CFN 2011 Rankings
Nov. 27, Week 13
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- CFN 2011
Week 13 Rankings, No. 26-120
1. LSU 12-0
Last Week: W, Arkansas 41-17
Why LSU Should Be No. 1: How dominant have the Tigers been during the regular season? They could forfeit next week’s SEC Championship Game with Georgia, yet still punch a ticket to the BCS National Championship Game. After falling behind early, LSU stormed past No. 3 Arkansas on Friday, beating a ranked opponent for the seventh time this season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Let’s face it, there isn’t one. If LSU isn’t a unanimous choice to be ranked No. 1, the dissenting voters need to be fitted for a thicker helmet. If there’s a knock on the Tigers, it’s the passing game, which won’t strike quickly in the event that it’s ever required.
2. Alabama 11-1
Last Week: W, Auburn 42-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: With a spot in the National Championship Game likely hanging on the outcome, the Crimson Tide easily handled its archrival on the road. The team may have allowed two touchdowns, but the nation’s top D pitched a shutout. No one has come closer to beating top-ranked LSU than Alabama, which lost by three points in overtime.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: In its biggest game of the year, the Alabama offense disappeared in the loss to the Tigers … in Tuscaloosa. The Tide scored just six points, bowing to inconsistent play on special teams. Does that kind of performance deserve a rematch in New Orleans for the national championship?
3. USC 10-2
Last Week: W, UCLA 50-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans operated in November as if there was a spot in the BCS National Championship Game at stake. One of the nation’s hottest teams finished the year with seven wins in eight games, losing only to 11-1 Stanford in triple-overtime. The offense has been brilliant and the D improved, fueling last week’s upset in Eugene that knocked Oregon out of the national title chase.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The only knock on sizzling Troy occurred more than two months ago. The lone true stain on the 2011 resume was a 43-22 loss to Arizona State, a 6-6 team that ended up being an unmitigated fraud.
4. Oregon 10-2
Last Week: W, Oregon State 49-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Ducks had their way with rival Oregon State, capturing the North Division crown, and a likely spot in the Rose Bowl to play either Michigan State or Wisconsin. Oregon’s two losses have come against two of the nation’s top programs, LSU and USC.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oregon was a legitimate national title contender until it lost to the Trojans at home a week ago, 38-35. The defense has been sporadic in recent weeks, yielding an average of 30 points over the last three games.
5. Wisconsin 10-2
Last Week: W, Penn State 45-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The eighth-ranked Nittany Lions defense that Wisconsin whipped for six touchdowns and more than 400 total yards began the weekend yielding just 13 points a game. The Badgers’ only two losses of the season came on the road on last-minute heaves from Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Championship teams find a way to close out opponents, which the Badgers were unable to do in East Lansing and Columbus. The Ohio State loss is particularly troubling since the Buckeyes have gone on to lose their last three games to finish 6-6.
6. Oklahoma State 10-1
Last Week: Did Not Play
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Not only are the Cowboys in the small handful of remaining one-loss schools, but they’ve got some notable wins on the resume. Spearheaded by one of the nation’s top offenses, Oklahoma State has beaten Texas A&M, Texas and Kansas State, and blown out Baylor, Mizzou and Tulsa.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: There are losses, and then there are the kinds of defeats that derail a championship run. The Pokes suffered the latter before going on hiatus, falling to an average Iowa State squad that’s been waxed this fall Texas, Baylor, Missouri, Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
7. Oklahoma 9-2
Last Game: W, Iowa State 26-6
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: A week after Big 12 favorite Oklahoma State fell to Iowa State, the Sooners beat the Cyclones by 20 points. Oklahoma has nabbed some impressive wins as it enters the final weekend of the regular season, winning at Florida State and Kansas State, and routing Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: There’s just a lack of consistency that’s followed this program throughout 2011. In the deflating losses to Texas Tech and Baylor, the defense didn’t deliver, and this past weekend, QB Landry Jones played as if he really missed injured teammates Ryan Broyles and Dominique Whaley.
8. Arkansas 10-2
Last Week: L, LSU 41-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Hogs’ only two losses have come against LSU and Alabama, which is hardly a reason to hang one’s head. When not playing two of the country’s premier programs, Arkansas rolled through the schedule behind the Tyler Wilson-led passing game, and a stingy pass defense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Do you get bonus points for simply showing up? The Razorbacks didn’t just lose to LSU and Alabama, they were outclassed by a combined, not-ready-for-the-bigs score of 79-31. The schedule isn’t exactly littered with momentous wins, especially since Texas A&M and Auburn would up being overrated since Arkansas handled both in October.
