CFN 2011 Rankings
Nov. 6, Week 10
- 2011 AP Rankings
Scoreboard & Game Recap
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- CFN 2011
Week 10 Rankings, No. 26-120
1. LSU 9-0
Last Week: W, Alabama 9-6 OT
Why LSU Should Be No. 1: Not only did the Tigers survive the most anticipated game of 2011, but they did so on the road in front of an amped up Bryant-Denny Stadium crowd. LSU has now defeated two of the nation’s best teams, the Tide and Oregon, outside of Baton Rouge. The defense has been every bit as ornery as ‘Bama’s, and the special teams unit has been an overlooked cog of the perfect start.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: At some point this season, LSU is capable of getting burned by its offensive inconsistency. Okay, everyone struggles against the ‘Bama D, but the Tigers are still just 102nd nationally in passing, and could be forced to handle a delicate situation at quarterback after backup Jordan Jefferson earned more snaps than Jarrett Lee in Tuscaloosa.
2. Alabama 8-1
Last Week: L, LSU 9-6 OT
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In the game of the year, the top-ranked Crimson Tide defense was up to the challenge, limiting LSU to just 239 total yards, and keeping the Tigers out of the end zone. It’s clearly a championship-caliber D that’s given up more than one touchdown in a game just one time in nine weeks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yup, the defense was predictably spectacular Saturday night, but the same cannot be said for the ‘Bama offense or special teams. The offensive line was never really able to spring the game’s best offensive player, RB Trent Richardson, and the Tide’s placekicking-by-committee missed four crucial field goals.
3. Oklahoma State 9-0
Last Week: W, Kansas State 52-45
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Is there a better offense in America? The Cowboys can score at will, which helps make just about any deficit navigable. After holding off Kansas State in yet another shootout, they’ve now fashioned quality wins at home and on the road, over Texas A&M, Texas and Missouri. No one can doubt that Oklahoma State has been battle-tested in its march to 9-0.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense is a major liability, which should be cause for concern in upcoming games with Oklahoma and even Texas Tech. The Cowboys were trucked for four scores and 375 total yards by Kansas State QB Collin Klein, which could mean more snaps for versatile Sooners QB Blake Bell on Dec. 3.
4. Oklahoma 8-1
Last Game: W, Texas A&M 41-25
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners have rebounded from their lone loss with a vengeance, lighting up Kansas State and Texas A&M for 99 combined points in consecutive routs. Even as starters succumb to injuries, the offense continues to develop new heroes to support linchpin QB Landry Jones. Early wins over Florida State and Texas, in particular, get more impressive as those victims regroup.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It was ugly enough when Oklahoma fell at home to Texas Tech back on Oct. 22. That loss has gotten markedly worse over the past couple of weekends, though, as the Red Raiders have taken it on the chin from Iowa State and Texas by a combined of 93-27.
5. Stanford 9-0
Last Week: W, Oregon State 38-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After a slow start, the Cardinal disposed of Oregon State in a classic trap game on the road. Despite playing a week after the epic USC game, and a week before the huge showdown with Oregon, Stanford still won a game by at least 25 points for the eighth time in nine tries.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Even after slapping 121 combined points on USC and Washington in consecutive weeks, has anyone been impressed by the slate of games the Cardinal has played? Stanford won’t begin to be taken seriously as a true National Championship contender until it plays—and gets past—the Ducks next Saturday.
6. Oregon 8-1
Last Week: W, Washington 34-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Ducks’ only loss of the year came over two months ago versus LSU, the nation’s top-ranked team. Saturday night’s eighth win in-a-row was especially notable because it came in Seattle on a night when the offense was average by its usual standard. The defense stepped up with five sacks and three turnovers, holding Washington to its lowest point total of 2011.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, the Ducks have been a steady force, but it’s not as if the schedule has been treacherous. This past weekend’s game at Husky Stadium was Oregon’s first true challenge outside of Eugene since the streak began. If it handles Stanford and USC over the next two weekends, then you’ll be talking about a possible contender for more than just the Pac-12 title.
7. Arkansas 8-1
Last Week: W, South Carolina 44-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Even in a down year for the SEC, being the next best thing to LSU and Alabama is something to brag about. The Razorbacks have won five straight since their lone loss to the Crimson Tide, handling pretty good opponents from Texas A&M, Auburn and South Carolina along the way.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Okay, so it doesn’t quite rise to the level of, say, Penn State, but those consecutive close calls with Ole Miss and Vanderbilt a few weeks back raise red flags about Arkansas’ consistency. This has not been a good road team, a troubling omen for the Nov. 25 showdown with LSU in Baton Rouge.
