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Just how good is Alabama? Ask Vandy

Former Winston-Salem Journal columnist and ESPN Triad host Scott Hamilton is one of 61
voters in the Associated Press college football poll. Here’s how his Week 5 ballot shook out.
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star: Whether it was real or perceived, Alabama used the talk of
Vanderbilt being a potential stumbling block to fuel a 59-0 drubbing of the upstart
Commodores. Alabama held the football for more than 42 minutes and rolled up 677 yards
offense while holding Vanderbilt to 78 yards on 38 total plays. As it was in the preseason, the
Crimson Tide remains the top-ranked team on my ballot even though Clemson and
Oklahoma have managed to collect a few first-place votes in recent weeks.
Georgia Porgie: Georgia is legit and the alpha of the SEC East. In a 31-3 victory on
Saturday, Georgia rolled over a then-No. 22 Mississippi State team that was supposedly
riding a wave of momentum after beating LSU seven days earlier. Jake Fromm completed
nine of 12 passing attempts for 201 yards and two touchdowns and Georgia ground out 203
yards on the ground en route to becoming my eighth-ranked team.
Humpty Dumpty: Florida State –– which was my No. 2 team in the preseason and No. 1
for many others –– is 0-2. The Seminoles lost to Alabama to open things, had starting
quarterback Deondre Francois suffer a season-ending knee injury and were sidelined for a
couple of week because of Hurricane Irma. And after losing to N.C. State, 27-21, Florida
State is no longer on my ballot.
Hickory Dickory Dock: Washington didn’t jump over the moon, though it did jump over
Southern Cal on my ballot. The Trojans beat Cal, 30-20, thanks in part to Bears’ quarterback
Ross Bowers throwing four interceptions. However, Washington –– especially its defense ––
looked dominant in a 37-10 win over then-No. 21 Colorado. That was enough to convince me
to move the Huskies up to fourth and USC down to fifth.
Rub-a- Dub Dub: Three new teams that were previously unranked made my ballot this
week, claiming Nos. 21, 22 and 25. Utah is No. 21 after improving to 4-0 via a 30-24 win at
Arizona. Notre Dame is back thanks to a 38-18 win at Michigan State and that the Irish’s only
loss –– that being a 20-19 loss to Georgia on Sept. 9 –– suddenly doesn’t look so bad.
Duck, Duck, Goose: In addition to Florida State, say “so long” to Oregon (37-35 losers at
Arizona State) and Colorado from my ballot.
Jack Be Nimble: Lamar Jackson might not have won the mythical September Heisman,
but he continues to be in contention to become only the second repeat winner iconic award’s
history. Jackson went 18 of 22 passing for 299 yards and two touchdowns during a 42-3 win
over Kent State of the Mid-American Conference while also rushing eight times for 34 yards
and another score. The winner of that non-existent September Heisman was likely running
back Saquon Barkley of Penn State. Barkley ran for 211 yards and a touchdown while
catching 12 passes for 94 yards during the Nittany Lions’ 21-19 win at Iowa. It was a rare
four-quarter game for Barkley, who has sat out the closing stretches thus far this season
while Penn State won its first three games by a total score of 141-14. Add in 160 yards he
has on kickoff returns this season and he nearly had a 100-yard lead nationally in all-purpose
yardage.
We Willie Winkie: South Florida of the American Athletic Conference is the highest-ranked
Group of Five team on my ballot, moving up from 18 to 17 after beating Temple, 43-7. The
Bulls aren’t alone, as San Diego State of the Mountain West defeated Air Force, 28-24, to
remain in the mix for a second straight week. There are six teams from the SEC and four
each from the remaining Power Five conferences. Notre Dame is the lone independent.

This week’s rankings (previous week):
1. Alabama (1)
2. Clemson (2)
3. Oklahoma (3)
4. Washington (5)
5. Southern Cal (4)
6. Penn State (6)
7. TCU (15)
8. Georgia (11)
9. Michigan (8)
10. Ohio State (9)
11. Wisconsin (11)
12. Virginia Tech (13)
13. Auburn (14)
14. Washington State (15)
15. Oklahoma State (7)
16. Miami (17)
17. South Florida (18)
18. Louisville (19)
19. Florida (20)
20. San Diego State (24)
21. Utah (NR)
22. Notre Dame (NR)
23. Mississippi State (22)
24. LSU (23)
25. West Virginia (NR)
You can follow Scott Hamilton on Twitter: @ScottH_Sports

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