2012 CFN Rankings - Week 5

Posted Sep 30, 2012

The 2012 CFN Rankings, Week 5, From No. 1 to No. 25

CFN 2012 Rankings

Sept. 30, Week 5

- 2012 AP Rankings
- 2012 Coaches' Poll
- Scoreboard & Game Recaps
- CFN 2012 Week 5 Rankings, No. 26-124

1. Alabama 5-0
Last Week: W, Ole Miss 33-14
Why Alabama Should Be No. 1: The 19-point margin of victory on Saturday night was the closest the Tide has come to losing a game this fall. The defense is once again performing at an elite level, allowing just two yards a carry and seven points a game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offense sputtered at times in Oxford, averaging just 4.8 yards a play, and allowing Rebels rookie Stinger Denzel Nkemdiche to make big plays all night. ‘Bama has yet to author a true signature win in 2012. Michigan doesn't count, and Arkansas sure doesn't either.

2. Georgia 5-0
Last Week: W, Tennessee 51-44
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs survived on a day when the defense wasn't very good, whipping the Vols for 560 yards and seven offensive touchdowns. Now that Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley are running wild behind Aaron Murray, is there even an SEC defense that can slow this attack down?
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Georgia returned LB Alec Ogletree and S Bacarri Rambo from suspension, yet regressed on defense. While four takeaways were a huge plus, the Dawgs had a lot of missed tackles, and wound up yielding an uncharacteristic 478 total yards.

3. LSU 5-0
Last Week: W, Towson 38-22
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers took care of business in an obvious look-ahead game to next week's visit to the Swamp. The defense is allowing just a dozen points a game led by one of the nation's top D-lines. The Week 2 rout of Washington looks even better now that the Huskies have upset ranked Stanford.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Okay, struggling with Auburn on the Plains is one thing, but Towson? The Tigers were in a game at halftime thanks to an offense that's having a heck of a time moving the ball or popping off big plays. LSU might be ready to get exposed as early as this week in Gainesville.

4. Florida 4-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gators had about as good an opening month as anyone in the country, winning three straight SEC games, two on the road. While the defense is playing at a championship level, the offense has improved from this time last year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, the offense has been better for new coordinator Brent Pease, but good enough to solve tough defenses, like LSU, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida State? Long gains have been scarce for an attack that leans heavily on RB Mike Gillislee, and has been hesitant to open up the playbook for young QB Jeff Driskel.

5. Oregon 5-0
Last Week: W, Washington State 51-26
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In typical Ducks fashion, Oregon has won each of its first five games by no less than 17 points. As if the offense needs any additional boost, the program is now getting scoring from an attacking D that produced seven sacks Saturday night, and scored on its third pick-six in the last two games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The numbers may be gaudy, but the offense is off a bit from the last couple of years. Explosive plays have been a little less frequent, while rookie QB Marcus Mariota has been ordinary through the air in Pac-12 play. A quality defense may be able to keep these guys in the 30s, and pull an upset.

6. Florida State 5-0
Last Week: W, South Florida 30-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Seminoles walked into the bear trap … and survived. The week after a huge win over Clemson, they had to travel to Tampa to face a motivated bunch of Bulls with a chip on their shoulder. The D remains among the top 5 in the nation, holding South Florida to just 268 total yards.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The ‘Noles were beatable in this one, slogging their way through a listless effort against a team that lost to Ball State last week. Florida State will have to learn to bring it week-in and week-out if it plans to remain a contender for a national title.

7. Texas 4-0
Last Week: W, Oklahoma State 41-36
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Longhorns won a pivotal game in Stillwater against the defending Big 12 champs. On an evening when the defense was more vulnerable than usual, the offense stepped up with a balanced effort and some key late drives. QB David Ash is growing up on the fly, as are young backs Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Had the officials not missed a late Bergeron fumble, the ‘Horns would have suffered their first loss of the season. The defense that was supposed to be the Big 12's stingiest got lit up by a Cowboys attack being led by backup QB J.W. Walsh. Texas allowed almost 600 yards, missing a ton of tackles along the way.

8. South Carolina 5-0
Last Week: W, Kentucky 38-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gamecocks did on Saturday night what all good teams do—they won a tough game when they weren't performing at their peak. South Carolina struggled for a while in Lexington, but erased an early deficit, and went on to score the game's final 31 points with help from both the offense and the D.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: If there's a knock on the Gamecocks through the first month of the season, it's that the O-line is still having problems getting off the ball and protecting the pocket. South Carolina allowed three more sacks on Saturday, a concern with the heart of the SEC schedule yet to be played.

