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Athlon Sports Media Poll: How I voted after Week 5

I updated my College Football Playoff projections and my first batch of bowl projections are coming soon. I had been waiting for October to come around before starting them up. This week also marks the debut of a new power ranking collaboration put together by my friends at Athlon Sports. Each week the college football team at Athlon Sports will organize a power ranking of sorts, taking ballots for the top eight teams from a number of college football writers from various mediums. I was asked to participate, which means I will be putting together my own top eight ballot on a weekly basis until the end of the season. In the interest of transparency, I have decided to share my weekly power ranking with my readers here as well.

For the purposes of my power ranking, I will attempt to base my ranking on a mixture of my personal feelings about a team as well as on-field performance. I will share some quick thoughts after revealing my weekly top eight as well. Let’s get started with a look at my first top eight of the season.

1. Oklahoma

2. Oregon

3. Florida State

4. Alabama

5. Auburn

6. Michigan State

7. Texas A&M

8. UCLA

To me it looks as though Oklahoma is the most complete team that is performing to its potential at this stage of the season. The Sooners do not appear to have any real weaknesses. The run the ball well. The pass well. They defend well. They do not rack up a bunch of dumb penalties. They are one of the best Big 12 schools in red zone defense. They have won every game so far the way they are probably supposed to. They remain my team to beat in the Big 12 for a good reason. Baylor can give them a run later in the year, but I think Oklahoma can pick up the win and end the season without a loss. And that will be the key. As much as I like Oklahoma right now, my thoughts on the strength of the Big 12 are not forgotten. One loss can really hurt Oklahoma down the road if some other things pan out.

To me, Oregon has the best win of the season with a fourth-quarter rally against Michigan State (the McGuire Metric has that win tied for second). The Ducks did get a scare from Washington State on the road, which is a reason for some caution for some folks. Not me. Good teams get scared at one point or another and great teams handle it by winning. Oregon is a great team. So is Florida State. The Noles are coming off a scare at North Carolina State that could cause some people to�be concerned about the defense in Tallahassee. Not me. I’ll take Florida State in every game the rest of the season without any hesitation because they are loaded with talent on both sides of the football. Chemistry problems? Nah.

Then we move into the discussion about the SEC. More specifically, the SEC West. Right now I’ll stick with Alabama. The Crimson Tide are just fine with Blake Sims blossoming at quarterback and with Amari Cooper doing his thing catching footballs and whatnot. The defense is in good shape too, as we should expect from a Nick Saban team at this point. Out of all the teams in the SEC West, Alabama looks the best and they appear to be getting better. That is a scary thought.

I have Auburn just slightly ahead of Michigan State based mostly on the unblemished record. I also value Auburn’s win over Arkansas with higher regard than most. The Spartans failed to finish the job at Oregon�but I’m not so sure I can beat them up too much for one bad quarter of play against a team I clearly have the utmost respect for right now. Outside of that fourth quarter in Eugene, Michigan State has been a machine. Now they open Big Ten play looking to carry that Big Ten banner once again. You cannot forget about the Spartans.

Texas A&M may have been a little lucky to get by Arkansas, but you have to give this team credit for the fast start to the season. I still don’t think they are SEC championship material, but they look good right now. UCLA is also undefeated and has looked incredibly shaky. My expectation is the Thursday night game at Arizona State was the team finally coming together and taking form. I have some questions about the defense, but when the Bruins are healthy, they can be dangerous.

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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