CFN 2012 Rankings
Nov. 25, Week 13
2012 BCS Rankings
- 2012 AP Rankings
2012 Coaches' Poll
Scoreboard & Game Recaps
- CFN Week 13 Rankings
No. 26 to 124
1. Notre Dame 12-0
Last Week: W, USC 22-13
Why Notre Dame Should Be No. 1: The Irish are the last of the unbeaten eligible contenders, navigating a schedule many thought in the preseason would be loaded it was loaded with landmines. It was, but that couldn’t stop Notre Dame from clearing every hurdle behind a championship-caliber D and an improving offense. Those wins over Stanford and Oklahoma look pretty good now that both are a win away from a BCS bowl game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It was the narrow escapes, attributable to the play of the offense, which really haunted the Irish earlier in the year. Purdue by three. BYU by three. Pitt in triple-overtime. And Boston College in lethargic fashion. There were certainly times this season when Notre Dame didn’t play like a top 10 squad, let alone one that should be top-ranked.
2. Georgia 11-1
Last Week: W, Georgia Tech 42-10
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: With six consecutive wins, the Bulldogs are positioned for a shot at an SEC and a national championship. The defense, in particular, has been operating at a different level, holding the last five opponents to no more than 14 points. Georgia dominated rival Georgia Tech to end any notion that it’d be looking ahead to Alabama in Atlanta next week.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Dawgs have gotten back in contention on the backs of marginal competition. In fact, they’ve beaten just a single ranked team all year, Florida, on Oct. 27. Georgia has to defeat the Crimson Tide next week to be taken seriously as the nation’s top-ranked program.
3. Alabama 11-1
Last Week: W, Auburn 49-0
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: The Crimson Tide did exactly what it was supposed to in the Iron Bowl, schooling overmatched Auburn in the series’ worst beatdown in 64 years. ‘Bama hasn’t allowed a point in more than eight quarters, setting up a winner-take-all matchup with Georgia for an SEC crown and a spot in the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship Game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: How will the Tide perform once the competition level spikes dramatically next weekend? Sure, Alabama pitched consecutive shutouts, but that was against Western Carolina and struggling Auburn. In the previous two weeks, ‘Bama was made to look rather ordinary in a comeback win over LSU and a home loss to Texas A&M.
4. Oregon 11-1
Last Week: W, Oregon State 48-24
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: Welcome back, Ducks. In a game pegged as a landmine all year, Oregon maintained its dominance over its ranked rival, using nearly 600 yards to blow out Oregon State in Corvallis. Fueled on the ground by Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas, it gashed a Beavers D that began the game No. 14 nationally versus the run.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, the Ducks were impressive on Saturday at Reser Stadium, but where else have they stood out against a top-shelf opponent? Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech comprised the non-conference slate, and this year’s biggest surprise in the Pac-12, UCLA, did not appear on the regular season schedule.
5. Florida 11-1
Last Week: W, Florida State 37-26
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Go ahead and good luck finding a better résumé than Florida’s, which includes four wins over top-tier opponents, Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State. Plus, the Gators’ only loss came to the same 11-1 Georgia squad that has a shot at a national title. Few gave Florida a shot Saturday in Tallahassee, yet it rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to pull away with 24 unanswered points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Gators have had a nagging tendency to play down to the level of its competition, struggling to escape the likes of Bowling Green, Missouri and most recently Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State. This is a bad offensive team that rarely produces without help from the defense and special teams.
6. Ohio State 12-0
Last Week: W, Michigan 26-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Never underestimate the difficulty of navigating an entire 12-game schedule without suffering a loss. The Buckeyes joined exclusive company after knocking off Michigan in Columbus. Ohio State won three games against teams competing in league championship games next week, including both of the Big Ten’s combatants, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Unlike other teams that are sniffing around the top 5, the Buckeyes lack that one signature moment that stamps the program as a bona-fide threat for the pole position. The rout of Nebraska is close, but that was almost two months ago. Going unbeaten was a great achievement this season, but even Urban Meyer has admitted that this is not a great team.
7. LSU 10-2
Last Week: W, Arkansas 20-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Go ahead and toss around the idea of the Tigers being the top two-loss team in America. They’ve earned it. LSU warranted a higher slot with back-to-back wins over South Carolina and sizzling Texas A&M during a five-game stretch versus ranked opponents. Plus, its only two losses of the season came against top 10 teams, Florida and Alabama.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, it was a rivalry game, but LSU’s unimpressive win over 4-8 Arkansas on Friday was a microcosm of this school’s lack of style points all year. The Tigers also struggled with Auburn, were challenged by Towson and got dragged into a shooting match with Ole Miss. This is an overrated squad that’s light on complete games in 2012.
