2010 CFN Rankings
Nov. 20, Week 12
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- CFN 2010
Week 12 Rankings, No. 26-120
1. Auburn 11-0
Last Week: Did Not Play
Next Up: at Alabama
Why Auburn Is No. 1: No program has more quality wins than the Tigers, which have been winning big games since the Week 2 trip to Starkville. Behind QB Cam Newton, the offense looks as if it can score at will, putting up at least 35 points in all but one of the last eight games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense continues to be the weak link of the program, ranking near the bottom of the SEC in pass defense and allowing 25 points a game. While the front seven makes plays, the secondary has been overmatched at times this fall. This isn’t the complete team that last year’s Alabama or 2008 Florida were. Raise your hands if you think Auburn is going to beat Alabama.
2. Oregon 10-0
Last Week: Did Not Play
Next Up: Arizona
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Even after being held to a single offensive touchdown by Cal two weeks ago, the Ducks still lead the country at 50 points a game. The best-kept secret is the D, which yields just 17 points a game and is among the country’s leaders in takeaways.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Did the Bears write the blueprint for slowing down the potent Oregon offense, when it gave up just one score and one play over 25 yards? The Ducks’ three non-conference foes, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Portland State are 8-25 combined.
3. Wisconsin 10-1
Last Week: W, Michigan 48-28
Next Up: Northwestern
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Badgers are one of the nation’s hottest teams, winning six straight, most by a comfortable margin. The offense is peaking behind unstoppable ground game led by former backups Montee Ball and James White, and the best O line in the country. Scott Tolzien is throwing as well as any quarterback in college football.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense is beatable at times, especially through the air. While there’s no shame in getting burned by Michigan QB Denard Robinson, Wisconsin gave up four touchdowns to him in a shaky second half. Beating up Indiana and Michigan might not be any big deal.
4. Boise State 10-0
Last Week: W, Fresno State 51-0
Next Up: at Nevada
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After a slow start, the Broncos easily cleared the Fresno State hurdle, 51-0. The offense gets most of the attention, but the defense is allowing only 12 points a game after pitching a third shutout in the last seven games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: With a Bronco team that’s outscoring opponents 48-12, any knocks are related to schedule and not the product on the field. Boise has played one opponent that’s currently ranked, Virginia Tech back on Labor Day night.
5. Ohio State 10-1
Last Week: W, Iowa 20-17
Next Up: Michigan
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Buckeyes delivered a championship style win on Saturday, going on the road and pulling out a huge game in the final few minutes. The defense is playing extremely well, keeping the Hawkeyes in check when it needed to.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: By its usually high standards, the Ohio State line play has left a lot to be desired. When was the last time this program ranked in the bottom half of the Big Ten in both sacks and sacks allowed?
6. Stanford 10-1
Last Week: W, Cal 48-14
Next Up: Oregon State
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It’s always a big deal when you can destroy a conference rival, especially on the road. The Cardinal got two years worth of redemption for last season’s crushing loss, piling up well over 400 yards of balanced offense on a Cal D that shut down Oregon last week.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It’s getting harder to argue with what Stanford is doing on Saturdays, but the schedule is still a little light on red-letter wins. USC and Arizona are impressive, but it’s not as if either team has been a juggernaut in 2010.
7. TCU 11-0
Last Week: Did Not Play
Next Up: at New Mexico
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Horned Frogs have navigated all of their landmines to remain one of the four unbeaten teams with one regular season game left. The nation’s top-ranked defense makes most of the headlines, but the offense puts up more than 40 points a game and operates with ideal balance.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Was the shroud of invincibility lifted from the TCU defense two weeks ago? In the program’s last game, San Diego State scored four offensive touchdowns and darn near delivered a monumental upset in Fort Worth before falling 40-35.
8. LSU 10-1
Last Week: W, Ole Miss 43-36
Next Up: at Arkansas
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers endured every blow from Ole Miss, yet still wound up on their feet. In a show of tremendous resiliency, they battled back from a second half deficit on three separate occasions, pulling the game out with under a minute left.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Jordan Jefferson and the offense displayed some rare life, but can it last? LSU has had major issues moving the ball, converting on third down, and scoring in the red zone throughout the season. This is the most inconsistent great team college football has seen in a long time.