8. Clemson 8-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers’ lone loss came against a very dangerous Georgia Tech squad at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Yeah, it was a crushing blow for the program’s national title hopes, but it cannot erase the impressive back-to-back-to-back wins over Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech earlier in the year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While the offense is capable of matching points with just about anyone in the country, the same cannot be said for the defense. Not a championship-caliber unit, Clemson has yielded an average of 38 points over the last three games, and is giving up 193 yards per weekend on the ground.
9. Wisconsin 7-2
Last Week: W, Purdue 62-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Now, that’s more like it. The Badgers reprised their role as a steamroller, pummeling an improved Boilermakers team behind 605 total yards of offense. The team’s only two losses have come on the road, in East Lansing and Columbus, on desperation heaves in the waning moments.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Okay, so there’s no shame in losing to Michigan State and Ohio State, but the Badgers really didn’t play well in either of those losses. The defense, in particular, did not look championship caliber, failing to stop the pass against the Spartans, and the run versus the Buckeyes.
10. Boise State 8-0
Last Game: W, UNLV 48-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Don’t dismiss the importance of being one of the five remaining unbeaten teams as the regular season enters the final turn. The Broncos have avoided some tricky landmines to get to this point, and that opening weekend win over Georgia looks better as the Bulldogs’ winning streak grows longer.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Okay, so maybe Boise State has gotten bored by being the bully for the last two months, but shouldn’t a BCS wannabe be disposing of subpar opponents with a little more ease? In consecutive games, the Broncos have needed strong second halves to shake Air Force and UNLV.
11. Kansas State 7-2
Last Week: L, Oklahoma State 52-45
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Even in losing a second straight game, the Wildcats impressed, pushing No. 3 Oklahoma State to the limit in Stillwater. QB Collin Klein is a force when he leaves the pocket, displaying an uncanny ability to carry his guys versus more talented opponents. Kansas State’s two losses came against teams ranked in the top 5.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Sure, the Wildcats are a plucky bunch, but boy is that defense overmatched against quality offenses. It’s yielded at least 575 total yards in three of the last four games, and has been burned repeatedly through the air since the softest part of the schedule ended.
12. Texas 6-2
Last Week: W, Texas Tech 52-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: No longer playing like an inexperienced team, the Longhorns are surging behind the running of Joe Bergeron, Fozzy Whitaker and Malcolm Brown. Texas’ only two losses have come against the Big 12’s pair of Oklahoma powerhouses, which have combined to go 17-1 so far in 2011.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, the ‘Horns have regrouped, but at the expense of hapless Kansas and overrated Texas Tech. We’ll learn a lot more about the upward potential of Mack Brown’s squad in upcoming games with Missouri, Kansas State, Texas A&M and Baylor. Sweep those four games, and you’ve earned a spot in the top 10.
13. Penn State 8-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Nittany Lions are playing as if it’s 1951 instead of 2011 … and it’s working. Behind the running of Silas Redd and one of the country’s stingiest defenses, Penn State hasn’t fallen since Week 2. And that loss came against a pretty terrific visitor from Alabama.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: An ugly win or two could be a sign of perseverance. Four or five, and you might be talking about a vastly overrated team. The Nits are barely skating by against soft competition thanks largely to a feeble passing attack that’s produced just four touchdown passes versus teams not named Eastern Michigan.
14. Nebraska 7-2
Last Week: L, Northwestern 28-25
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Last week’s 24-3 rout of Michigan State was one of the most impressive Big Ten victories by any member this fall. The wins over Washington and Ohio State earlier in the year look a little better today than they did on Sept. 17 and Oct. 8, respectively.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Northwestern in Lincoln? Really? The Huskers had no business losing this game on Saturday, especially at a time that they’d taken controls of the Legends Division. The Wildcats can be a feisty bunch under head coach Pat Fitzgerald, but it’s also a 3-5 team that had lost starting QB Dan Persa to an injury.
15. Arizona State 6-3
Last Week: L, UCLA 29-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The win over USC on Sept. 24 is something the Sun Devils can point to with pride, especially now that the Trojans are 7-2 and rolling. ASU sports one of the top offenses in America, averaging 35 points a game behind the passing of Brock Osweiler and the running of Cameron Marshall.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: You simply cannot lose to a bad UCLA team in November, when the Pac-12 South hangs in the balance. You know, the same feeble Bruins team that was bounced around on national TV by Arizona just a few weeks earlier, and who’s being led by a coach who’s clinging to his job.
16. USC 7-2
Last Week: W, Colorado 42-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans have been outstanding over the past month, blowing out Cal and Colorado, beating Notre Dame in South Bend by two touchdowns and taking Stanford to triple-overtime. QB Matt Barkley is performing as if he could start for some NFL teams, chucking a school-record six touchdown passes in Boulder Friday night.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense is still a bit of a concern, especially with Washington and Oregon coming up in the next two weeks. Against better competition, Troy yielded five touchdowns in the Arizona State loss and seven in the OT defeat to Stanford. Eligibility aside, this team probably wouldn’t even win the Pac-12 South this season.