9. Notre Dame 4-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Notre Dame's 4-0 start includes three straight wins over quality Big Ten teams, Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan. The defense is bucking to be among the nation's best this season, allowing an average of just nine points a game and not a single touchdown on the ground.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Irish's ceiling could be capped by the play of a sputtering offense. In those three most recent wins, they managed a total of just 53 points, really having a tough time spreading out defenses. The quarterback situation has been a hot potato, with Everett Golson and Tommy Rees both getting key reps.

10. Kansas State 4-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats are authors of two notable wins last month, an upset of then-No. 6 Oklahoma in Norman and a 52-13 rout of Miami. The D has only allowed 15 points a game, and QB Collin Klein continues to perform with MVP-like qualities behind an underrated offensive line.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Is Kansas State really ready to compete for a Big 12 championship? The Cats have a knack for erratic behavior and general inconsistency, waiting until the fourth quarter before shaking free from Missouri State and North Texas in September.

11. West Virginia 4-0
Last Week: W, Baylor 70-63
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Mountaineers offense is just out of control, amassing more than 800 yards in the shootout win over Baylor. Geno Smith is the nation's best quarterback right now, combining with receivers Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and J.D. Woods to allow West Virginia to score anything and from anywhere on the field.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Defense continues to be the chief concern in Morgantown. The Mountaineers were a blue and gold sieve over the weekend, yielding almost 600 yards through the air to Baylor's Nick Florence. Poor tackling and an inability to make key stops will haunt West Virginia at some point this season.

12. Clemson 4-1
Last Week: W, Boston College 45-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers bounced back from their lone loss, to Florida State, with a double-digit win on the road. Even without star WR Sammy Watkins, the high-powered offense still cranked out almost 600 yards of balanced offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The problems on defense won't go away. A week after getting whipped in Tallahassee, the Tigers had problems containing Boston College QB Chase Rettig and WR Alex Amidon.

13. Tennessee 3-2
Last Game: L, Georgia 51-44
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Vols are going to score with just about anyone this season, darn near picking off one of the nation's premier teams on the road this past Saturday. That was a darn good Georgia D that Tennessee peppered for 478 yards and five touchdowns Between the Hedges.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Over the last three games, the Volunteers have bowed to Florida, needed a rally to fend off Akron and allowed 560 yards in a loss to Georgia. Sure, the schedule has been thorny, but Tennessee has hardly looked like a ranked team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

14. Texas A&M 3-1
Last Week: W, Arkansas 58-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Aggies offense has been on a tear over the last three games, scoring 176 points. Rookie QB Johnny Manziel is conducting the offense as if he's been in College Station for years, accounting for 557 of his team's 716 yards during Saturday's obliteration of the visiting Razorbacks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Big wins, anyone? Yeah, A&M has taken three straight games, but its victims have been SMU, South Carolina State and the fading Hogs. When the Aggies faced one of the nation's top teams, Florida, at Kyle Field, they ran out of gas in a 20-17 loss.

15. Oklahoma 2-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners are off to a tough start, but there's enough talent for a turnaround. This is still a program with a next-level quarterback, Landry Jones, a Hall of Fame coach, Bob Stoops, and former blue-chip recruits on both sides of the ball.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oklahoma has had three shots to impress, yet has failed to do so, capped by a home loss to Kansas State two weeks ago. This team just might not be as good as most expected before the season began, lacking consistency on both lines.

16. Ohio State 5-0
Last Week: W, Michigan State, 17-16
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Buckeyes survived an old-fashioned Big Ten slugfest in East Lansing to remain unbeaten. QB Braxton Miller continues to be one of the most valuable players in the country, while the defense pitched its best effort of 2012, holding RB Le'Veon Bell more than 100 yards below his season average.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offense remains a concern in Columbus. To no fault of his own, Miller has too often been a solo act, getting little support from his skill position players. If some opponent can find a way to take No. 5 out of the game, Ohio State doesn't have another player capable of picking up the slack.