9. Stanford 11-1
Last Week: W, Notre Dame 28-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The one-loss Cardinal has held up well as the schedule has stiffened in the second half, losing only to Oregon two weeks ago. The triple-overtime defeat of USC, one of the game’s hottest teams, is a gem that really stands out on the brag sheet.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Not only did Stanford lose to the Ducks on Nov. 12, but it did so at home … by 23 points. The Cardinal was really outclassed in that prove-it game, struggling with the speed and explosiveness of a first-rate opponent.
10. Georgia 10-2
Last Week: W, Georgia Tech 31-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs made it an even ten straight wins by easily defeating the rival Yellow Jackets in Athens. The defense continues to be terrific, and QB Aaron Murray has quietly been one of this year’s top passers in America.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Hey, ten straight victories for an SEC member is always a big deal, but the Bulldogs disposed of plenty of lightweights to get to this point. They’re upward mobility is being stunted by the fact that they haven’t faced LSU, Alabama or Arkansas, the league’s other three best programs. If Georgia wants to ascend higher, it’ll need to beat the Tigers in Atlanta next week.
11. Kansas State 9-2
Last Week: Did Not Play
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The upstart Wildcats have fearlessly navigated a very tough fall slate, winning four of five road games, including in Miami, Lubbock and Austin. The program’s only two losses have come against a pair of top 10 opponents, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Kansas State’s stingy effort versus Texas prior to the break may have been an anomaly, considering it yielded at least 50 points in the three previous outings. Yeah, there’s no shame in losing to the Sooners or the Cowboys, but the former was a 41-point blowout, while the latter still ended in a deflating defeat.
12. Michigan State 10-2
Last Week: W, Northwestern 31-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Since losing to Nebraska on Oct. 29, the Spartans have authored a perfect November to capture the Big Ten’s Legends Division. Those back-to-back defeats of Michigan and Wisconsin, a pair of 10-win programs, look more and more impressive as the season has unfolded.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Spartans didn’t just fall to Notre Dame and Nebraska outside of East Lansing; they were outclassed in both games. The offense failed to show up in either one-sided affair, producing just a single touchdown and a grand total of 16 points. Plus, the Huskers loss has gotten worse since they lost to Northwestern, and were housed by Michigan in November.
13. Michigan 10-2
Last Week: W, Ohio State 40-34
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wolverines capped their first 10-win season with an exclamation point, a first win over the Buckeyes since 2003. Michigan has handled Ohio State and Nebraska the last two weekends, while only losing to Iowa and Legends Division champ Michigan State this year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Michigan only had to leave Ann Arbor four times this season, losing twice, in East Lansing and Iowa City. The resurgent defense had its worst game of the year on Saturday afternoon, struggling to contain Ohio State QB Braxton Miller.
14. Virginia Tech 11-1
Last Week: W, Virginia 38-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: More than just one of the last remaining one-loss teams, the Hokies are one of the hottest programs in the country. Since losing to Clemson almost two months ago, Virginia Tech has won seven straight games, capped by a Coastal Division-clinching rout in Charlottesville.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: In its most crucial game of the year, Virginia Tech failed the test in the 23-3 loss to the Tigers. Where is the signature victory that stamps the Hokies as a legit top 5 squad? The ACC is lacking in Goliaths, and Tech’s non-conference slate included games with Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State and Marshall.
15. South Carolina 10-2
Last Week: W, Clemson 34-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: South Carolina has persevered through some tough losses to post a rare 10-win season in Columbia. Buoyed by another big effort from the defense, the Gamecocks suffocated Clemson for a third straight Palmetto State triumph. They won’t be playing in the SEC title game, but they did beat East Division champ Georgia in Week 2.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: With no LSU or Alabama on the slate this year, the Gamecocks sort of got off easy. They defeated the Bulldogs early on, and the Tigers Saturday night, but the victims in between weren’t particularly salty. Plus, South Carolina got touched up by Arkansas, and lost to an Auburn team that’s marginal at best.
16. Nebraska 9-3
Last Week: W, Iowa 20-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers bounced back from their debacle in Ann Arbor to outclass the Hawkeyes, and keep hopes of a 10-win season alive. In its maiden voyage in the Big Ten, Nebraska captured three notable wins since Oct. 8 over Ohio State, Penn State and Legends Division champ Michigan State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: All three of the Huskers’ losses this fall have been unsightly. They fell to Wisconsin by 31 points, Michigan by four touchdowns, and inexcusably dropped a home game to a Northwestern team that had lost QB Dan Persa to an injury.