9. Alabama 9-2
Last Week: W, Georgia State 63-7
Next Up: Auburn
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Even with the two losses, there’s no denying that the Crimson Tide has one of the nation’s best defenses, allowing only 13 points a game. The quartet of QB Greg McElroy, WR Julio Jones, and backs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, has as much potential as any in America.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: As stingy as the defense can be, it’s shown cracks in the two losses to South Carolina and LSU. If Alabama can’t plug those before Auburn gets to T-Town, it’s going to be a disappointing Iron Bowl for the home team. Oh by the way, running game? You’ve been good, but there’s too much talent in the backfield to be merely above-average.
10. Arkansas 9-2
Last Week: W, Mississippi State 38-31
Next Up: LSU
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: With Ryan Mallett at quarterback and Knile Davis developing into a star out of the backfield, it’ll be tough for anyone to stop the Hog offense down the stretch. Arkansas has won five straight, losing only to Auburn and Alabama, and might secure an at-large BCS bowl bid with a win over LSU this week.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense remains a concern in Fayetteville, particularly when the other team commits to the run. The Razorbacks were pushed to overtime in Starkville largely because they couldn’t stop RB Vick Ballard and QB Chris Relf.
11. Texas A&M 8-3
Last Week: W, Nebraska 9-6
Next Up: at Texas
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Aggies are one of the hottest teams in America, beating ranked opponents for three straight weekends. With the offense struggling on Saturday night, the defense stepped in and held Nebraska to just a pair of field goals.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Can A&M sustain that level of play on defense or was it just fortunate that QB Taylor Martinez had a bum ankle? In three of the prior seven games, it allowed at least 30 points and was vulnerable through the air.
12. Nebraska 9-2
Last Week: L, Texas A&M 9-6
Next Up: Colorado
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Not only did the Huskers lose at the red-hot Aggies, but they did so without QB Taylor Martinez even near 100%. The stingy Blackshirt defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown over the last two games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Martinez is uber-valuable, but what does it say about the offense that it completely seizes up when No. 3 isn’t at full strength? It’s a bad sign when one player maintains so much significance in a team sport.
13. Oklahoma State 10-1
Last Week: W, Kansas 48-14
Next Up: Oklahoma
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: There appears to be no stopping a Cowboy offense that’s putting up more than 45 points a game and gets contributions from the running and passing game. Their only loss was to a ranked Nebraska team.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Can the defense handle a big-time attack that operates with balance? It failed miserably when the Huskers visited a month ago, a concern with Oklahoma about to descend upon Stillwater.
14. Missouri 9-2
Last Week: W, Iowa State 14-0
Next Up: Kansas
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: For the first time in weeks, the Mizzou defense stepped up on a night when the offense just didn’t have it. It’s the sign of a winning program, when it survives even when the staples, like QB Blaine Gabbert, don’t deliver.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Have the Tigers impressed anyone since knocking off Oklahoma one month ago? They’ve gone 2-2 since that point, and weren’t even sharp in the pair of victories. Mizzou will be 10-2 after facing Kansas, but it’s a soft 10-2.
15. Oklahoma 9-2
Last Week: W, Baylor 53-24
Next Up: at Oklahoma State
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Is there any doubting whether or not the Sooners have shaken off their loss to Texas A&M two weeks ago? The offense has caught fire in back-to-back wins over Texas Tech and Baylor, rolling by a combined score of 98-31.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oklahoma’s lack of consistency means you never know when the next flop is coming. The defense, in particular, is up-and-down, which ought to mean extra time in the film room before heading to Stillwater this week.
16. Virginia Tech 9-2
Last Week: W, Miami 31-17
Next Up: Virginia
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Hokies’ put an exclamation point on their nine-game winning streak by zipping past the ‘Canes in Miami with a strong second half. The return to form of RB Ryan Williams to an already deep backfield makes Tech doubly dangerous on offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Tech continues to have issues with stopping the run, getting gashed for 163 yards on only 15 carries by Miami’s Lamar Miller. The front seven is prone to getting pushed around up front by more physical opponents.
