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Looks Can be DeSECiving in the Latest AP Top 25


By now you've heard and likely seen that the SEC put ten teams into the latest AP Top 25. As always, the SEC haters are going to hate. This time, however, there may be some legitimate questions surrounding not only the SEC, but a few other teams who rose, fell or didn't budge in the polls.

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For starters, just like last season, Texas A&M got a huge bump by beating a ranked opponent. The Aggies — in just one week — went from being unranked to No. 16. That by itself is fine, except for the fact that the team the Aggies defeated, Arizona State, tumbled completely out of the polls.

This leaves us with a couple of questions. For one, is Texas A&M's jump a result of them being so good? If so, why would you punish Arizona State for losing to a team good enough to leapfrog nine spots into the Top 25? Or was Arizona State so bad, we just couldn't keep them in the Top 25? If that was the case, why was Texas A&M's win over them good enough to make such a jump?

Then you look at Arizona — sitting at No. 22 — the same spot they sat in one week earlier. They beat Texas San Antonio in a 42-32 game that was closer than the final score shows. I get that you don't want to punish a team for winning. That wouldn't make any sense. But that's what happened to TCU, after winning a tough game on the road against a tough Minnesota team. They won and got leapfrogged by Alabama.

Mississippi State earned their way into the Top 25 this week on the strength of a "quality" win over Southern Miss. In the meantime, Northwestern took down a Stanford team that some thought could contend for the Pac-12 title — keeping them out of the end zone and holding the previously 21st-ranked Cardinal to just 240 yards of offense. Northwestern remains unranked, while Stanford tumbled out of the polls, just like fellow Pac-12 member Arizona State.

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BYU got a tough road win over Nebraska. They remain unranked, while Tennessee moved up two spots in the poll off of their 59-30 home win over Bowling Green.

Remember how we didn't want to punish teams when they won? Well, tell that to Georgia and Florida State, who each fell a spot after blowout wins over a couple of Group of Five schools. LSU, who sits right below them, didn't budge, regardless of the fact that they didn't even play. Maybe Georgia and Florida State would have been better off cancelling their games like LSU did. And who pushed Georgia and Florida State down the polls? Why, Notre Dame, on the back of their win over Texas. The Longhorns received three total votes in the preseason poll.

Back to the SEC, everyone must have thought Missouri's home win over Southeast Missouri State was pretty impressive, as they jumped Arizona, who as I previously mentioned also won.

Moving forward, this thing is set up pretty well for the SEC and maybe not quite as nice for the Pac-12. Four currently ranked SEC teams can now look forward to meeting a ranked Texas A&M team starting in two weeks, giving one of the teams a quality win in each matchup. In the meantime, Oregon, UCLA and USC are each staring down a schedule with two fewer ranked opponents than it had a week ago, which will eventually mean two fewer quality wins if they walk away from those games victorious.

It's a good thing we now have an unbiased, independent College Football Playoff committee who can see through all of this nonsense and use their own eyes, hearts and minds to rank the teams more accurately. Because of them, the AP Poll means nothing, because surely the committee members will ignore the little numbers next to each team's name on the scoreboard when they watch the games and weigh wins and losses.

Surely that'll be the case — right?

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the editor-in-chief of, a Big Ten site for Big Ten fans. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.