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The path never changed for Michigan. To reach the Big Ten championship game and ultimately earn a spot in the College Football Playoff it needed to beat Ohio State.

No, the Associated Press top 25 doesn’t determine that field and this is simply my vote in the AP poll, but Michigan failed to do so and as a result, drops out of my top four – well out of it, in fact.

It was fairly remarkable to me two weeks ago when Michigan lost on the road to Iowa and didn’t drop in the playoff rankings. If the same happens now, the system is a sham. That would put two Big Ten teams on track for a playoff spot and neither would have played in the conference championship game.

I truly don’t believe that will be the case, but it’s college football, and often times logic doesn’t exactly win out, so we’ll see. For what it’s worth, I’ve moved Wisconsin up to No. 4 and Washington sits at No. 5. I think there’s just as good a chance Washington ultimately ends up in that No. 4 spot, especially if it wins the Pac-12 championship game.

I have Oklahoma at No. 6. The Sooners close next week with Oklahoma State, and a win there could throw them into the mix. I’m still unsure if Penn State has a shot at it. The Nittany Lions were great in the second half against Michigan State, but will the voters ignore the last couple weeks of poor first-half performances?

Florida State moved into my top 10 after a win over Florida and Colorado was impressive beating Utah to get to No. 11.

And how about Western Michigan? I have the Broncos at No. 12 and barring something crazy in the MAC title game on Friday, it looks like they’ll head to the Cotton Bowl. Pretty impressive stuff.

Some new entries near the bottom, including Air Force and Iowa after its one-sided win over Nebraska. And it’s hard to ignore the 10 wins from South Florida, which checks in at No. 23, with Navy rounding it out at No. 25.

MATT CHARBONEAU'S AP BALLOT

1. Alabama (last week: 1)

2. Ohio State (2)

3. Clemson (3)

4. Wisconsin (5)

5. Washington (7)

6. Oklahoma (6)

7. Michigan (4)

8. Oklahoma State (8)

9. Florida State (10)

10. Penn State (11)

11. Colorado (12)

12. Western Michigan (14)

13. Southern Cal (16)

14. West Virginia (20)

15. Florida (9)

16. Stanford (21)

17. LSU (23)

18. Virginia Tech (25)

19. Air Force (NR)

20. Iowa (NR)

21. Houston (13)

22. Louisville (15)

23. South Florida (NR)

24. Nebraska (19)

25. Navy (NR)

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