Week 8 CFN Rankings - The Top 25

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 21, 2012


The CollegeFootballNews.com rankings after Week 8.

CFN 2012 Rankings

Oct. 21, Week 8


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- CFN Week 8 Rankings No. 26 to 124
 
1. Alabama 7-0
Last Week: W, Tennessee 44-13
Why Alabama Should Be No. 1: The Crimson Tide has yet to win a game by fewer than 19 points this season, including the last two in enemy territory. A rivalry game in jam-packed Neyland Stadium might be a daunting task for some visitors. For ‘Bama, it was a 44-13 walk in the park that maintained its top ranking nationally in total defense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It sure hasn’t cost the Tide—or QB AJ McCarron—up to this point, but the heralded O-line has had intermittent issues in pass protection this fall. ‘Bama is just 76th nationally in sacks allowed, which bears a close watch in second-half games with Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A&M.

2. Florida 7-0
Last Week: W, South Carolina 44-11
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Surging at 7-0, the Gators can hold their resume up against anyone’s in the country, including Alabama’s. Florida has now defeated Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU and South Carolina. The last two over the Tigers and Gamecocks were statement type victories that have Florida on the doorstep of a top ranking.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Sure, the Gators scored 44 points on the vaunted South Carolina D, but most of that output was related to turnovers created by their own defense. Florida managed just 193 total yards, and still ranks in the bottom half of SEC offensive attacks.

3. Oregon 7-0
Last Week: W, Arizona State 43-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Oh, there are Ducks doubters still out there, but just a lot fewer after they ransacked a pretty good Arizona State team in Tempe on national TV. Explosive as ever, Oregon scored six first-half touchdowns on a defense that began the game leading the Pac-12 in just about every major category.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oregon clearly dominated Arizona State, but might the outcome have been a little cozier had the Sun Devils’ best player not been lost on the first series? It was no coincidence that with elite DT Will Sutton in the game, ASU blew up a Ducks run play, and quickly followed it up with touchdown pass to start 7-0.

4. Kansas State 7-0
Last Week: W, West Virginia 55-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Teams just don’t do what the Wildcats did to the Mountaineers in Morgantown on Saturday night. Does anyone in the country have a better road resume than Kansas State, which has won impressively at Oklahoma, Iowa State and now West Virginia?
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While Kansas State may be nit-pick proof following their Week 8 demolition of a ranked opponent, this remains a team that can go for long stretches of inconsistency. It’s come close to costing the Cats a game they shouldn’t lose against an inferior team.

5. LSU 7-1
Last Week: W, Texas A&M 24-19
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: With back-to-back wins over South Carolina and Texas A&M, the Tigers are back to being a serious contender for both an SEC title and a possible national championship run. LSU has been brilliant defensively, suffocating Johnny Manziel, who began the game as one of the most prolific playmaking quarterbacks in the country.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: LSU remains offensively challenged, and probably will be for the remainder of this season. The running game is fine, especially with the emergence of young Jeremy Hill, but Zach Mettenberger and the passing game have been shades of 2011 because of their overall ineptitude and ineffectiveness.

6. Oklahoma 5-1
Last Week: W, Kansas 52-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners showed no letdown following last week’s rout of Texas, quickly disposing of Kansas in Norman. Oklahoma has now impressively won three straight by an average score of 51-16 since suffering its only loss, a five-pointer to unbeaten Kansas State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While Oklahoma has looked like a national championship contender over the past month, it remains a program that cannot be fully trusted. Under Bob Stoops, it has a habit of coming up small when least expected, and the second-half schedule is littered with opportunities to suffer a second loss.

7. South Carolina 6-2
Last Week: L, Florida 44-11
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Losing to LSU and Florida on the road is very, very forgivable. The Gamecocks can point to their 35-7 rout of Georgia on Oct. 6 to prove that they’re better than their performance over the last two weeks. Don’t blame a terrific defense for the 44 points allowed in Gainesville on Saturday. Most of Florida’s touchdowns came after turnovers put it on the doorstep of the South Carolina end zone.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Gamecocks got thoroughly embarrassed in an SEC East showdown, failing to compete after the first couple of series. The offense just hasn’t clicked against elite competition—or outside of Columbia—exposing the program as a title-contending fraud.

8. Notre Dame 7-0
Last Week: W, BYU 17-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Irish did not play their best game on Saturday, yet still survived against a plucky BYU team. The defense has shown no weaknesses through the first seven games, allowing a mere nine points a game. Notre Dame hasn’t played a stiff since the opener with Navy.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, it has yet to catch up to the Irish, but the offense is awful. Save for the Navy and Miami games, Notre Dame has been unable to play with much spark or sustained excellence. Saturday was the fifth time that the team failed to score more than 20 points, the mark of an incomplete football team.

