092317-HAWKEYE-FOOTBALL-084

Penn State fan Leanne Severo of Meadville, Pennsylvania gets a hug from the Nittany Lions mascot during the fourth quarter of Saturday's win at Iowa.

Andy Abeyta, QUAD-CITY TIMES

There are a handful of changes on my ballot for this week's Associated Press poll, starting with the rise of two teams following statement-making victories on Saturday.

Georgia and TCU join my top 10 following significant conference wins, the Bulldogs handling Mississippi State 31-3 and the Horned Frogs handing Oklahoma State its first loss of the season 44-31. Both rode the strength of defense to wins that moved them into the eighth and 10th positions on this week's ballot.

Alabama, Oklahoma and Penn State continue to hold the top three spots on my ballot, with Clemson and USC flipping into the fourth and fifth spot.

The Nittany Lions definitely passed the eye test last night at Kinnick Stadium. Penn State is more than Saquon Barkley, Trace McSorley and Mike Gesicki. The Nittany Lions defense continued to be smothering, the perfect complement to offense with plenty of firepower.

Neither Clemson or USC were overwhelming yesterday, but the Tigers moved another notch forward with a strong second-half effort in a 34-7 win over Boston College as the Trojans held off previously-unbeaten Cal despite being without running back Ronald Jones and receiver Steven Mitchell.

Washington, Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio State and TCU fill the sixth through 10th spots with Michigan and Virginia Tech next in line. The Wolverines held off plucky Purdue which to date has been the most improved team in the Big Ten and the Hokies continue to roll.

There are some changes on down my ballot as well.

Florida State, Colorado and Vanderbilt have exited, creating spots for Notre Dame, West Virginia and North Carolina State.

The Irish handled Michigan State on the road, West Virginia did the same against woeful Kansas and North Carolina held off Florida State.

I gave a hard look at Georgia Tech as well for one of those final spots. They're probably my "next man in" at this point.

Here is my ballot for this week's AP poll, which will be released early this afternoon:

1. Alabama

2. Oklahoma

3. Penn State

4. Clemson

5. USC

6. Washington

7. Wisconsin

8. Georgia

9. Ohio State

10. TCU

11. Michigan

12. Virginia Tech

13. Auburn

14. Miami (Fla.)

15. Oklahoma State

16. Florida

17. South Florida

18. Louisville

19. LSU

20. Utah

21. San Diego State

22. Washington State

23. Notre Dame

24. West Virgina

25. North Carolina State

0
0
0
0
0