17. Notre Dame 6-3
Last Week: W, Wake Forest 24-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Since starting 0-2, the Irish have lost just one game, to a USC team that’s proven to be better than expected. That Sept. 17 handling of Michigan State is indicative of the potential of this team to thrive on both sides of the ball.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Notre Dame has played three tough teams this fall, and lost two of them, which is hardly the ingredients of a team that’s worthy of being higher in the polls. Plus, it also lost to South Florida, which is now 4-4. After the Spartans victory, what’s the program’s other impressive win of 2011? It doesn’t exist, and won’t unless it shocks Stanford on Nov. 26.
18. Michigan State 7-2
Last Week: W, Minnesota 31-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Spartans’ only two losses this season came against a pair of solid opponents, Notre Dame and Nebraska, away from home. This is a team that’s right there in the discussion regarding the Big Ten’s best club along with the Huskers, Wisconsin and Penn State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Over the last three weekends, Michigan State has used a Hail Mary to beat the Badgers, been thoroughly outclassed by Nebraska and required a fourth-quarter rally to slip past 2-7 Minnesota. The Spartans hardly appear to be a team that’s ascending as the season unfolds.
19. Michigan 7-2
Last Week: L, Iowa 24-16
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wolverines’ only two losses this season have come in tough venues, East Lansing and Iowa City. Their defense under Greg Mattison continues to showcase its turnaround from 2010, limiting Iowa to just 302 total yards and 15 first downs during Saturday afternoon’s loss.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Michigan has only played three road games all year, losing two of them to slide back in the Legends Division pecking order. The offense continues to lack consistency, especially through the air, managing just one touchdown in the game’s first 52 minutes.
20. Ohio State 6-3
Last Week: W, Indiana 34-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: As rookie Braxton Miller continues to adapt to his role as the starting quarterback, Ohio State has gained control of the trenches on running downs. The Buckeyes have now rushed for more than 200 yards in four consecutive games, producing three 100-yard rushers on Saturday for the first time since 1989.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Buckeyes allowed the Hoosiers to stay a little too close for comfort this past weekend, only pulling away in the final quarter. The Big Ten’s worst passing game will have a difficult time convincing better defenses not to stack the box in order to stop the run.
21. Virginia Tech 8-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Few schools in America have displayed a better combination of running the ball and stopping the run than the Hokies. Tech has won four consecutive games since its only loss of the year, an Oct. 1 defeat at the hands of the ACC’s top-ranked team, Clemson.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: When last in action prior to the break, the Hokies were struggling to put away Duke, which is always reason for concern. Of the team’s eight wins, not one came against a challenger that’s currently ranked … or was ranked at the time that they played.
22. Auburn 6-3
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers finally got a week off to rest the bumps and bruises that accumulated in September and October. Prior to the break, they built some offensive momentum at the expense of Ole Miss with a rare display of balance. Auburn’s three losses, Clemson, Arkansas and LSU, were all on the road at ranked opponents.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, there was the Oct. 1 upset of South Carolina, but the 2011 trophy case isn’t exactly loaded with quality victims. The Tigers still have glaring concerns on both sides of the ball, and a challenging November schedule that includes a trip to Athens and a visit from ‘Bama.
23. South Carolina 7-2
Last Week: L, Arkansas 44-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gamecocks have persevered through some devastating departures this season, yet have only lost twice, to ranked Auburn and Arkansas. The defense had an unusually rough night in Fayetteville, yet got no help from an offense that turned it over four times.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Obviously, South Carolina has not been the same team since losing RB Marcus Lattimore to an injury and QB Stephen Garcia to a dismissal. The ‘Cocks are basically running on fumes at this point in the season, and no longer in control of their own destiny in the SEC East.
24. Georgia 7-2
Last Week: W, New Mexico State 63-16
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Since beginning the season 0-2, the Bulldogs have not lost a game, battling back to remain in contention in the SEC East. The defense has been tremendous throughout the hot streak, ranking in the top 10 nationally in a slew of various categories.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Dawgs’ two toughest games this season have been against Boise State and South Carolina, both of which were losses. Their best win? Probably a 5-4 Florida squad that just got done snapping its four-game losing skid at the expense of Vanderbilt.
25. Texas A&M 5-4
Last Game: L, Oklahoma 41-25
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In defense of the Aggies, they’ve lost to some very good opponents, including unbeaten Oklahoma State, one-loss Arkansas and one-loss Oklahoma. The offense has been terrific, especially in the first 30 minutes of games, averaging 520 yards and 37 points per game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Okay, so A&M has proven to be a notch or two below some of the nation’s top squads, but who has it beaten? Texas Tech? Baylor? Those alone don’t get you into the Top 25. The Aggies are a fraudulent program, unable to finish after strong starts.
- CFN 2011
Week 10 Rankings, No. 26-120