9. Georgia 6-1
Last Week: W, Kentucky 29-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs have elite talent on both sides of the ball, such as QB Aaron Murray and LB Jarvis Jones. They’ve suffered just one loss this season, at South Carolina, where few teams ever escape with a road victory.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The loss in Columbia was by four touchdowns, and Georgia followed up that debacle with a lackluster effort in Lexington coming out of the bye week. Yes, the Dawgs can beat just about anyone, but who have they actually defeated? Missouri? Tennessee? Georgia needs to handle Florida this week in order to be up for a promotion.

10. Texas Tech 6-1
Last Week: W, TCU 56-53
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After suffering its only loss of the season, to a pretty good Oklahoma squad, Texas Tech has bounced back with back-to-back wins over West Virginia and TCU. Led by the passing of Seth Doege, the Red Raiders scored 36 points in regulation on a Horned Frogs defense that entered the game allowing just 14 points per game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense allowed too many big plays in the Week 8 win over TCU, a game that never should have gone to overtime in the first place. The Red Raiders did not perform well in the 41-20 loss to the Sooners, and have yielded a bunch of points in the last three weeks.

11. Texas A&M 5-2
Last Week: L, LSU 24-19
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Texas A&M’s only two losses of the season have come against two of the best programs in the country, Florida and LSU, but just eight points combined. The high-powered offense may have been stifled by the Tigers on Saturday, but don’t expect it to become a trend around Aggieland.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Aggies hit a wall on Saturday, getting pushed around by a more physical and faster football team. Texas A&M’s best win of the year was against Louisiana Tech, a WAC member, in a game that it allowed 57 points and more than 600 yards.

12. Florida State 7-1
Last Week: W, Miami 33-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Seminoles went on the road against their biggest rival and took care of business by dominating the final 15 minutes. Florida State is back on stable footing following their lone loss, and can stake claim to an impressive 49-37 win over one-loss Clemson on Sept. 22.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: NC State is a decent program at 5-2, but losing to it is hurting Florida State’s ability to travel much higher. So, too, for that matter has been a schedule that’s light on marquee games. Clemson is the only ranked team on the slate, and the only one that will be on it until Florida heads to Tallahassee in a month.

13. Clemson 6-1
Last Week: W, Virginia Tech 38-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Any hope for a resurgence by Virginia Tech this fall was thwarted in Death Valley by Clemson. The Tigers started slowly before taking control of the game with a combination of four turnovers and timely plays from QB Tajh Boyd. Their only loss on the year is to a very good Florida State team in Tallahassee.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Since Virginia Tech is not the Virginia Tech of old, Clemson is still searching for a game that qualifies as a quality win in 2012. Sure, the D came up with some pivotal takeaways on Saturday, but it still found a way to yielded more than 400 yards for the fourth game in a row.

14. Mississippi State 7-0
Last Week: W, Middle Tennessee 45-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After starting slowly, the Bulldogs outclassed Middle Tennessee for a fourth straight win by double-digits. The program leads the nation in turnover margin, the result of Tyler Russell’s poise in the pocket and a ball-hawking secondary that doesn’t get quite as much credit as it warrants .
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Dan Mullen has Mississippi State rolling at an unprecedented level, but who has the team beaten? The two name brands on the slate, Auburn and Tennessee, wound up being overrated, meaning the Bulldogs’ true colors will only start coming out in the final month of the regular season.

15. Stanford 5-2
Last Week: W, Cal 21-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinal dominated previously surging Cal in the annual Big Game, holding the Bears to just three yards rushing. Stanford employs a winning formula of stout D and the power running of Stepfan Taylor to remain a factor in the Pac-12 North Division.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offense continues to be one-dimensional, hampered by the inconsistencies behind center of QB Josh Nunes. While there’s certainly no shame in falling to unbeaten Notre Dame last Saturday, the Sept. 27 loss to Washington will put a hard cap on Stanford’s upward mobility.

16. USC 6-1
Last Week: W, Colorado 50-6
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans showed no let-up against a weaker opponent, pitching a complete game versus lowly Colorado. They’ve now won four straight by double-digits since losing at Stanford on Sept. 15. It was the Matt Barkley of old at The Coliseum, throwing six touchdown passes, four to Robert Woods, and just a single incompletion.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Troy’s best win of the season was over an average Washington squad, 24-14. A one-loss Trojans team will have a hard time climbing much higher until November arrives, and Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA and Notre Dame appear on the back-loaded schedule.

17. Oregon State 6-0
Last Week: W, Utah 21-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Beavers have improbably reached the halfway point unbeaten, surviving the loss of QB Sean Mannion two weeks ago. As the offense sputtered late Saturday night versus the Utes, the underrated D took over by pitching a second-half shutout. That opening day win over Wisconsin looks much better now that the Badgers are 6-2.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offense went AWOL in Week 8, something the staff hopes is not a sign of things to come. Even when Mannion was at the controls, the attack had a habit of disappearing at times and struggling to produce anything on the ground.