17. South Carolina 8-3
Last Week: W, Troy 69-24
Next Up: at Clemson
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: With nothing to gain the week after winning the SEC East, the Gamecocks showed no let up, scoring 69 points against a frisky Troy team. RB Marcus Lattimore and QB Stephen Garcia are playing with the kind of confidence that’s impacting the entire offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Three losses are three losses. As good as South Carolina has looked lately, this is still an inconsistent team that lost to Kentucky in October and got smoked at home by Arkansas earlier in the month.
18. Mississippi State 7-4
Last Week: L, Arkansas 38-31
Next Up: at Ole Miss
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs play the game with a brutish, physical mindset, both in the running game and on defense. They went toe-to-toe with Arkansas on Saturday, getting huge games from QB Chris Relf and RB Vick Ballard, before falling in double overtime.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Quality wins, anyone? Mississippi State’s signature wins came over Georgia and Florida, who are both down this year. The Bulldogs have now dropped two straight and sit in fifth place in the SEC West.
19. Arizona 7-3
Last Week: Did Not Play
Next Up: at Oregon
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Now that QB Nick Foles and WR Juron Criner are getting healthier, the Wildcats can start showing why they’re the Pac-10’s top passing team. The no-name D is underrated, giving up only 18 points a game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It’s been a long time since Arizona won a meaningful game, beating Iowa back on Sept. 18. Back-to-back losses to Stanford and USC have bumped the program to also-ran status in the conference race.
20. Iowa 7-4
Last Week: L, Ohio State 20-17
Next Up: at Minnesota
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Hawkeye defense ranks among the nation’s best, allowing just over 15 points a game. It’s especially difficult running the ball on Adrian Clayborn and the rugged Iowa front four.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offense has sputtered badly over the last three games, two of which the Hawkeyes lost. Now 2-3 in the second half of the year, Iowa has been the Big Ten’s biggest letdown of 2010.
21. Michigan State 10-1
Last Week: W, Purdue 35-31
Next Up: at Penn State
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Spartans kept their Rose Bowl hopes alive with a stirring fourth quarter comeback, scoring three times in the final 11 minutes to defeat the Boilermakers. QB Kirk Cousins is at his best when the game is on the line and his team is down.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Should Michigan State need to rally to beat a 4-7 Purdue team at home on Senior Day? The defense looked shoddy for the first three quarters on Saturday, allowing three offensive scores.
22. Florida State 8-3
Last Week: W, Maryland 30-16
Next Up: Florida
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In a crucial game in the ACC Atlantic, the Seminoles went on the road and handled Maryland. The defense allowed a touchdown early in the second quarter, but kept the Terps out of the end zone over the game’s final 44 minutes. The two ACC losses were by a whisker.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Florida State has more losses than quality wins, which will stunt its growth. What’s happened to the offense, repeatedly stumbling on third downs and laboring to keep drives alive?
23. Maryland 7-4
Last Week: L, Florida State 30-16
Next Up: NC State
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Terrapin defense continues to play well behind the range and tenacity of the linebackers. Danny O’Brien made some mistakes on Saturday night, but is clearly the future at quarterback for Ralph Friedgen.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: In Maryland’s three toughest games versus Clemson, Miami, and Florida State, it lost all of them. It’s difficult to rank a 7-4 teams whose best win came against 6-5 Boston College.
24. USC 7-4
Last Week: L, Oregon State 36-7
Next Up: Notre Dame
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Even with Matt Barkley injured, the Trojans have enough firepower on offense to run with anyone. If Mitch Mustain gets the ball, he’ll be surrounded by a slew of quality backs and playmaking receivers Ronald Johnson and Robert Woods.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: USC didn’t just lose in Corvallis. It got thoroughly embarrassed on both sides of the ball. The Trojans are now 3-4 over their last seven games, which included a home loss to Washington.
25. Nevada 10-1
Last Week: W, New Mexico State 52-6
Next Up: Boise State
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In Reno, it’s all about the offense, which ranks among the nation’s most prolific in scoring and rushing. QB Colin Kaepernick and RB Vai Taua will both be 1,000-yard rushers this season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Although you couldn’t tell against a team like New Mexico State, the Pack defense is going to be vulnerable, especially against opponents that throw with success. That’s a particular problem with Kellen Moore and Boise State visiting this week.
- CFN 2010
Week 12 Rankings, No. 26-120