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Week 6 CFN Top 25 Rankings
Florida RB Mike Gilislee
The latest CollegeFootballNews.com Top 25 Rankings - Week 6
CFN Week 6 Top 25 Rankings
1. Alabama (5-0)
Last Week: Idle
Why Alabama Should Be No. 1: If ‘Bama has tailed off from last season’s national championship squad, you couldn’t tell during the first five games of this year. The Tide has outscored its victims by an average margin of 40-7, and Nick Saban’s defense has only allowed seven opposing drives to even enter the red zone.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Dominant? Yes. But against who? Michigan and Arkansas are Alabama’s two most recognizable opponents from September, but neither the Wolverines nor the Razorbacks has performed up to its preseason bar in 2012.
2. Florida (5-0)
Last Week: W, LSU 14-6
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gators have authored about as impressive a first half as anyone in America, beating Texas A&M and Tennessee on the road and national title contender LSU in the Swamp. This team is operating with a physical bent on both sides of the ball that’s often seen in SEC champions.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Until the offense can perk up on a consistent basis, this will be an incomplete program as far as title chases go. The attack has been hit-or-miss, and if someone can slow down RB Mike Gillislee, it remains to be seen if Jeff Driskel will be able to pick up the slack through the air.
3. South Carolina (6-0)
Last Week: W, Georgia 35-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In a huge spot, the Gamecocks delivered one of the best overall efforts by a team this season. They dominated on defense, nearly shutting out a Georgia team that entered the game having scored at least 41 points in five straight games for the first time in school history.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It’s hard to knock anything that’s happening in Columbia at the halfway point in the season. Steve Spurrier might beg to differ when his passing game is the subject. The next time South Carolina plays a tight game—or trails—it’ll be interesting to see how Connor Shaw and the receivers respond.
4. Oregon (6-0)
Last Week: W, Washington 52-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Ducks abused a rival on Saturday night, ensuring that Washington’s upset of Stanford a week earlier would have no carryover effect. Oregon reset the Huskies D back to 2011, cranking out almost 500 yards of balanced offense, 299 on the ground and four touchdown passes from Marcus Mariota.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Now that the halfway point has been reached, and national championship contenders are being assessed, who has Oregon beaten? The Ducks have feasted on weak competition, and Washington’s Top 25 ranking entering Saturday wasn’t exactly rooted in a concrete foundation.
5. West Virginia (5-0)
Last Week: W, Texas 48-45
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Mountaineers have navigated what appears to be their toughest game of the season, defeating the Longhorns in Austin. The prolific West Virginia attack may not have reached two under par, like it did a week ago, but it did mine a new weapon, sophomore RB Andrew Buie, who ran for 207 yards and two scores.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: West Virginia might be competing for a national championship, but not because of the play of the defense. In fact, the Neers are winning despite the play of a D that’s yielded 108 points in its first two games versus Big 12 opponents.
6. Notre Dame (5-0)
Last Week: W, 41-3 Miami
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Irish mauled a Miami team that arrived in Chicago having scored at least 38 points in three consecutive wins. The offense perked up, but the D remains the calling card in South Bend, running its streak of games without allowing a touchdown to three.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, the Notre Dame offense showed a pulse for a change, but Miami couldn’t tackle one of Madame Tussauds’ figures these days. The Canes defense is awful, and the Irish attack still has plenty to prove, especially in the passing game.
7. LSU (5-1)
Last Week: L, Florida 14-6
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Don’t point fingers at the LSU D for the program’s first loss of the season. The unit did all it could on Saturday, and remains one of the toughest to score upon in the country. The Tigers’ only defeat came on the road against a team that’s now deeply entrenched in the top 5.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Tigers have now spit out three straight forgettable efforts against Auburn, Towson and Florida. The offense simply isn’t getting it done, and it’s become clear that this program has missed the energy of Tyrann Mathieu more than many expected.
8. Ohio State (6-0)
Last Week: W, Nebraska, 63-38
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The 63 points scored by the Buckeyes were the fourth most allowed by the Huskers in school history. Ohio State enjoyed contributions from the offense, defense and special teams, getting 371 yards on the ground, four turnovers and a punt return for a touchdown from Corey Brown.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense sprung a few too many leaks for the liking of Urban Meyer. Nebraska amassed 437 yards, including a 73-yard run from Rex Burkhead and a 74-yard reception from Kenny Bell. The Buckeyes have had issued with long balls this year, and will need to plug those holes in the second half.
