Toledo's Nate Childress blocks a field goal attempt by Akron's Nick Gasser during the MAC Championship game at Ford Field in Detroit. The MAC champion Rockets sit at No. 23 in David Briggs' Associated Press poll vote.
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Couple quick thoughts from my penultimate ballot in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The final rankings will be released January 9.
• I had Toledo No. 23, and was hardly alone among the 61 voters in throwing shine on the Mid-American Conference champions. The Rockets climbed to 28th in the latest rankings — one voter, Pat Dooley of the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, had UT as high as 20th — all but assuring they will be in the final poll with a victory over Appalachian State (8-4) in the Dollar General Bowl. Well-deserved recognition for the Rockets.
• Don’t expect everyone rush the Cotton Bowl ticket window at once. If Ohio State and Southern California are two of the sport’s biggest names, Dallas in late December is not exactly a tourist hot spot while Buckeyes fans — who now view major postseason games with no title implications as old hat — have shown a bowl fatigue in recent years. But this throwback showdown between the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions — the No. 5 and 6 teams on my ballot — is as good as it gets for the non-playoff slate. You just wish it could have been at the Rose Bowl, which as a semifinal host is out of the traditional bowl lineup.
• And my full AP vote, submitted early Sunday morning and sadly ignored by the playoff committee: 1. Clemson, 2. Oklahoma, 3. Georgia, 4. Alabama, 5. Ohio State, 6. USC, 7. Wisconsin, 8. Auburn, 9. Penn State, 10. Central Florida, 11. Miami, 12. TCU, 13. Stanford, 14. Washington, 15. Notre Dame, 16. Memphis, 17. Oklahoma State, 18. Michigan State, 19. LSU, 20. Northwestern, 21. Washington State, 22. Virginia Tech, 23. Toledo, 24. Boise State, 25. South Florida.
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