Week 12 CFN Rankings - The Top 25

Posted Nov 18, 2012

Week 12 CFN Rankings - The Top 25. Where do all the SEC teams belong?

CFN 2012 Rankings

Nov. 18, Week 12

- 2012 BCS Rankings
- 2012 AP Rankings
- 2012 Coaches' Poll
- Scoreboard & Game Recaps

   - CFN Week 12 Rankings No. 26 to 124

1. Notre Dame 11-0
Last Week: W, Wake Forest 38-0
Why Notre Dame Should Be No. 1: The Irish moved to 11-0 for the first time since 1989, easily disposing of Wake Forest. The defense held a sixth opponent this season to no more than 10 points, while the offense got a huge day from QB Everett Golson and 584 total yards from the offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Notre Dame has had too many close calls this season, the result of an offense that lacks pop and consistency. With voters looking for more style points, the Irish have only been able to deliver one time, at Oklahoma on Oct. 27. Right now, the Irish should be No. 1, but this uneven team might not be able to get by either Alabama or Georgia, especially on offense, when Nick Saban or Mark Richt has a month to prepare.

2. Georgia 10-1
Last Week: W, Georgia Southern 45-14
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: Georgia got a chance to work on the little things this week before closing out the season with rival Georgia Tech in Athens and Alabama in the SEC title game. The East Division champs have won five straight behind a suffocating D that has put it all together in the second half of the year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: No Alabama. No LSU. No Mississippi State. The Bulldogs caught a huge scheduling break by facing Ole Miss and Auburn from the West Division. In fact, Georgia will have a lot to prove against the Tide in two weeks after playing a regular-season slate that was littered with mediocrity, with rare exceptions.

3. Alabama 10-1
Last Week: W, Western Carolina 49-0
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: After pitching a third shutout of the season, the Crimson Tide now leads the country at just 10 points per game yielded. ‘Bama owns two quality wins outside of Tuscaloosa over ranked teams, Michigan and LSU, and its loss was to a sizzling squad from Texas A&M.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While the aggregate defensive numbers are fantastic, the Crimson Tide D appeared mortal at times in back-to-back games with LSU and Texas A&M. Regardless of the situation or the circumstances, ‘Bama still lost at Bryant-Denny Stadium two weeks ago … to an opponent led by a freshman quarterback and a first-year head coach.

4. Oregon 10-1
Last Week: L, Stanford 17-14
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: The injury-riddled Ducks had one off night, and paid the price with a first loss of the season. This remains the nation's most explosive offense behind Marcus Mariota, Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas, a unit capable of hanging 50 points on just about anyone in America.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: You can't fall at home to a two-loss Stanford and expect to compete for a national championship. The Ducks' supposed big moment came two weeks ago against USC, which wound up being awful and out of the mix entirely in the Pac-12 South.

5. Clemson 10-1
Last Week: W, NC State 62-48
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It's looking obvious that no one is going to stop the Clemson offense this season. The Tigers gained 754 yards, while QB Tajh Boyd had his hand in all eight touchdowns, as the team rolled to a seventh consecutive victory. Yeah, they lost to Florida State on Sept. 22, but there's no question who the hotter team is right now.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The 2011 defense made an appearance on Saturday, raising concerns about the next two games with South Carolina and a yet-to-be-determined bowl opponent. The Tigers yielded five touchdown passes to Mike Glennon and more than 100 yards to RB Shadrach Thornton, needing to get bailed out by Boyd & Co.

6. Texas A&M 9-2
Last Week: W, Sam Houston State 47-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: No game better defines one of the nation's hottest teams than the 29-24 upset of top-ranked Alabama two weeks ago. The Aggies are rolling behind QB Johnny Manziel, norming almost 44 points a game. Their only two losses were at the hands of one-loss Florida and two-loss LSU by eight combined points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Aggies are getting little help from their non-conference schedule. A&M has now beaten SMU, South Carolina State, Louisiana Tech and Sam Houston State. And that Tech win lost some luster after the Bulldogs fell at home to Utah State.

7. Florida State 10-1
Last Week: W, Maryland 41-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Yes, we know – Florida State beat Clemson. With its lopsided win in College Park, Florida State won the Atlantic Division of the ACC. The Seminoles are two points away from being perfect this fall, losing in Raleigh on Oct. 6. Home to the nation's top-ranked D, they're allowing just 13 points a game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Beating Clemson on Sept. 22 was impressive, but that was a long time ago. It was also the only time this season that the ‘Noles faced a ranked opponent, shedding light on a very soft schedule that included games with Murray State and Savannah State of the FCS.

8. Ohio State 11-0
Last Week: W, Wisconsin 21-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: No carrot, no problem. Wisconsin may be the Leaders Division representative in the Big Ten championship, but Ohio State still travelled up to Madison to win a gut-check game in overtime. Still unbeaten, the Buckeyes showed that they can win with defense for a change, getting Herculean efforts out of LB Ryan Shazier and DE John Simon.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Beating the Badgers at Camp Randall isn't the achievement it was in recent years, and there have been too few breakthrough moments as the Buckeyes have faced a soft schedule in 2012. Heck, even in wins over sub-.500 Cal, Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue, Ohio State had a difficult time putting inferior opponents away.

9. LSU 9-2
Last Week: W, Ole Miss 41-35
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: On an afternoon when the defense didn't show up, the Tigers proved they can battle back with offense and special teams. The attack produced four rushing touchdowns, three from Jeremy Hill, and Odell Beckham's 89-yard punt return for six in the fourth quarter was clutch. Victories over Texas A&M and, to a lesser extent, Washington have improved with time.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense needs to tighten up after allowing five plays of at least 25 yards to Ole Miss, and needing to rally at home for the win. The old Zach Mettenberger is back, throwing a couple of picks and no touchdown passes over the weekend.

10. South Carolina 9-2
Last Week: W, Wofford 24-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gamecocks finished in second place in the SEC East, whipping champion Georgia, 35-7, on Oct. 6. South Carolina's only two losses of 2012 came on the road against a pair of top 10 teams, LSU and Florida.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It's not so much that South Carolina and the Tigers and the Gators, a couple of this season's heavyweights, but how it went down on Oct. 20. The Gamecocks turned the ball over four times in Gainesville, and accounted for only 191 yards in a telling 44-11 loss that's been tough to overcome.

11. Florida 10-1
Last Week: W, Jacksonville State 23-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The defense has been a rock from the opener, pitching a second shutout of the season on Saturday. The Gators own statement wins over Texas A&M, LSU and South Carolina, and their only loss came versus SEC East champ Georgia by a 17-9 margin.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: In terms of the proverbial eye test, Florida has been unsightly over the past four games. Sure, the Gators won three of them, but the offense continues to be downright feeble, especially in the last two games versus Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State. They scored just one offensive touchdown on these Gamecocks, a team that allowed 49 points to Tennessee-Martin two weeks ago.

12. Oklahoma8-2
Last Week: W, West Virginia 50-49
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners have won three straight since losing on Oct. 27, capped by an absolute thriller in Morgantown on Saturday night. Landry Jones threw for six touchdown passes, including the game-winner with 24 seconds left, and a school-record 554 yards. Oklahoma has only lost to Notre Dame and Kansas State, who are 21-1 combined.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense was a complete mess against the Mountaineers, allowing a staggering 778 yards in the win. Oklahoma was no match for the speed of West Virginia, looking as if was rooted in the turf as Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey blazed on by.

13. Texas 8-2
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Longhorns have done well to rebound from back-to-back losses midway through the season, capturing their last four games. Winning in Stillwater and in Lubbock have been the high points for a program that's beginning to get better play from QB David Ash and the defense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Both of Texas' losses should come with a warning label because they're hazardous to the team's BCS health. The Oct. 6 defeat to West Virginia keeps getting worse as the 5-4 Mountaineers sink into a deeper ditch. And the ‘Horns didn't just lose the Red River Shootout; they were pummeled by Oklahoma, 63-21.

14. Stanford 9-2
Last Week: W, Oregon 17-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinal did the unexpected and shook up the BCS standings with Saturday night's upset of the Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Led by the nation's second-ranked run D, the entire defense was terrific, holding Oregon more than 40 points below its season scoring average. Stanford has now taken control of the Pac-12 North by beating Oregon State and Oregon in consecutive bail-biters.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Of the two-loss contenders, Stanford owns one of the worst defeats, to unranked Washington. The Cardinal is a lesser version of Notre Dame, a stout squad with a questionable offensive attack. It ranks 85th nationally on offense, and is usually good for no more than 21 points per game against decent competition.

15. UCLA 9-2
Last Week: W, USC 38-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Pac-12's Texas A&M, UCLA has caught fire at a most opportune time of the season. The Bruins have won five in a row, punctuating their revitalization with a South Division-sealing defeat of rival USC. The Week 2 win over Nebraska may be long forgotten by some, but it's carrying plenty of weight now that the Huskers are 9-2.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Bruins have dropped a pair of games this fall, to Oregon State and Cal. The Beavers aren't what they appeared to be back in September, and the Bears have wallowed near the bottom of the Pac-12 all year.

16. Nebraska 9-2
Last Week: W, Minnesota 38-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers remained in control of the Big Ten Legends Division by winning for the fifth straight game. They dominated the Gophers both offensively and defensively, getting 308 yards and two touchdowns through the air from Taylor Martinez. Nebraska's two losses have come against UCLA and Ohio State, who are 20-2 combined.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Nebraska will have a hard time living down the aforementioned loss to the Buckeyes in Columbus. The Huskers were in the game for the first 20 minutes before getting stampeded for 63 points and 371 yards on the ground.

17. Kansas State 10-1
Last Week: L, Baylor 52-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Both of the Big 12's hot Oklahoma teams, the Sooners and the Cowboys, fell to Kansas State earlier in the year. Despite what happened in Waco on Saturday night, the Cats are still going to win the conference and head to a BCS bowl game if they can defeat Texas at home two weeks from now.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It took longer than most expected, but the Cats finally got exposed … and badly. K-State looked slow and overmatched against Baylor, which began the weekend a game below .500. Heck, even the offense has misfired lately, averaging just 23 points over the last two games.

18. Mississippi State 8-3
Last Week: W, Arkansas 45-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: With the schedule finally taking a much-needed breather, the Bulldogs got a chance to remind folks of their sizable potential. They whipped up on the Hogs in Starkville behind four Tyler Russell touchdown passes and five defensive turnovers.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Mississippi State is a very nice football team, but who has it beaten? Tennessee? Auburn? Arkansas? Plus, in its three toughest games with Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU, State barely put up a fight, falling by an average of 25 points per game.

19. Oregon State 8-2
Last Week: W, Cal 62-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Beavers rebounded from a tough loss to Stanford, which now controls the Pac-12 North, to blow out Cal. Oregon State has also defeated South Division champ UCLA, more than holding its own against the league's best this fall.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Although the Beavers have improved their resume with a handful of notable wins early in the season, the Oct. 27 loss to Washington will stunt their growth in the standings. The Huskies have been hovering around .500 for most of the season, and only perked up when the schedule softened dramatically.

20. Arizona 7-4
Last Week: W, Utah 34-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats have been relatively predictable all season, taking care of business when they need, yet falling to the best in the Pac-12. All four of Arizona's losses have come against first-division opponents, with no more than two losses on the year, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: True quality wins have been scarce for the Cats, especially as USC has gone south. Plus, in the two losses to the Ducks and the Bruins, they were obliterated by a combined score of 115-10.

21. Michigan 8-3
Last Game: W, Iowa 42-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wolverines kept the heat on Nebraska in the Legends Division with Saturday's resounding win over Iowa. Winners of three straight, Michigan has been terrific with Devin Gardner behind center, and have only lost to Alabama, Notre Dame and the Huskers, who are all presently ranked.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: In its three show-me games this season, Michigan played poorly, averaging less than 10 points in the losses to the Tide, Irish and Huskers. The Wolverines' best win of 2012 came over Northwestern in a game that required OT, meaning next week's trip to Columbus will be crucial for the maize and blue.

22. Oklahoma State 7-3
Last Week: W, Texas Tech 59-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: While there were some bumps in the road early on, the Cowboys have regrouped swimmingly to move four games above .500. They've quietly taken five of the last six games, cranking out 114 points in the last two behind the passing of third-stringer Clint Chelf.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Against the three best teams on the schedule, Oklahoma State lost to each of them, Arizona, Texas and Kansas State. In fact, the Cowboys have generally gotten fat on mediocre opponent, such as fading squads from TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech.

23. Northwestern 8-3
Last Week: W, Michigan State 23-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats went on the road to tough out an impressive win over the Spartans in East Lansing. Its hopes for a 10-win campaign still very much alive, Northwestern's only losses have come against ranked teams, Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan, by an average margin of only 6.3 points per game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Like so many Big Ten teams this year, the Cats are being victimized by a soft schedule. There's not a lot of refrigerator material on the 2012 slate. Vanderbilt? Syracuse? Northwestern had to deliver in one of its marquee games in order to elevate any higher.

24. USC 7-4
Last Week: L, UCLA 38-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans are more about the potential than the product on the field. No one can deny that this program has Top 25 talent, even if the coaching staff has been unable to coordinate it into a consistent winner. The passing game alone, which has produced 37 touchdown passes, keeps USC in every game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Three losses in the last four games have ended hopes of capturing the South Division, let alone the entire Pac-12. Monte Kiffin's defense is horrendous, yielding an average of 46 points in those recent defeats. Troy's best wins of the year have come against Syracuse, Washington and Arizona State, the sign of a mid-level program.

25. Penn State 7-4
Last Week: W, Indiana 45-22
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Nittany Lions had few problems with the same Hoosiers team that only lost by three to Ohio State on Oct. 13. Penn State has only lost twice since Week 2, handing Northwestern one of its three losses back on Oct. 6.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: There's the win over the Wildcats … and not a whole lot else of substance from Penn State. It's defeated a bunch of disappointing teams to get here, and those losses to Ohio and Virginia in the first two weeks have only gotten worse with time.  
- CFN Week 12 Rankings No. 26 to 124