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  • Alabama wide receiver Derek Kief (81) celebrates with wide receiver Tyrell Shavers (14) after scoring a touchdown against Arkansas State during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama won 57-7. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Sunday, September 09, 2018 5:20 pm

Sinn's AP Poll: Week 2

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

After the bevy of high-profile matchups that dotted the college football landscape in Week 1, the schedule cooled down in Week 2, leaving most of the top teams in the country unscathed (sorry, Michigan State). 

As a result, the top of my poll following the week's slate is largely unchanged from last week. Here is my full poll following two weeks of action:

1. Alabama (2-0)

2. Ohio State (2-0)

3. Oklahoma (2-0)

4. Wisconsin (2-0)

5. Clemson (2-0)

6. Auburn (2-0)

7. Georgia (2-0)

8. Notre Dame (2-0)

9. LSU (2-0)

10. Stanford (2-0)

11. West Virginia (2-0)

12. TCU (2-0)

13. Virginia Tech (2-0)

14. Penn State (2-0)

15. UCF (2-0)

16. Washington (1-1)

17. Boise State (2-0)

18. Mississippi State (2-0)

19. Michigan (1-1)

20. Miami (1-1)

21. USC (1-1)

22. Oklahoma State (2-0)

23. Oregon (2-0)

24. Arizona State (2-0)

25. South Florida (2-0)

The composite poll from the AP voters can be found here: https://collegefootball.ap.org/poll/2019/3

As usual, I'll start with Notre Dame, which led almost wire to wire against Ball State at home, but never really put the Cardinals away and had to clinch a 24-16 win with an onside kick recovery in the final minutes. I dropped the Irish one spot, from No. 7 to No. 8, which is where they are in the composite poll, as well. I don't often drop teams when they win as a general rule because, as Brian Kelly said Saturday night, "You can never apologize for winning. Winning's hard." Ball State came in motivated, played hard and the Irish were still able to come up with a win, so it's tough to penalize them too much. I did drop them one spot for two reasons:

1. There was a noticeable lack of energy at times, which is much more worrisome than simply making a few mistakes. If that lack of energy becomes a theme against lesser teams for Notre Dame, it could lose some games it should win.

2. The team I had directly below the Irish last week, Georgia, went into Columbia and beat No. 24 South Carolina 41-17. I had the Gamecocks at No. 19, so the Bulldogs, whom I've been relatively bearish on this season, deserved to move up in my eyes. 

So the Irish remain in the Top 10 for now, but if they repeat the mistakes they made against Ball State when they take on Vanderbilt in Week 3, I'll probably have to do some re-evaluating.

Elsewhere in the poll, I remain bullish on Ohio State and Wisconsin, who both dominated Saturday against lesser opponents, though the Badgers took a quarter to get on track. I was very impressed with Stanford's defense against USC, even though the Trojans are playing a young quarterback and Bryce Love remains magnificent. The Irish and Cardinal are on a collision course for a Week 5 matchup in which both teams have a good chance to be 5-0. Stanford moved up two spots to No. 10 in my rankings this week and is No. 9 overall.

Among teams dropped from my poll this week was Michigan State, which I was skeptical of coming into the season. The Spartans have proven me correct so far and after an ugly loss to Arizona State, they fell from No. 22 to unranked. The Sun Devils entered my poll after beating the Spartans, though they're still a somewhat unknown commodity under Herm Edwards. We'll know more about Arizona State when it takes on Washington in two weeks.

dsinn@jg.net