CFN 2012 Rankings
Sept. 9, Week 2
- 2012 AP Rankings
2012 Coaches' Poll
Scoreboard & Game Recaps
2012 Week 2 Rankings, No. 26-124
1. Alabama 2-0
Last Week: W, Western Kentucky 35-0
Why Alabama Should Be No. 1: The Tide defense picked up where it left off in the opener with Michigan, creating four turnovers, and allowing the Hilltoppers to reach the red zone just one time all game. QB AJ McCarron was sharp as the star of the offense, going 14-of-19 for 219 yards, four touchdowns and no picks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: What happened to the vaunted Alabama offensive line, considered to be among the best in the country? The Tide had problems running the ball on Western Kentucky, picking up just 103 yards, and allowed a hard-to-fathom six sacks on McCarron. Pass protection better be addressed immediately, or else ‘Bama will be hard-pressed to remain top-ranked.
2. LSU 2-0
Last Week: W, Washington 41-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It sure didn’t look like it on Saturday night, but that was a pretty good Huskies offense that LSU held to 183 total yards and just a single field goal. The ground game produces a different hero each week, QB Zach Mettenberger is improving and the D and special teams stand among the best in America.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Tigers have been crisp through the first two weeks, winning by an aggregate of 82-17. But what happens if the offense needs Mettenberger to be more than just a spare part in the attack? Having never done it before, it’ll be interesting to see how he responds if forced to rally his team from a deficit.
3. USC 2-0
Last Week: W, Syracuse 42-29
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Matt Barkley was brutally efficient at MetLife Stadium, strafing the Orange secondary for a school record-tying six touchdown passes. Robert Woods and Marqise Lee combined to catch 21 of the senior’s passes, forming the backbone of a passing attack that might be impossible to stop this season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense had problems with QB Ryan Nassib, a big reason why the Orange were still hanging around in the second half. The senior beat the Trojans secondary for 322 yards, going 30-of-46 for two scores and two picks.
4. Oregon 2-0
Last Week: W, Fresno State 42-25
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Ducks offense was humming again, opening up an insurmountable lead behind 366 rushing yards. The longer QB Marcus Mariota and RB Kenjon Barner have to adjust as the new backfield tandem in Eugene, the harder it’s going to be for opponents to slow down the Quack Attack.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oregon has shown hints of softness on defense during the first two games, albeit after the margin of victory was substantial. The Bulldogs closed to within 16 points in the fourth quarter before Barner put it away for good with a 16-yard touchdown run.
5. Florida State 2-0
Last Week: W, Savannah State 55-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Seminoles have used two tune-ups like NFL exhibition games, sharpening both sides of the ball, and getting extra reps for the backups. The defense allowed just 28 total yards on Saturday, and is poised to fuel an ACC title run with this week’s visit from Wake Forest.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Florida State is a pretty good football team, but how just how good is impossible to determine right now. The ‘Noles have faced no one in the first two weeks, and have already lost All-American DE Brandon Jenkins for the rest of the year.
6. Georgia 2-0
Last Week: W, Missouri 41-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs looked like a national championship contender on Saturday night, going into hostile territory and stealing an impressive win. Georgia rallied from a third quarter deficit to score 32 of the final 35 points with equal help from the offense and the defense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: In order to stay in the hunt for an SEC title—and more—the Dawgs will need to do a better job on offense at the line of scrimmage. The team averaged just 3.2 yards per carry at Mizzou, and QB Aaron Murray was hit more times than the staff would like.
7. West Virginia 1-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Mountaineers looked in the opener like the team many thought they’d be, thrashing Marshall, 69-34. The Geno Smith-led offense is among the most potent in the country, a fast-paced attack that’ll produce a mess of big plays from receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offense better be good, because the D is not going to be Big 12 championship-caliber. Yeah, West Virginia jumped out to a big lead in Week 1, but it was unable to make stops, especially when the ball was in the air.
8. Texas 2-0
Last Week: W, New Mexico 45-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The ‘Horns pitched a complete in Austin Saturday night, blanking visiting New Mexico. The defense is far better than just the product of this weekend’s competition, and pivotal QB David Ash delivered a confidence-building performance with his arm as well as his legs.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Ash remains the unequivocal key for Texas in 2012. He’s passed early tests against Wyoming and New Mexico, but he can’t really be judged until the Longhorns kick off Big 12 play with a Sept. 29 trip to Stillwater.