9. Georgia (5-1)
Last Week: L, South Carolina 35-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs started slowly in Columbia, and just never recovered. It happens to even good teams sometimes. Still, this remains a very talented squad, with the mix of players on both sides of the ball to make Saturday night this program’s only loss of the year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Georgia didn’t show much fight after an Ace Sanders punt return for six made it 21-0 in the first quarter. Mark Richt will need to locate the heart of this team real soon. Who have the Dawgs beaten this season? Tennessee? Missouri? Ehhh.
10. Kansas State (4-0)
Last Week: W, Kansas 56-16
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Rivalry games are never as simple as they look on paper, though the Wildcats might beg to differ. Kansas State finally disposed of an inferior opponent in proper fashion, overcoming a slow start to stampede Kansas with seven touchdowns over the final three quarters.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Cats still need to become more consistent, or else they’ll get bitten in the ankles by a lesser opponent at some point during the season. They trailed Kansas in the second quarter before taking off, and didn’t escape Missouri State and North Texas until the fourth quarter last month.
11. Texas A&M (4-1)
Last Week: W, Ole Miss 30-27
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Aggies have now won four straight games behind an offense that will contend to become the SEC’s most potent. Their only loss was a three-pointer to a Florida team that has yet to lose, and is contending for a national championship.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Texas A&M is still looking for its first impressive win of 2012. Worse yet, the Aggies needed to rally in the final quarter to beat an Ole Miss team that entered the weekend on a 15-game SEC losing skid.
12. Texas (4-1)
Last Week: L, West Virginia 48-45
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: When the season started a little over a month ago, the offense was a source of stress. It isn’t any longer. The ‘Horns hung with the Mountaineers on Saturday night, and have now scored at least 37 points in all five games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: What has happened to the star-studded D, specifically the run D? Sure, no one is stopping West Virginia these days, but 207 yards on the ground from unknown Andrew Buie? Now ranked 83rd in the country, Texas has been repeatedly gashed between the tackles.
13. Oklahoma (3-1)
Last Week: W, Texas Tech, 41-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners played a near perfect game on the road, avenging last year’s loss to the Red Raiders. They picked off three Seth Doege passes, and were just efficient enough with the ball to pull away in third quarter. Oklahoma’s only loss was to unbeaten and top 10 Kansas State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While the offense did enough to win in Lubbock, it’s still a little spotty, which could prove costly against some of the more potent teams in the Big 12. The O-line performed better in Week 6, but has hardly earned the confidence of the coaching staff.
14. Florida State (5-1)
Last Week: L, NC State 17-16
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Florida State still might wind up being the class of the ACC, especially since it owns a key win over the league’s second best team, Clemson. The Seminoles certainly have enough talent to regroup, get on a run and host Florida on Nov. 24 as a 10-1 team.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The ‘Noles didn’t just lose a game for the first time in 2012; it lost to an average Wolfpack team that had fallen to Miami a week earlier. The team disappeared in the second half, failing to score or stop NC State when the game hung in the balance.
15. Clemson (4-1)
Last Week: W, Georgia Tech 47-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers continue to prove that they possess enough firepower to overcome the play of a mediocre defense. Trailing Georgia Tech as late as the fourth quarter, Clemson put the engine in overdrive to pull away for a crucial victory. It tallied more than 600 yards, yet another sign that it’s never out of a game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: No, it didn’t cost the team today, but that D truly is average … at best. Brent Venables’ kids have allowed no less than 31 points in each of the last three games, meaning the margin for error for the offense isn’t what the staff would like it to be.
16. Tennessee (3-2)
Last Game: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Hey, if moral victories count for anything, the Volunteers are just soaring these days. Tennessee’s two losses came against two of the better teams in the country, Florida and Georgia. The Vols lit up the Bulldogs defense two weeks ago, which no one else has done this fall.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Over its last three games, Tennessee has been beaten twice, getting torched on defense by Georgia, and needed nearly all four quarters to shake Akron. This is a highly incomplete program that’s beginning to get routinely trucked on the defensive side of the ball.
