CFN 2011 Rankings
Oct. 23, Week 8
- 2011 AP Rankings
Scoreboard & Game Recap
2011 Preseason Rankings
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- CFN 2011
Week 7 Rankings, No. 26-120
1. LSU 8-0
Last Week: W, Auburn 45-10
Why LSU Should Be No. 1: The Tigers have achieved both style and substance this fall, winning all eight of their games by double-digits. The last three meetings were against Florida, Tennessee and Auburn, a three-game stretch that would have been labeled a backbreaker in the past. This LSU squad, however, cleared those hurdles by an average score 41-9.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: From their play on the field to their competition, the Tigers have been above criticism in 2011. However, LSU’s next game, two weeks from now in Tuscaloosa, will force the offense to be more multi-dimensional than it’s been this fall. Can quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson elevate their play against a defense as nasty as Alabama’s?
2. Alabama 8-0
Last Week: W, Tennessee 37-6
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Crimson Tide sleepwalked through the entire first half, yet still beat one of its fiercest rivals by 31 points. The defense was on point as usual, holding the overmatched Volunteers to a pair of field goals and just five first downs. Bama hasn’t allowed more than one offensive touchdown in a game in over a month.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Slow starts continue to plague the Tide, which has been knotted at the start of the second quarter in four of the last five games. That’s not such a problem against the likes of Tennessee, but Alabama will be aiming for a faster start in its next game with top-ranked LSU. The O line isn’t playing as well as the LSU D line.
3. Stanford 7-0
Last Week: W, Washington 65-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: How was that for a statement win? Facing a ranked opponent for the first time in 2011, the Cardinal obliterated Washington behind a school-record 446 yards on the ground. Stanford won with Andrew Luck being merely above-average; this was a complete win. Now 7-0 for the first time in 60 years, Stanford has yet to win a game this fall by less than 27 points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Cardinal experienced a couple of breakdowns on defense, allowing Huskies back Chris Polk to rush for 144 yards and two scores on only 15 carries. Stanford’s schedule, while better today than it was a week ago, remains light when compared to the national title contenders north of it.
4. Oregon 6-1
Last Week: W, Colorado 45-2
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Ducks continued to build a head of steam with their sixth consecutive victory since losing to the nation’s current top-ranked team, LSU. Theoretically, this could be the No. 2 team if LSU is really No. 1. The offense remained on a roll with reserves starting in the backfield, and the D pitched an impressive shutout in Boulder.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While the winning streak is impressive, the list of victims really isn’t. Besides Arizona State, none of the six teams that Oregon has handled will have a prayer of finishing the season in the Top 25.
5. Oklahoma State 7-0
Last Week: W, Missouri 45-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cowboys avoided a potential bear trap game in Columbia, racing past Mizzou comfortably. Oklahoma State has now won back-to-back prickly conference road games by double-digits, and won’t play a ranked team outside of Stillwater over the final five games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While the Cowboys defense is opportunistic, it’s not always stout at the point of contact. Oklahoma State gives up too many yards between the tackles, which could bloom into a major issue as the regular season enters its final stages.
6. Clemson 8-0
Last Week: W, North Carolina 59-38
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After scoring at least 56 points in each of the last two games, the Tigers offense needs to be in the discussion regarding the most explosive units in the country. The passing attack is downright unstoppable, getting five touchdowns from five different receivers.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Both defense and special teams are still areas of concern, and while the wins have been great and the team is looking strong, there’s still a wee bit of a prove-it factor for the young team. The D is giving up a lot of yards and big plays, and the special teams unit allowed North Carolina’s T.J. Thorpe to take a kickoff back 100 yards on Saturday.
7. Arkansas 6-1
Last Week: W, Ole Miss 29-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: No, the Razorbacks weren’t crisp in their return from a bye, but they did overcome a 17-0 deficit to win an SEC game on the road. Arkansas also defeated Texas A&M and Auburn earlier in the year, statement responses to its only loss versus Alabama on Sept. 24.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Arkansas continues to have issues on defense, especially against the run. Despite facing one of the feeblest offenses in the league, the Razorbacks still gave up 24 first downs and 370 total yards to Ole Miss.
8. Texas A&M 5-2
Last Game: W, Iowa State 33-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After a slow start, the Aggies scored 27 unanswered points to pull away from the Cyclones in Ames. Few offenses are more balanced than the one from College Station, which can move the chains with the passing of Ryan Tannehill or the power running of Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Texas A&M has been stigmatized by its back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and Arkansas, in which big third-quarter leads were squandered. While the offense is first-rate, the defense isn’t quite championship-caliber, particularly against the pass.