17. Washington 2-1
Last Week: W, Stanford 17-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The only loss came to an LSU team that might not be looking great lately, but might be about to flip the switch back on with the big games coming up. The Huskies were more physical than the team that outphysicaled USC, and now the team knows it can be a grinder as well as explosive.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Technically, it can't be. The lone loss came to LSU and the Huskies beat the team that beat USC. The defense might have come up with a great performance, but the team struggled way too much against San Diego State in the opener and was wiped off the map by LSU.

18. Stanford 3-1
Last Week: L, Washington 17-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Stanford is home to one of the nation's stingiest defenses, holding all four of its opponents to no more than 17 points. It's that D which is most responsible for a Sept. 15 upset of USC that probably ended the second-ranked Trojans' hopes for a national title run.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offense is in disarray, the main reason the Cardinal is no longer undefeated. Facing an average U-Dub defense on Thursday night, Stanford failed to produce a touchdown as QB Josh Nunes and his middling wide receivers sputtered from start to finish.

19. USC 3-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Troy is the Oklahoma of the Pac-12—plenty of talent, but one big conference loss in September. Still, there's little doubt that this program is capable of going on an extended tear, winning the Pac-12 and playing in the Rose Bowl.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Trojans didn't look in September like the team many felt would compete for a national championship in 2012. The offense—seemingly a given—has scored just 41 points in the last two games, and has been hindered by mediocre line play.

20. Oregon State 3-0
Last Week: W, Arizona 38-35
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Beavers have now beaten three teams that were ranked at one point in September. On a night when the defense bended—and broke—at times in Tucson, the offense proved that it can carry the team when needed. The trio of QB Sean Mannion, RB Storm Woods and WR Markus Wheaton sparked a 613-yard outburst to win a see-saw game with Arizona.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: For the second straight week, the pass defense has been knocked around by an opposing Pac-12 quarterback. In those two games, Oregon State gave up 765 combined yards to Brett Hundley and Matt Scott, a concern in a league known for its potent offenses.

21. UCLA 4-1
Last Week: W, Colorado 42-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The offense is back on track after a rough outing against Oregon State. The win over Nebraska is looking better and better, and the loss to the Beavers is looking more and more respectable. The offense leads the Pac-12 and is fourth in the nation averaging 558 yards per game. Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Beating Rice, Houston and Colorado is nothing to crow about. The home loss to Oregon State might have been an aberration for a young and emerging team, but the Nebraska win is the only thing to hang the hat on.

22. Nebraska 4-1
Last Week: W, Wisconsin 30-27
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers have been all about the rally of late. They've rallied for three straight wins since suffering their lone loss to a pretty good UCLA team on the road. And they rallied for their second biggest comeback in school history, erasing a 17-point deficit in a pivotal win over Wisconsin.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Nebraska remains an incomplete and erratic program through the first five games. While Saturday night's comeback win was impressive on many levels, it also shined a light on the inconsistencies that could cost this team now that Big Ten play has begun.

23. Oklahoma State 2-2
Last Week: L, Texas 41-36
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Oklahoma State played well enough to win on Saturday night. In fact, it would have won had the refs not missed an obvious fumble on Texas' game-winning touchdown run. The offense didn't skip a beat against the Big 12's best D, rolling up 576 yards with backup QB J.W. Walsh at the controls.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Cowboys have played a pair of schools from AQ conferences … and lost to both of them. The first against Arizona looks worse with each passing week as the Cats fade. In those two defeats to Texas and Arizona, a sketchy defense yielded 100 combined points.

24. Rutgers 4-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Off to a great start, the Scarlet Knights delivered road upsets in each of the last two games, defeating South Florida and Arkansas. Not only is the defense stout, but the offense is quickly improving around the development of sophomores Jawan Jamison and Gary Nova.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Rutgers hasn't beaten a ranked opponent, and as a member of the Big East, it probably won't have that opportunity until the final regular season game. While the wins over the Bulls and Razorbacks were nice, both of those opponents were huge disappointments in September.

25. Michigan 2-2
Last Game: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wolverines' two losses have come against two of the top teams in America, Alabama and Notre Dame. The defense has improved since the opener with the Tide, and the offense figures to get back on track with help from the backfield tandem of QB Denard Robinson and RB Fitzgerald Toussaint.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Sure, the losses are respectable, but the wins were against Air Force and Massachusetts. And the Falcons nearly fashioned an upset in the Big House. The D needs to get more pressure, and if the opposition forces Michigan to throw the ball, the Wolverines will keep having turnover problems.

- CFN 2012 Week 5 Rankings, No. 26-124