exception, I'm playing things completely straight, and ranking on pure team strength.

Rank Team Reason
1 Clemson Tigers Shoutouts to everyone who had Clemson #1 from wire to wire.
2 Alabama Crimson Tide My top two went the whole season without changing.
3 North Dakota State Bison ...but my #25 didn't, as NDSU is moving all the way up to #3. This is the one exception to my post-bowls rule of "play it completely straight", as I'm ranking the Bison here specifically to counter the folks who wouldn't consider ranking an FCS team.
4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish It'll be interesting to see how many people drop Notre Dame, and how far they drop them. For all the talk of Notre Dame being "exposed", they still end the season at 12-1 having only lost to the champion.
5 Ohio State Buckeyes Ohio State jumps Oklahoma by virtue of winning their bowl game. (I also would have jumped Ohio State over Notre Dame had Alabama won, because ND would be two steps removed from the champion instead of one.)
6 Oklahoma Sooners Oklahoma was at least able to compete in their playoff game. And though Georgia lost to Alabama by fewer points, common games don't mean everything.
7 Georgia Bulldogs Georgia may have been a bit overrated entering the bowls, but the question is whether I'd rank them below a remaining team. And I can't see myself doing that.
8 Michigan Wolverines As frustratingly mediocre as this Michigan team was, they round out the top 8.
9 Washington State Cougars Two losses is better than four losses, so WSU is the best team in the Pac-12.
10 LSU Tigers As with Georgia, I can't see any of the teams below LSU as better.
11 Texas A&M Aggies We're starting to get into mediocrity here. I hate that sometimes.
12 Washington Huskies Can't reasonably drop a P5 champ below here.
13 Florida Gators Florida being worse than A&M is probably the most controversial part of this ballot, as the Gators had fewer losses in a theoretically better division. But they also had a clearly worse non-conference schedule.
14 UCF Knights UCF is a team I expect the pollsters to heavily differ on, because they were down their best player in their only loss. I don't give a shit about that, so I'm ranking them as I'd rank any other one-loss G5 team.
15 Penn State Nittany Lions I'm not sure I really have much to say about Penn State. They played pretty much the way they were expected to, near-loss to App State aside.
16 Kentucky Wildcats #16 isn't a very good spot to be in for a basketball school, but UMBC made the most of it. (Wait, this isn't supposed to be a UMBC writeup...)
17 Texas Longhorns Texas is in one of those weird spots where I want to move them down, but I can't see anyone to move them under. They're essentially at the bottom of one big tier of teams.
18 Fresno State Bulldogs Even with no obviously bad losses, Fresno State ends up at #18 because their best win is Boise, a team they lost to in the regular season.
19 Syracuse Orange Syracuse is another of those teams with no bad losses (unless you count Pitt as a bad loss), but no good wins.
20 Iowa Hawkeyes I'm running out of things to say that I haven't already said about the other teams in this tier, so I'll just finish this off with memes and joke comments.
21 Appalachian State Mountaineers RANK APP STATE YOU COWARDS.
22 West Virginia Mountaineers The bottom of the poll is a crapshoot this year.
23 Stanford Cardinal Watch out for that tree.
24 Utah State Aggies Mountain West gets two teams into my top 25, and neither is Boise. Not what I would have expected at the start of the season.
25 Mississippi State Bulldogs Don't want to leave them completely off, and there's no better option anyway. #26 Boise, #27 Cincinnati, #28 Auburn, #29 Army, #30 Mizzou.

Submitted: Wed 09 Jan 2019 01:24