CFN 2012 Rankings
Oct. 29, Week 9
2012 BCS Rankings
- 2012 AP Rankings
2012 Coaches' Poll
Scoreboard & Game Recaps
- CFN Week 9 Rankings
No. 26 to 124
1. Alabama 8-0
Last Week: W, Mississippi State 38-7
Why Alabama Should Be No. 1: The Crimson Tide aced its toughest test of the year so far, nearly blanking ranked Mississippi State over the weekend. The Bulldogs scored a meaningless touchdown with four minutes left, small consolation for a team that began the weekend averaging almost 37 points per game. Balanced on offense and dominant on defense, ‘Bama is rolling into this week’s visit to LSU.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Alabama is winning games by an average margin of 40-8, so it’s impossible to split hairs at this point. Those, such as the computer models, looking to bump the Tide lower can only point to the relative softness of the schedule. An argument can be made that ‘Bama hasn’t played as many nasty games as, say, Kansas State or Notre Dame.
2. Oregon 8-0
Last Week: W, Colorado 70-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The computers don’t like the Ducks. They’ve got that in common with the rest of a Pac-12 that’s grown weary of losing to the conference bully. Oregon could have scored 100 points on Colorado had it kept its foot on the gas, peppering the Buffs with the nation’s most explosive offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The only knock on the Ducks right now centers on a schedule that’s light on marquee names. The wins over the two Arizona teams—the Wildcats and the Sun Devils—look pretty good, but Oregon still hasn’t faced a schedule as prickly as other top 5 teams.
3. Kansas State 8-0
Last Week: W, Texas Tech 55-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats have now shredded ranked teams, West Virginia and Texas Tech, with 55-point outbursts in consecutive weeks. They’ve also claimed Oklahoma as a victim, winning in Norman on Sept. 22. The offense is like a runaway train, looking as if no one will stop QB Collin Klein in 2012.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Kansas State has had issues with slow starts this fall, which might wind up catching up to it at some point in 2012. The Cats have allowed lesser opponents to hang around at times this year, needing second-half rallies before pulling away.
4. Notre Dame 8-0
Last Week: W, Oklahoma 30-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: If there was doubt about Notre Dame’s national championship chops a few days ago, there isn’t now. Over the last three games, the Irish have defeated Stanford, BYU and Oklahoma, the latter in Norman serving as a bold statement to the rest of the country. ND still hasn’t allowed more than 17 points in a game, ranking second nationally to Alabama in scoring D.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: QB Everett Golson was sharp on Saturday night, but will it last? He’s still a rookie, and the overall inconsistency of the offense is a key reason why the Irish got pushed to the brink in half of this year’s games.
5. LSU 7-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers confirmed their spot as a national championship contender in the three weeks leading up to last weekend’s bye. Sure, they lost a tough game to a very good Florida squad in the Swamp, but they’ve since battled back with consecutive victories over South Carolina and Texas A&M.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: LSU is not a complete football team, keeping it from moving any higher. The defense is again terrific, ranking among the nation’s leaders, but the offense has been inconsistent, especially when QB Zach Mettenberger drops back to throw. The Tigers average just 16 points in four SEC contests.
6. Georgia 7-1
Last Week: W, Florida 17-9
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs forced six turnovers in a much-needed statement win over unbeaten Florida in Jacksonville. Georgia, thanks to a heroic effort from LB Jarvis Jones and the rest of the defense, now controls its own destiny in the SEC East, and also belongs in the national championship discussion.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Of all the one-loss contenders for Miami, Georgia’s loss is the worst, a 35-7 beatdown at the hands of a South Carolina team that has since dropped two games. The Dawgs will finish the regular season with exactly one bona fide impressive victory, meaning their growth in the rankings depends on winning the SEC title.
7. Florida 7-1
Last Week: L, Georgia 17-9
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Even in losing, the Gators defense looked as nasty and as air-tight as any in the country. They’re still the owners of a tremendous resume, including wins over Texas A&M, South Carolina and LSU, and the Cocktail Party loss to Georgia is nothing to be ashamed about.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Eventually, the inconsistent offense was going to catch up to the Gators. Eventually occurred in Week 9 against an inspired Dawgs D. Florida turned the ball over six times, amassed just 266 yards and was sacked on five occasions.
