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Gators take a wild ride in AP Top 25

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Ohio State maintained its position at the top of the AP Top 25 poll despite an unexpectedly close game against Indiana, while TCU moved into second after yet another huge offensive performance. The biggest story involves the state of Florida.

Once conference play begins, one SEC team seems to rocket up the AP Top 25 poll each week following an impressive win against a conference foe. This week’s collection of astronauts is the Florida Gators who vaulted from Number 25 to Number 11 following their blowout of former Number 3 Mississippi.

The Gators certainly played like a Top 15 team, dominating the Rebels from start to finish. Their performance, especially with so many players (including quarterback Will Grier) battling an outbreak of stomach virus, left little doubt Florida would make a significant gain.

Who would have imagined that by the fifth week of the season, Florida would be ranked ahead of Florida State with the Seminoles still unbeaten? But that is the circumstance as the Gators took FSU’s Number 11 position from last week while the Seminoles dropped to Number 12.

While Florida State managed a 24-16 win at Wake Forest, the media voters apparently felt they did not do enough to at least maintain their position. The FSU offense clearly suffered from the early injury to star running back Dalvin Cook.

The ACC did have one team with significant movement. Clemson’s ability to hang on to defeat former sixth-ranked Notre Dame 24-22 prompted voters to jump the Tigers from Number 12 to Number 6.

Six SEC teams are included in the top 25, with LSU being the highest at Number 7 followed by Alabama at Number 8. TCU and Baylor, two of four Big 12 teams in the rankings, are second and third respectively.

As SEC teams often make the biggest climbs in the rankings, they also take big falls. Georgia fell 11 spots to Number 19 after their big loss to Alabama and Mississippi also tumbled 11 places to Number 14 after their smack down by Florida.

Ohio State began the season as the unanimous Number 1, but this week saw 5 teams earn first place votes. TCU, Baylor, Utah and Texas A&M were the top selection among 23 of the voters.

The poll can be found here.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at [email protected]

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