17. Clemson 9-3
Last Week: L, South Carolina 34-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: You know the Virginia Tech team that everyone assumes will win next week’s ACC Championship Game? Yeah, well the Tigers had their way with them during the regular season … in Blacksburg, 23-3. Clemson also owns victories over Auburn and Florida State when both were still ranked.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: One week of ineptitude is an incident. One month of malaise is a very bad trend. It’s been a long time since Clemson delivered a complete game, losing three of four, and all by double-digits. The Tigers are fading fast, stumbling on defense, and unable to recapture their first-half potency on offense.
18. Notre Dame 8-4
Last Week: L, Stanford 28-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Irish have fallen this year to three of the country’s top dozen or so teams, Michigan, USC and Stanford. They also laid it on 10-2 Michigan State, one of the two programs playing in this week’s inaugural Big Ten Championship Game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Notre Dame has largely gotten to 8-4 on the backs of some very mediocre competition. Yeah, there’s the win over the Spartans, but what else? Take your pick on whether the next best triumph came over Air Force, Purdue or Pittsburgh. The Irish needed to win one of their show-me games with the Trojans or the Cardinal in the second half of the year.
19. Houston 12-0
Last Game: W, Tulsa 48-16
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cougars dominated what was arguably their toughest game of the season, routing the Golden Hurricane in Tulsa. The 32-point victory, Houston’s seventh straight by at least four touchdowns, was larger than Oklahoma State’s and Boise State’s over Tulsa earlier in the year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, it’s getting old, but who have the Cougars beaten? No one on their list of victims is ranked, or is about to be ranked anytime soon. The closest thing to a marquee opponent was UCLA, a middling program that’s flirted with the .500 mark all season. Houston is Hawaii circa 2007 unless it can prove otherwise in the bowl game.
20. Boise State 10-1
Last Game: W, Wyoming 36-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After a slow start, the Broncos disposed of an underrated Cowboys team last weekend. Boise State’s only loss of the year was by one point, and they own a two-touchdown win over red-hot Georgia, one of the two schools left with a shot at being the 2011 SEC champion.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: If a Mountain West member wishes to be ranked deeper within the Top 25, it better be prepared to run the table. The Broncos haven’t, losing at home to TCU two weeks ago. Boise State needs to keep pointing to that opening day win over the Dawgs because it’s the only bona fide quality one on an otherwise soft schedule.
21. Baylor 8-3
Last Game: W, Texas Tech 66-42
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bears are one of the nation’s hotter teams, winning four straight, including the rousing upset of Oklahoma a week ago. The offense is a juggernaut for head coach Art Briles, even scoring four touchdowns … after Robert Griffin III left Saturday’s game just prior to halftime.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Baylor defense is hardly Top 25-caliber, ranking 114th in the country. That leaky and inconsistent unit cost the Bears dearly in October in lopsided losses at the hands of Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
22. TCU 9-2
Last Game: Did Not Play
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Horned Frogs have regrouped spectacularly this fall, winning their last six games to cop the Mountain West championship. The crown seem destined to be worn by Boise State this year until TCU made other plans with a Nov. 12 stunner that ended the Broncos’ 35-game home winning streak.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: TCU’s upward mobility is being limited by a couple of factors. First, it’s played a soft schedule that included non-conference games with Portland State, Louisiana-Monroe and SMU. Second, it bowed to the Mustangs on Oct. 1, 40-33, a damning loss considering how far its opponent slipped in the Conference USA West pecking order.
23. Texas 7-4
Last Game: W, Texas A&M 27-25
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Longhorns went into hostile territory on Thanksgiving night, and beat a determined Aggies team with a clutch drive in the waning moments. This youthful team still has a shot to win eight games in a rugged conference if it can survive Waco a week from now.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Texas has failed all of its stiffest tests in 2011, leaving it very light on quality wins. The ‘Horns were hammered by 38 points by Oklahoma, and dropped an ugly, 17-5 affair with 7-5 Missouri earlier in November.
24. Penn State 9-3
Last Week: L, Wisconsin 45-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: While Saturday certainly was a letdown, the Nittany Lions showcased one of the nation’s toughest and stingiest defenses throughout the season. The team’s three losses all came against quality ranked opponents, Alabama, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Penn State didn’t just lose in Madison, it got exposed as a bit of a fraud. The Lions’ best win of the season came over a struggling Ohio State squad that finished the regular season at 6-6.
25. Missouri 7-5
Last Game: W, Kansas 24-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers spotted rival Kansas a 10-0 lead before scoring the game’s final 24 points. Mizzou finished the regular season with three consecutive wins, and have knocked off Iowa State, Texas A&M, Texas and Texas Tech as part of a very thorny schedule.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Neutral sites aside, Missouri has dropped four of five games outside of Columbia. While improved, the defense remains a liability, and the Week 2 loss to Arizona State looks much worse today than it did back in September.
- CFN 2011
Week 13 Rankings, No. 26-120