8. South Carolina 7-2
Last Week: W, Tennessee 38-35
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gamecocks snapped a two-game losing streak with a gut-check win over Tennessee in Columbia. On a day when RB Marcus Lattimore was lost to an emotionally-draining injury, South Carolina rallied behind a career passing day from Connor Shaw to remain in the hunt for a 10-win season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: South Carolina has not been the same team on the road as it has been in Columbia; witness the back-to-back losses to LSU and Florida. The team has now given up 79 points over the last two games, falling victim to the passing of Tyler Bray and catching of Zach Rogers this weekend.
9. Texas A&M 6-2
Last Week: W, Auburn 63-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: With LSU now in the rear view mirror, the Aggies got back to being the Aggies, bombarding hapless Auburn for nine offensive touchdowns and almost 700 total yards. There aren’t many teams on the A&M schedule that are going to thwart an attack that leads the SEC in most statistical categories. The Oct. 6 Ole Miss win in Oxford keeps looking better.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: When the Aggies had their shots at the two toughest teams on the schedule, Florida and LSU, they dropped both games. Worse yet, the offense was forced into neutral, averaging just 18 points in the losses.
10. Florida State 8-1
Last Week: W, Duke 48-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Seminoles have bounced back from their only defeat of the year, beating Boston College, Miami and Coastal Division-leading Duke by a comfortable margin. The Blue Devils, who arrived in Tallahassee 6-2, left Doak Campbell Stadium with a renewed appreciation of what it takes to contend in the ACC.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The NC State team that Florida State fell to on Oct. 6 is now 5-3 and a long way from being in the Top 25. The ‘Noles have just one win over a quality opponent, Clemson, which will make a sharp turn to the north difficult to accomplish.
11. Clemson 7-1
Last Week: W, Wake Forest 42-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers exorcised their Thursday night demons with a lopsided win over Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. The offense is on auto-pilot, especially now that WR Sammy Watkins is rounding back to form, scoring at least 37 points in each of the last seven games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Clemson has faced one team that’s currently ranked, but lost its battle to Florida State back on Sept. 22. There’s not a true quality win on the schedule, and not a chance to capture one until South Carolina visits Death Valley on Nov. 24.
12. Ohio State 9-0
Last Week: W, Penn State, 35-23
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Buckeyes went on the road to dispose of a red-hot Penn State team, remaining one of the six unbeaten FBS teams. The defense was outstanding, holding the Lions to just over a yard per carry, while QB Braxton Miller showed no ill-effects from last week’s whiplash.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Nine wins … just one against a ranked opponent, Nebraska. The Buckeyes are being stunted by a weak non-conference schedule and a Big Ten Conference light on powerhouses this season.
13. Oklahoma 5-2
Last Week: L, Notre Dame 30-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners’ BCS National Championship hopes are over, but their Big 12 aspirations have a flickering hope if Kansas State stumbles. Oklahoma’s only losses were to the Wildcats and the Irish, who are 16-0 combined, while back-to-back routs of Texas and Texas Tech are noteworthy.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: For the second time this season, the Sooners flopped in a big game at home. Landry Jones and the rest of his offensive mates were no match for the front seven of Notre Dame, managing 15 yards on the ground and just a single touchdown.
14. Mississippi State 7-1
Last Week: L, Alabama 38-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs couldn’t hang with Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but who can these days? This remains a terrific all-around team, one that can win with balance on offense, or a defense that creates turnovers and does a great job of defending the pass.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Okay, so the Bulldogs aren’t going to be SEC West champs, but that’ll surprise no one. The bigger issue with Mississippi State’s rankings is that it’s yet to beat anyone of significance. Its best win is over Tennessee, a team that now stands at 3-5.
15. Nebraska 6-2
Last Week: W, Michigan 23-9
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers seized control of the top spot in the Big Ten Legends Division with a crucial win over the Wolverines. Over the last four games, paced by the ground game, Nebraska has notched meaningful wins over Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan, who are all over .500.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Huskers have dropped two games on the road this season, both leaving a lingering negative effect. The first was to UCLA, a good team, but one that is not yet ranked. And the other was a 63-38 implosion in Columbus to Ohio State.
16. Stanford 6-2
Last Week: W, Washington State 24-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It wasn’t pretty, but the Cardinal got by Wazzu with help from a 10-sack effort from its defense. The program has conference wins over USC and Arizona, both ranked, and its only losses were on the road to unbeaten Notre Dame and Washington.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, Stanford got the win, but it showed more warts than positives in the process. The Cardinal were only able to manage 13 first downs and 256 yards against one of the Pac-12’s worst defenses, while the passing game has failed to make the requisite progress this fall.