9. Kansas State 7-0
Week: W, Kansas 59-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats suffered no letdown on the road in the Sunflower Showdown with the rival Jayhawks. Off to its best start since 1999, Kansas State is cruising on offense behind the run-pass ability of QB Collin Klein. Last week’s win in Lubbock is huge now that Texas Tech has snapped Oklahoma’s 39-game home winning streak.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: At some point soon, like with the upcoming stretch against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas, the Wildcats will need to become more diverse on offense. While the running game has been terrific, the passing attack has largely been an afterthought in Manhattan.
10. Texas Tech 5-2
Last Week: W, Oklahoma 41-38
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Red Raiders justified their spot deep in the Top 25 by authoring one of the biggest upsets of 2011, and ending the Sooners’ National Championship hopes. QB Seth Doege and the rest of the attack were prolific in Norman, amassing almost 600 yards of total offense. Tech’s only two losses were to Texas A&M and Kansas State, a pair of Big 12 teams ranked even higher in the top 10.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Texas Tech defense continues to be a colossal liability, yielding at least 34 points for a fifth straight week. The Red Raiders can’t stop anyone, especially on the ground, which is a particularly big problem for a member of the high-scoring Big 12.
11. Oklahoma 6-1
Last Game: L, Texas Tech 41-38
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners can score with just about anyone in the country, piling up more than 500 yards of total offense for the fifth time this season. Double-digits wins over Florida State and Texas will look even better as the season unfolds.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Red Raiders at home? Really? Oklahoma had no business squandering its national title hopes to a team that struggled with Nevada and Kansas earlier in the year, and was coming off back-to-back losses to Texas A&M and Kansas State. The Sooners defense just didn’t show up, getting burned all night by Tech QB Seth Doege.
12. USC 6-1
Last Week: W, Notre Dame 31-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans have roared back from their Sept. 24 loss in Tempe with consecutive wins over Arizona, Cal and Notre Dame. Saturday night’s victory in South Bend stamped Troy as a legitimate ranked team. The defense has played well in consecutive games, creating three Irish turnovers, and holding them to just 267 total yards.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Can USC maintain the defensive intensity, especially in upcoming games with Stanford, Washington and Oregon? It wasn’t that long ago that the Trojans were allowing 84 points in consecutive games with Arizona and Arizona State, struggling to protect the airways.
13. Virginia Tech 7-1
Last Week: W, Boston College 30-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: With three consecutive wins over ACC foes, the Hokies have regrouped well from their lone loss of the year to unbeaten Clemson. QB Logan Thomas continues to provide a steady compliment to the running of David Wilson, accounting for at least two scores in each game of the winning streak.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Since it’s yet to beat a ranked team, it’ll be tough to elevate Virginia Tech much higher than it is at this time. Not only did the Hokies lose in their one marquee game of 2011, but they weren’t even competitive in a 23-3 loss to the Tigers back on Oct. 1.
14. Notre Dame 4-3
Week: L, USC 31-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Since losing to South Florida in the opener, the Irish have fashioned a solid turnaround. A four-game winning streak was kick-started by a win over new Big Ten favorite Michigan State, and the two other losses came against currently ranked one-loss teams, Michigan and USC. The ranking is this high because of the thumping of a great-looking Michigan State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Three losses are still three losses. Yeah, the win over the Spartans is selling well these days, but the opening day loss to USF keeps getting worse. The Bulls have dropped three straight Big East games to make their Top 25 ranking at the end of September seem preposterous.
15. Michigan State 6-1
Week: W, Wisconsin 37-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Since losing to Notre Dame on Sept. 17, the Spartans have won four straight, claiming Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin as their last three victims. When the nationally-ranked defense struggled against the Badgers Saturday night, the offense stepped up to score well above its season average.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Michigan State won on a miracle heave from Kirk Cousins to Keith Nichol, but the game did expose a few flaws on both sides of the ball. The Spartans had trouble establishing the line of scrimmage on offense, and were unusually generous on the defensive side of the ball. Put it this way; if it’s MSU vs. Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship in a rematch on a neutral field, the line would probably Badgers -5.
16. Wisconsin 6-1
Last Week: L, Michigan State 37-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: As far as sole losses on the year go, few are “better” than Wisconsin’s. The Badgers fell Saturday night on the road at sizzling Michigan State on a Hail Mary at the end of regulation that was initially ruled not a touchdown. The team rallied from two touchdowns back in the final minutes before getting its heart broken. The ranking will fly back up if UW can be impressive against Ohio State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: No matter the circumstances, the Badgers still came up short in their toughest test of the season. The defense didn’t make stops when they were necessary, allowing 290 yards passing and three touchdowns to QB Kirk Cousins.