9. Clemson 2-0
Last Week: W, Ball State 52-27
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers took care of business in their home opener, opening up a 45-10 halftime lead on Ball State before coasting in the second half. The vaunted offense amassed 526 yards of offense, despite being without suspended star WR Sammy Watkins for a second straight game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Clemson D, a question mark throughout the offseason, got a little lax in the second half and ended up yielding 252 yards on the ground to the Cardinals. The opening weekend win over Auburn has already lost some luster now that the Tigers have fallen to 0-2 with a loss to Mississippi State.
10. Michigan State 2-0
Last Week: W, Central Michigan 41-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Spartans ventured out on the road for the first time in 2012, and easily dispatched of the Chippewas. RB Le’Veon Bell will remain the focal point of the offense, but it was important for the school that QB Andrew Maxwell built confidence by throwing for two scores and 278 yards.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Is Michigan State the team that stumbled in the opener with Boise State or the one that outclassed Central Michigan away from home? No one will really know what to expect out of Maxwell, a first-time starter, until he resumes facing stiffer defensive competition.
11. Oklahoma 2-0
Last Week: W, Florida A&M 69-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After playing poorly in the opener, the Sooners got cranking against an overmatched opponent Saturday night. In cranking out 662 balanced yards, the offense may have found its groove. It also may have unearthed a big-play back, Damien Williams, who needed just 10 carries to rush for 156 yards and four touchdowns.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Nearly getting upended by UTEP in El Paso doesn’t get erased by annihilating an FCS visitor. The offensive line has already allowed six sacks to a pair of teams that won’t show up on the Big 12 slate, a major concern now that league play is beginning.
12. Michigan 1-1
Last Game: W, Air Force 31-25
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: When all else fails, the Wolverines always have QB Denard Robinson, one of the game’s most exciting and valuable players. With his team struggling on Saturday, he hoisted it on his shoulders, accounting for 426 yards and four scores.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: In two tries this season, Michigan has failed to impress, getting swamped by Alabama, and nearly losing to Air Force at home. The offense was a little too predictable Saturday, and the D gave up 417 yards to a Falcons attack led by QB Connor Dietz and RB Cody Getz.
13. Ohio State 2-0
Last Week: W, UCF, 31-16
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Buckeyes have won their first two games for Urban Meyer by double-digits, finally shaking loose from UCF in Columbus. Little by little, sophomore QB Braxton Miller has begun to look like the kind of championship quarterback a program can build around.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Ohio State was hardly perfect in Saturday’s win. It turned the ball over three times and failed to get a sack on QB Blake Bortles. Plus, this offense needs to develop more offensive playmakers than just dangerous No. 5.
14. Louisville 2-0
Last Week: W, Missouri State 35-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cards avoided the letdown following a win over rival Kentucky to rout Missouri State. QB Teddy Bridgewater was razor sharp through the air, going 30-of-39, and the Louisville D gave up just 249 yards of total offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Louisville ground game, which was so prolific in the opener, was a little quiet against a weaker defense in Week 2. The Cards averaged just 3.5 yards a carry, producing just one run of more than 10 yards.
15. Florida 2-0
Last Week: W, Texas A&M 20-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: With the odds stacked against them, and trailing 17-7 at halftime, the Gators authored an important gut-check victory in College Station. The defense and Mike Gillislee-led ground game are cornerstones, and now young QB Jeff Driskel may have turned a corner on Saturday.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Florida O-line was hideous over the weekend, not the kind of shortcoming that can be glossed over in the SEC. Driskel was sacked eight times, three times by Aggie Damontre Moore. And when he wasn’t getting hit, he was being flushed from the pocket.
16. Tennessee 2-0
Last Game: W, Georgia State 51-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Volunteers fine-tuned their high-powered offense at the expense of Georgia State in the home opener. The backs produced three scores, and Tyler Bray was near-perfect through the air, going 18-of-20 for 310 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. WR Justin Hunter is back to form after missing most of last year to injury.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Although the defense has played well through two games, it still has a lot to prove after having problems throughout 2011. Tennessee won’t really be tested on D until the Sept. 29 trip to Athens to face Georgia.