8. Texas A&M 10-2
Last Week: W, Missouri 59-29
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Aggies are no longer beating teams—they’re dismantling them. Seven of Texas A&M’s wins have been by at least 19 points, including three versus SEC teams. It owns what is arguably the most impressive win of the year, the Nov. 10 upset of then-No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Where was the high-octane offense in show-me games with Florida and LSU, both losses? No one ought to forget that this is the same Aggies team, which got dragged into a 59-57 shootout with a Louisiana Tech host that has since fallen to Utah State and San Jose State.
9. South Carolina 10-2
Last Week: W, Clemson 27-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Its opening day backfield on the shelf, South Carolina still found a way to stall rival Clemson’s drive toward an at-large BCS bowl berth. The Gamecocks now own red-letter wins over Georgia and the Tigers, while only losing on the road to LSU and Florida in back-to-back games in October.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Gamecocks were buried by the Gators, and did not play very well against the Tigers, blocking them from moving much higher. The offense got a big game from reserve QB Dylan Thompson, but it remains an iffy attack that would get shut down by some of the better defenses in the top 10.
10. Stanford 10-2
Last Week: W, UCLA 35-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Few teams are hotter right now than the Cardinal, who’ve used a stout defense to shut down Oregon and UCLA in consecutive weeks. It’s also defeated USC and Arizona to rise to the head of the Pac-12 class, and a red-hot San Jose State team that finished the regular season with 10 wins. Stanford took unbeaten Notre Dame to overtime in South Bend before losing, 20-13.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Of the two-loss contenders, the Cardinal sports one of the less appealing defeats, to unranked Washington. The Cardinal is a watered-down edition of the Irish, a stout squad with an erratic, redshirt freshman-led offensive attack. If someone can stop RB Stepfan Taylor, this team will be in trouble.
11. Florida State 10-2
Last Week: L, Florida 37-26
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Atlantic Division champs will be heavily favored to go on and win the ACC championship next week. Florida State is a 10-win team whose only losses of the year have come against 7-5 NC State and the one-loss Gators. The defense remains one of the stingiest in the country.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Seminoles got exposed as somewhat overrated over the weekend. Florida was ripe for the picking, and the game was at Doak Campbell Stadium, yet Florida State allowed it to slip away with an epic fourth-quarter implosion. The ‘Noles have a single quality win all season, the defeat of Clemson all the way back on Sept. 22.
12. Clemson 10-2
Last Week: L, South Carolina 27-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers’ only losses of the season came against top 15 teams, South Carolina and Florida State. The offense, despite sputtering too often on Saturday night, is still one of the most prolific in the country, balancing out more than 500 yards a game behind the passing of Tajh Boyd and the running of Andre Ellington.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Clemson got exposed at home as a team that’s only as good as its competition. The Tigers played two tough opponents all year … and lost both of the games. In the other 10, it got fat against marginal non-conference and ACC foes.
13. Kansas State 10-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats are still the team to beat in the Big 12 Conference, a concept that seemed overly optimistic before the season began. Led by Heisman contender Collin Klein and an opportunistic D, K-State is one of the final one-loss teams in the FBS, and has beaten both of its league’s talented Oklahoma schools, the Sooners and the Cowboys.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: There are losses and then there are losses that expose a team as overrated. The Cats suffered the latter in Waco two weeks ago, getting thoroughly outclassed in all phases by then-sub-.500 Baylor, 52-24. There’s little Kansas State can do going forward erase the image of its lopsided defeat.
14. Oklahoma 9-2
Last Week: W, Oklahoma State 51-48
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners survived a second-straight shootout, outlasting the Cowboys in a Bedlam game that’ll go down in the annals of the rivalry. Oklahoma, behind the aerial heroics of QB Landry Jones, is learning how to win nail-biters as it moves a step closer to a BCS bowl berth. OU’s only losses have come against two of the nation’s top teams, Kansas State and Notre Dame.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The wheels are off the Stoops brothers’ defense. Oklahoma has been unable to keep pace with the tempo and speed of West Virginia and Oklahoma State the last two weekends, yielding 97 points and more than 1,300 total yards combined.
15. UCLA 9-3
Last Week: L, Stanford 35-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: When games have mattered to the Bruins, they’ve delivered, winning five straight before playing in Saturday’s meaningless game with the Cardinal. UCLA owns a win over Nebraska, which is favored to win the Big Ten, and outclassed Arizona and USC to capture the division.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Forget the circumstances, like the Bruins having wrapped up the Pac-12 South already. UCLA got mauled at home by the same team it’ll face on Friday night, allowing QB Brett Hundley to be sacked seven times. It also can’t escape the fact that it lost badly on Oct. 6 to a Cal team whose season ended a week ago at 3-9.