17. Stanford (4-1)
Last Week: W, Arizona 54-48
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinal put forth a gutsy effort on a day when it clearly did not play its best game, especially on defense. Stanford scored the final three touchdowns, the last one in overtime, on an afternoon when QB Josh Nunes may have turned a corner in his maturation process.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: David Shaw’s kids have not played well over the last two games, and could easily have lost both. Two weeks ago, the Cardinal offense went AWOL, and this past weekend, the D uncharacteristically flopped by giving up more than 600 yards to Arizona.
18. Rutgers (5-0)
Last Week: W, Connecticut 19-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Scarlet Knights continue to be one of the stingiest teams in the country, keeping Connecticut out of the end zone on Saturday afternoon. The Rutgers D plus the running of Jawan Jamison, who has gone over 100 yards in six straight games, is a formula for success that’ll lead to plenty more wins this season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: This team won’t be seriously tested by another ranked team until the end of the regular season or possibly the bowl game. The offense had problems with the Huskies defense, arguably the best one it’s faced all season, scoring just one offensive touchdown all game.
19. USC (4-1)
Last Week: W, Utah 38-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans took Utah’s best shot—in Salt Lake City—yet lived to tell about it after rallying out of an early 14-0 hole. QB Matt Barkley appears to have emerged from his mini-slump, going 23-of-30 for 303 yards, three scores and no picks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Troy is still not there. It was sloppy again on Thursday night, committing 14 penalties, coughing up two costly fumbles and only scoring two touchdowns on four red zone trips. Oh, and the O-line remains a worry until further notice.
20. Nebraska (4-2)
Last Week: L, Ohio State 63-38
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers own a key win over Wisconsin from a week ago, and still believe they can be the class of the Legends Division. The offense isn’t having many problems this season, pacing the Big Ten in both total yards and scoring.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Both of the Huskers’ losses this season were ugly. It fell to an unranked UCLA team that just got undressed by Cal. And on Saturday night, they were thoroughly whipped by Ohio State, breaking down in all three phases of the game.
21. Oklahoma State (2-2)
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Despite the graduation of Brandon Weeden and the knee problems of Wes Lunt, the Cowboys remain one of the country’s most potent offensive attacks. If not for a missed call that should have been overturned in the waning moments, Oklahoma State would have knocked off Texas two weeks ago.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While the loss to the Longhorns was excusable, falling to what has turned out to be an average Arizona team was not. And the Cowboys didn’t just drop a game in Tucson, they were obliterated, 59-38
22. Oregon State (4-0)
Last Week: W, Washington State 19-6
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Beavers D has once again asserted itself, holding Mike Leach’s offense to just 227 yards and no trips to the end zone. DE Scott Crichton was the ringleader of the assault on the Cougars, making four stops behind the line of scrimmage, three of which were on quarterbacks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oregon State is still waiting to throw its first complete game of the season. When the offense rolls, the defense rolls over. And when the D dominates, the attack has issues. On Saturday, for instance, the Beavers were paced by Crichton & Co., but the QB Sean Mannion was picked and sacked three times.
23. Michigan (3-2)
Last Game: W, Purdue 44-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wolverines are starting to heat up, coming off their best game of the season. They beat up a surging Purdue team that was being discussed as a Leaders Division contender, getting 235 yards on the ground from QB Denard Robinson and a monster all-around effort from the D.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Is this the real Michigan or is it the one that played poorly in meetings with Alabama, Air Force and Notre Dame? The Wolverines still need to work on their red zone offense, attempting field goals on half of their six trips deep into Boilermakers territory.
24. Arizona State (4-1)
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: With all due respect to Oregon State and UCLA, the Sun Devils just might be this year’s biggest surprise in the Pac-12. Arizona State has beaten Illinois and Utah by no less than 30 points, and went to Berkeley to handle Cal. Its only loss was in Columbia to a pretty good Mizzou team.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The O-line could surface as a problem as the schedule gets even tougher and games become more important. The Sun Devils have yielded three sacks in each of the last three games, stunting the effectiveness of underrated QB Taylor Kelly.
25. Mississippi State (5-0)
Last Week: W, Kentucky 27-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The forgotten team in the SEC West, the Bulldogs have remained unbeaten with a formula of a sound defense and a mistake-free offense. Mississippi State is tied with Alabama for most SEC takeaways, and has only yielded three touchdown passes in five games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Bulldogs’ best win of the year came against Auburn, a team that’s now three games below .500. Everyone will have to wait until a wicked four-game stretch versus Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU and Arkansas to learn if this team is truly Top 25 timber.