Alabama head coach Nick Saban returned to work Saturday after testing positive earlier in the week for COVID-19. He was cleared to be on the sidelines for Alabama's win against Georgia.

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Illinois football beat writer Bob Asmussen is a voting member of The Associated Press Top 25 football panel. Here is this week's ballot:


1. Clemson 1

2. Alabama 2

3. Ohio State 4

4. Notre Dame 5

5. Georgia 3

6. Oregon 7

7. Penn State 8

8. Minnesota 9

9. Oklahoma State 10

10. Cincinnati 12

11. Texas A&M 14

12. Miami 13

13. Florida 15

14. BYU 16

15. Wisconsin 17

16. Michigan 18

17. SMU 19

18. North Carolina 6

19. Iowa State 22

20. Kansas State 23

21. Virginia Tech 25

22. Southern Cal 24

23. Marshall --

24. NC State --

25. Iowa --


Bob Asmussen's three quick thoughts related to The AP Top 25:

Who's up: Oklahoma State. Mike Gundy's Cowboys didn't get to play Baylor on Saturday because of COVID-19. Still yet, they climbed a spot on my ballot. Now the favorite to win the Big 12, Oklahoma State hosts dangerous Iowa State this week. The Cyclones already have a win against Oklahoma.

Who's down: Tennessee. The Volunteers fell out of the ratings after their first loss. It was a doozy, a never-really-in-it 34-7 decision against Kentucky. It was the first time Tennessee lost at home to the Wildcats since 1984. Ronald Reagan was president back then.

Who to watch: Michigan at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m., Saturday. The Big Ten is back. And this is the best matchup of the opening weekend. Both ranked, the Wolverines and Gophers will try to get a leg up in a shortened league race. Oh, yeah, it for the Little Brown Jug, which I hope they don't use as the team water bottle.

Bob Asmussen can be reached at 217-393-8248 or by email at

College Football Reporter/Columnist

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).