18. Rutgers 7-0
Last Week: W, Temple 35-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Scarlet Knights started slowly, trailing 10-0 at halftime, but then took command against a Temple team that had been playing well. While the D has been a constant all year, the reemergence of RB Jawan Jamison, who accounted for almost 200 total yards, helped fuel the offense in the second half.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Rutgers remains an inconsistent bunch, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Scarlet Knights’ growth will be capped by their schedule. None of the team’s seven victims are even remotely close to being ranked in the Top 25.

19. Ohio State 8-0
Last Week: W, Purdue, 29-22
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Their quarterback injured and their backs against the wall, the Buckeyes rallied like champions to remain unbeaten. With Braxton Miller out and little-used Kenny Guiton in an unfamiliar role, Ohio State erased a deficit in the final minute before sealing the game in overtime.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense plugged a few leaks today, but is still allowing too many long gainers, such as an 83-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first play. Miller has been so instrumental to Ohio State’s success, it’d be hard to see the team remaining on course if he’s lost for a significant amount of time.

20. Nebraska 5-2
Last Week: W, Northwestern 29-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It was hardly flawless, but it was a gut-check win on the road for the Huskers to keep them in the hunt in the Legends Division of the Big Ten. The evolution of Taylor Martinez as a passer continues to spark a diverse attack that leads the league in total offense and scoring.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Both of Nebraska’s losses left lasting marks in the eyes of many voters. The first was to unranked UCLA, while the second was flat-out ugly, 63-38 to Ohio State. The Huskers are an undisciplined team that makes way too many unforced errors, such as penalties and turnovers.

21. Michigan 5-2
Last Game: W, Michigan State 12-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: For the first time in five years, the Wolverines defeated the rival Spartans, a significant hurdle for this team to clear. Greg Mattison’s D has been fantastic of late, holding its last five opponents to no more than 13 points. Both of Michigan’s losses, Alabama and Notre Dame, came against unbeaten teams outside of Ann Arbor.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Saturday’s win in the waning moments was Michigan’s best of the season, but what does that say about the team’s body of work so far? The Spartans fell to 4-4 with the loss, and haven’t been ranked in weeks.

22. Arizona State 5-2
Last Week: L, Oregon 43-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sun Devils ran into Oregon’s buzzsaw on Thursday night, a situation complicated by the loss of star DT Will Sutton on the first series of the game. This remains a talented and well-balanced Arizona State squad that had its way with Utah, Cal and Colorado in the weeks leading up to the Ducks loss.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Okay, so the Sun Devils aren’t winning the Pac-12, which Oregon made clear on national TV. Big whoop. It’s the loss to an average Missouri team, which played without starting QB James Franklin, that’s going to stunt ASU’s mobility unless it can upset another ranked team in November.

23. Louisiana Tech 6-1
Last Week: W, Idaho 70-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs offense is on cruise control this season, scoring less than 52 points just once all year. They hung with Texas A&M a week ago, and have already beaten opponents from the Big Ten and ACC.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Louisiana Tech best win of the year is going to be against either 2-6 Virginia or 2-5 Illinois. Take your pick. The defense is a WAC D by every possible measure, standing near the bottom of the country in a host of major statistical categories.

24. Tennessee 3-4
Last Game: L, Alabama 44-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: WHAT?! A 3-4 team ranked?! Look at who the Vols have lost to. Only the Titans have played a tougher schedule of late in the region. The Volunteers’ four losses have come against opponents (Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State & Georgia) with exactly one loss between them. And that two-touchdown defeat of NC State on opening weekend looks even better now that the 5-2 Pack has a signature win over Florida State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Moral victories are only possible when a team actually competes against better competition. Three of Tennessee’s losses were by at least 10 points, and Sal Sunseri’s sagging defense has plummeted into the SEC basement … as in worse than Kentucky and Arkansas. In the Vols’ only win since Sept. 8, they led 1-7 Akron by just four points in the fourth quarter.

25. Louisville 7-0
Last Week: W, South Florida 27-25
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinals have navigated myriad challenges to remain one of the last unbeaten teams in the country. DE Lorenzo Mauldin is giving the defense a much-needed jolt in the pass rush, and the offense is as balanced as ever.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Louisville has yet to face a team that’s currently ranked. In fact, six of its seven victims are well below the .500 mark. The Cardinals have not played an “A” game in a long time, struggling to escape the clutches of Florida International, Southern Miss and South Florida in recent weeks.

- CFN Week 8 Rankings No. 26 to 124