16. Nebraska 10-2
Last Week: W, Iowa 13-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers’ journey to Indianapolis is complete. Unbeaten since Oct. 6, Nebraska captured the Legends Division ahead of Michigan with Friday’s hard-fought victory at Iowa. Big Red’s only two losses of the season came on the road at ranked opponents, UCLA and Ohio State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Huskers have faced a dearth of ranked teams this fall, just two in fact at the time that they played one another. Nebraska did defeat the Wolverines on Oct. 27, 23-9, but was manhandled by the Buckeyes earlier in the month, 63-38, in an outcome that has clearly limited its upward potential.
17. Michigan 8-4
Last Game: L, Ohio State 26-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: If “good losses” were an aroma, the Wolverines would be reeking of it as the regular season comes to an end. Michigan has fallen to four of the country’s best teams this fall, Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State, while taking care of business in its other eight contests.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Michigan should be ranked, but scaling any higher would require them to have beaten one of the better teams on the schedule. The Wolverines dropped their four toughest games on the schedule. Their best win? Northwestern, and it required a frantic rally and OT … in the Big House.
18. Oklahoma State 7-4
Last Week: L, Oklahoma 51-48
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cowboys put up a valiant effort in Bedlam before falling to the Sooners in Norman, 51-48, in a game that required an extra session. Oklahoma State has lost to four teams that are postseason bound, while overcoming a merry-go-round behind center to score at least 48 points in each of the last three games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: When faced with the four best teams on the slate, the Pokes bowed to each of them, Arizona, Texas, Kansas State and Oklahoma. The offense may be Top 25-caliber, but the D has not been, allowing at least 41 points four different times this fall.
19. Northwestern 9-3
Last Week: W, Illinois 50-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats added an exclamation point to an outstanding regular season, pounding rival Illinois for all four quarters. All of Northwestern’s three losses this season were against quality Big Ten opponents, Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan, and by an average margin of fewer than seven points per game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Admittedly, early-season wins over Vanderbilt and Syracuse have gotten better with age, but Northwestern still hasn’t taken down a major opponent this season. Its best Big Ten win of 2012 came against Michigan State, an underachieving team that straddled the .500 fence all season.
20. Oregon State 8-3
Last Week: L, Oregon 48-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Beavers have beaten a pair of teams that’ll be participating in conference championship games next week, Wisconsin of the Big Ten and UCLA of the Pac-12. Their three losses were against teams that’ll be bowling this winter, at Washington by three points, at Stanford by four points and Saturday versus the Ducks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oregon State has cooled following a fast start, losing three of its last five games. While the meetings with the Huskies and the Cardinal were certainly competitive, this past weekend’s blowout loss at home ought to stunt their upward mobility. The Beavers’ vaunted run D got exposed by Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas and the rest of the Ducks ground game.
21. Penn State 8-4
Last Week: W, Wisconsin 24-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Nittany Lions added an exclamation to a most remarkable 2012 season, beating Leaders Division representative Wisconsin in overtime. Penn State went 6-2 in Big Ten play, with the key moments coming this past weekend and back on Oct. 6 when 9-3 Northwestern fell in Happy Valley, 39-28.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: There’s the win over Northwestern … and not a whole lot else to get jacked about. The Badgers aren’t very good at 7-5, and the September losses to Ohio and Virginia may have been eons ago, but cannot be dismissed from the equation.
22. TCU 7-4
Last Week: W, Texas 20-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Horned Frogs just got done proving that they belong in the Big 12 by ending the Longhorns’ at-large BCS bowl bid hopes in Austin on Thanksgiving night. TCU has also beaten West Virginia in Morgantown in a double-overtime classic, and held K-State well below its season scoring average earlier in the month.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Frogs’ most impressive non-conference win came over 4-8 Virginia. Even after upsetting Texas on Thursday, TCU is still below .500 in Big 12 play, having lost to average, unranked opponents from Iowa State and Texas Tech … in Fort Worth.
23. Texas 8-3
Last Week: L, TCU 20-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The ‘Horns own a pair of four-game winning streaks this season, and victories over Oklahoma State and the Baylor team that handed K-State its only loss. The defense has successfully corrected the problems that plagued it in October, holding the last four opponents to an average of 17 points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: With a possible at-large BCS bowl berth hanging in the balance, Texas flopped at home Thanksgiving night to a TCU team that began the weekend losers of four of its previous six games. The Longhorns have also fallen to a skidding West Virginia team and to rival Oklahoma in a bloodletting, 63-21.
24. USC 7-5
Last Week: L, