Thanks to everyone in their interest in the JP Top 25. There have been some good points made in the comments, mostly about Wake Forest or Washington
You can find the expanded version of my ballot here every week during the season, usually on Mondays. Please come back and add your two cents.
This is my fourth season voting for the AP and I enjoy the process and most of the feedback. That's why the poll was created in 1936, to create interest in the game.
My ballot doesn't always match up with the rest of my colleagues. That's fine. And since a portion of you revel in my faults (Louisville No. 1 in 2005), I'll take this opportunity to point out that I was the only AP voter to have BYU ranked in the preseason poll in 2006.
The Cougars went 11-2 and ended the season ranked No. 16. So maybe, the Washington pick — I'm the only voter with the Huskies on the ballot — isn't as crazy as some of you think.
As for the official AP Top 25, here are a few votes that caught my eye:
• UNC received 14 points (note: a first-place vote equals 25 points, second-place 24 ... 25th-place one point). The Heels, coming off a 4-8 season, are attractive because of second-year coach Butch Davis and the weakness of the Coastal Division.
To my surprise, none of the Heels' points came from three voters in the Tar Heel state (WPTF's Taylor Zarzour and W-S Journal's Bill Cole are the other two).
Jon Wilner, of the San Jose Mercury News, ranked the Heels No. 17. John Silver, from the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn., put UNC No. 23 and Eric Hansen, of the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, ranked UNC No. 25.
• Virginia got four points, all from Marcus Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, who ranked UVa No. 22. I've enumerated Virginia's problems before but Fuller probably thinks I'm crazy for ranking Washington at No. 25, so to each his own.
• Pitt (85 points) edged out South Carolina (84) and Fresno State (83) for the 25th spot. Presumably, Pitt's No. 25 because it beat West Virginia in the 2007 season finale.
The Panthers might be ready to break out in Dave Wannstedt's fourth season, with 15 starters back, but it's a mistake to infer anything from a rivalry game.
The dynamics of a game between two teams that know each other — and don't like each other — skew how a team will preform against anyone else (think of Les Robinson's N.C. State basketball teams against UNC as an example).
• I don't get the love for Oregon (21). The Ducks closed the regular season with three straight losses without quarterback Dennis Dixon. Only a 253-yard performance from Jonathan Stewart in the bowl game ended that streak.
Last time I checked, Dixon's gone and so is Stewart. I think Oregon is in for a big fall.
• Old habits die hard, hence Michigan with 36 points, but at least my fellow voters are shaking their Notre Dame fix. The Irish received two points, five less than traditional power Tulsa.