17. Louisville 8-0
Last Week: W, Cincinnati 34-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinals survived their toughest test of the season on Friday night by outlasting rival Cincinnati in overtime. Behind the playmaking of QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville rallied from 10 back on two separate occasions for a Big East championship-type victory.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Louisville has yet to defeat a ranked opponent, and won’t have that opportunity until the regular season finale with Rutgers. The program has now had six close calls in a row, a show of toughness, but also a concern when Florida International and Southern Miss can’t be disposed of easier.
18. Texas Tech6-2
Last Week: L, Kansas State 55-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Red Raiders have lost to two very good teams this season, Oklahoma and Kansas State. They’ve also blown out West Virginia and beaten TCU in Fort Worth to earn their spot in the Top 25.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense has now been gutted for 108 points in the last two games. After starting strong in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, the Red Raiders were overwhelmed in a game that became increasingly lopsided as the final gun approached.
19. Arizona 5-3
Last Week: W, USC 39-36
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats have won back-to-back games, the latest over top 10 USC serving as the statement variety. Plus, all three of their losses, Oregon, Oregon State and Stanford, came versus ranked opponents. Rich Rodriguez has his offense on auto-pilot, cranking out 553 yards per game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Defense is still a big concern in Tucson, and probably will be until 2013. Arizona is humming, but is an incomplete overall program that ranks 110th in the country in total defense, and is having problems getting to the quarterback.
20. USC 6-2
Last Week: L, Arizona 39-36
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans boast one of the nation’s premier offenses, a diverse attack led by QB Matt Barkley. Record-setting WR Marqise Lee is NFL-ready in less than two years, and the balance of the supporting cast is fast and dangerous.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Troy is like a fancy car with a bad engine. Yeah, the team looks great getting off the bus and on NFL Draft charts, but for the second time this fall, it lost to a team with less overall talent. When it had to step up and make a stop, the Trojan D couldn’t deliver, leaving the team vulnerable in the Pac-12 South.
21. Northwestern 7-2
Last Week: W, Iowa 28-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats remained in contention for a 10-win season by getting past Iowa over the weekend. Northwestern is winning games on the ground—both on offense and defense—and its two losses were to quality opponents, Penn State and Nebraska by an average of six points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Who has Northwestern beaten en route to its 7-2 mark? None of the Wildcats’ victims are ranked. Heck, it’s still possible that none of them will bowl, with only Minnesota sporting a record better than .500.
22. Oregon State 6-1
Last Week: L, Washington 20-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It feels like a long time ago, but the Beavers do own wins over Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona, all of whom have raised their profiles since September. The defense remains top-notch, leading the Pac-12 at just 17 points per game allowed.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: As good as the Huskies have been in Seattle, they’re still a .500 squad that just snapped a three-game losing streak at Oregon State’s expense. The Beavers need to figure out what’s going on with the offense, which was hamstrung by four Sean Mannion picks, and has been spotty all year.
23. UCLA 6-2
Last Week: W, Arizona State 45-43
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bruins might be still finding themselves, but the offense is working for the first time in several years, ranking 12th in the country. The win over Nebraska is looking better and better, but the thriller at Arizona State could be the springboard for the team’s confidence.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The loss to Cal is looking worse and worse. Call it an aberration, but the Bruins getting blasted 43-17 was one of the worst losses in the Pac-12 season. The tests are coming up with Arizona, USC and Stanford all at home, and if this team is for real, it wins at least two of them.
24. Michigan 5-3
Last Game: L, Nebraska 23-9
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wolverines have now lost three games in 2012, all outside of Ann Arbor to very good opponents. Alabama and Notre Dame are two of the last six unbeaten teams in the country, and Saturday’s loss in Lincoln came with QB Denard Robinson injured on the sidelines for more than half the game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Three losses are still three losses. Michigan is now in danger of not even winning its division in a league that’s experiencing a down year. The offense has had a disturbing penchant for disappearing, scoring no more than 14 points in half of this year’s games.
25. Louisiana Tech 7-1
Last Week: W, New Mexico State 28-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs are No. 2 nationally in total offense and scoring, fueled by the heroics of veteran QB Colby Cameron and rookie RB Kenneth Dixon. Tech’s only loss of the year was a two-pointer to Texas A&M, a top 10 team out of the SEC.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: If you’re a one-loss WAC team aiming to remain ranked, style points most definitely matter. Louisiana Tech was never really threatened by New Mexico State in Las Cruces, but was still held to a season-low point total by a 1-7 opponent.
- CFN Week 9 Rankings
No. 26 to 124