17. Boise State 7-0
Last Game: W, Air Force 37-26
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Here’s the theory for the mega-drop. Air Force got drilled by Notre Dame, and since that’s the one big game since Georgia for Boise State, and it was a struggle, it was time for a fall. However, the ranking could fly back up again in a big hurry if and when the Broncos roll over the next few weeks. Even on a day when the offense wasn’t quite as prolific as normal, the Broncos still managed to score 37 points for a seventh straight victory. As long as Kellen Moore has eligibility, Boise State will be a threat to just about anyone in the country; the senior has now thrown 24 touchdown passes and just five interceptions.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: No one among the top 10 teams in the country has played a softer schedule than Boise State. In fact, the Broncos haven’t even played an opponent from a BCS conference since the opener with Georgia.
18. Michigan 6-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wolverines have dropped just one game all season, in East Lansing versus a terrific Michigan State squad. The defense, a major worry before the campaign began, ranks No. 10 in the country at just 15 points allowed per game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Michigan was whipped worse than the 28-14 final score by the Spartans two weeks ago, yielding seven sacks and more than 200 yards rushing. The Denard Robinson-led passing game has produced just six touchdown passes and six picks over the last four games.
19. Arizona State 5-2
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Arizona State’s only two losses of the season have come on the road at then-ranked opponents, Illinois and Oregon. The 43-22 rout of USC on Sept. 24 has become increasingly more impressive as the Trojans have rolled into the rankings.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: That Illinois loss is the only thing keeping them down. When last seen in Eugene, the Sun Devils looked like anything but a legit ranked team. They faded against a hobbled Ducks squad, squandering a second-half lead. The D has had problems with versatile quarterbacks, like Mizzou’s James Franklin and the ones it saw at Autzen Stadium.
20. Auburn 5-3
Last Week: L, LSU 45-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers haven’t suffered a loss to a bad team all year, falling on the road to three of the nation’s top seven teams, Clemson, Arkansas and LSU. Having already beaten South Carolina and Florida, Auburn would probably win the SEC East if it was able to change divisions this season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Auburn hasn’t just lost to three of the nation’s better teams—it has been battered by an average score of 40-16. The offense is a wreck, producing two touchdown passes and eight interceptions over the past four games.
21. South Carolina 6-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gamecocks defeated Georgia in Athens, a win that looks better with time, and suffered their only loss against Auburn. The rock solid D remains the cornerstone of the program, giving up an average of just 11 points a game since the Week 2 date with the Bulldogs.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offense is suffering through a power outage, a reality complicated by the season-ending injury to star RB Marcus Lattimore. Now that Stephen Garcia is a former Gamecock, South Carolina no longer has a Plan B for erratic QB Connor Shaw.
22. Georgia 5-2
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Since starting the season with two losses, the Bulldogs have won five straight games to steady the ship. Head coach Mark Richt is getting great effort from the defense, especially a secondary that’s given up just three touchdown passes in the last six games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: All five-game winning streaks are not created equal. The Dawgs haven’t faced any true heavyweights during the run, and lost its only two games against ranked opponents, Boise State and South Carolina. The win over Vandy before the break was too close for comfort for a school hoping to rise up in the rankings.
Last Week: W, Georgia Tech 24-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Hurricanes have quietly played rather well since losing on Labor Day night to Maryland. They’ve won back-to-back games over Georgia Tech and North Carolina, and their most recent losses to Virginia Tech and Kansas State came versus opponents ranked no lower than No. 13 in the country.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: All four of Miami’s wins come with an asterisk. Bethune-Cookman operates out of the FCS, and Ohio State, North Carolina and Georgia Tech have all regressed as the season has developed. The Yellow Jackets are the closest thing to a quality win, and they’ve been recently exposed as overrated.
24. Penn State 7-1
Last Week: W, Northwestern 34-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Nittany Lions’ only loss came six weeks ago against Alabama, the nation’s second-ranked team. While Penn State gave up a few more points and yards than usual, the stingy D still sacked Northwestern quarterbacks seven times, and kept the Wildcats out of the end zone over the game’s final 24 minutes.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: No one is going to put both feet in the Penn State bandwagon until it beats a ranked team, of which there are few opportunities remaining. The Nits are home to one of the Big Ten’s worst offenses, a key reason why they were nearly picked off earlier in the year by Temple, Indiana, Iowa and Purdue.
25. Texas 4-2
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Longhorns’ only two losses of the season came against the Big 12’s pair of Oklahoma schools, which are 13-1 combined. Having used a mess of young players, especially on offense, Texas could be ready to go on a roll as it comes out of its bye week.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The ‘Horns failed to impress in their two games with the Sooners and Cowboys, losing by an aggregate score of 93-43. Where’s the quality win? The closest thing would be 6-2 BYU, an average squad Texas almost fell to in Austin.
- CFN 2011
Week 8 Rankings, No. 26-120