17. Kansas State 2-0
Last Week: W, Miami 51-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: A week after laboring to shake Missouri State, the Wildcats dispensed a statement with a rout of Miami. Not only was QB Collin Klein his typically explosive self, but the defense carried a little more weight by collecting five sacks and forcing three fumbles.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: There was absolutely nothing to dislike about Kansas State’s performance on Saturday afternoon. Long-term, though, the Wildcats will still need to prove that they can stiffen on defense against some of the more potent offenses in the Big 12.
18. Virginia Tech 2-0
Last Week: W, Austin Peay 42-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: An unchallenged win over an FCS opponent allowed the Hokies a chance to work out some kinks on offense, especially along the line. The defense permitted just the one touchdown, and could wind up ranking among the stingiest in the country.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Two weeks into the 2012 season, Virginia Tech just hasn’t looked sharp. On Labor Day, the Hokies narrowly escaped Georgia Tech, and in Week 2, they played like a team that was working on only five days of rest. This program has to raise the bar if it’s going to win the ACC championship.
19. Missouri 1-1
Last Week: L, Georgia 41-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: For three quarters, the Tigers played like a team that won’t be out of place in the SEC. The James Franklin-led offense is potent, and the front wall on defense is going to cause a lot of headaches for opposing teams.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: During clutch time, Mizzou collapsed at home, getting outscored 24-0 over the final 16 minutes of its showdown with Georgia. The Tigers made too many mistakes, including three turnovers, and have to score more points in the red zone when facing elite opponents.
20. South Carolina 2-0
Last Week: W, East Carolina 48-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Facing what might have been a tricky East Carolina team, the Gamecocks rolled to a lopsided victory. The passing of young Dylan Thompson, who three for 330 yards, three scores and no picks, gave a much-needed boost to the team’s offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: South Carolina needs to work on its play in the trenches. Not only was Thompson sacked three times by the Pirates, but the O-line was unsuccessful at opening holes for Marcus Lattimore and the team’s other backs.
21. BYU 2-0
Last Week: W, Weber State 45-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cougars defense has been the calling card so far in 2012, giving up just 19 points in two games. A week after quieting Mike Leach’s Washington State team, BYU got to the quarterback six times, and held an opponent below 300 yards for the eighth straight game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While the offense has been serviceable against soft competition, how will it fare in upcoming road games with Utah and Boise State? Riley Nelson is a quality leader behind center, but his supporting cast is noticeably light in pop and big plays.
22. Mississippi State 2-0
Last Week: W, Auburn 28-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs picked up a signature win over Auburn, their first in an SEC opener since 1999. Led by CB Jonathan Banks, the defense has been stout to start the season, allowing just 18 total points, while collecting eight turnovers.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Hey, QB Tyler Russell played exceptionally well in Week 2, but there are still concerns surrounding this Mississippi State offense. If the program is going to emerge as a bigger threat in the SEC West, it’ll have to raise the ball a little higher when it has the ball.
23. Notre Dame 2-0
Last Week: W, Purdue 20-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Irish won a gut-check game versus a plucky Purdue team to start the season without a blemish. The defense has been the story so far in South Bend, controlling the tempo with a rock-solid front seven led by LB Manti Te’o and DE Stephon Tuitt.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offense took a step in reverse on Saturday, though the return of RB Cierre Wood figures to provide an immediate boost. No back had a run of more than 10 yards against the Boilermakers, and the line had problems containing DT Kawann Short and the rest of the front wall.
24. Arizona 2-0
Last Week: W, Oklahoma State 59-38
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Just two weeks in, the offense is already cruising for rookie head coach Rich Rodriguez. The Wildcats ran laps around ranked Oklahoma State in Tucson, amassing 501 yards with plenty of support from QB Matt Scott and RB Ka’Deem Carey.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense was certainly opportunistic, picking off three Wes Lunt passes and scoring a touchdown, but it was also painfully soft in the win. Arizona gave up 636 yards, and was defenseless against the pass, a troubling sign for a member of the Pac-12.
25. Georgia Tech 1-1
Last Week: W, Presbyterian 59-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Yellow Jackets toyed with Presbyterian, but that’s not why they’re ranked. No, Tech has earned its respect so far in 2012 by outplaying Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Labor Day before succumbing, 20-17, in overtime.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, the Jackets played very well at Lane Stadium, but they couldn’t seal the deal when it mattered most. Plus, the ground game, the backbone of the program, only produced 192 yards on the ground when faced with a grown-up defense.
2012 Week 2 Rankings, No. 26-124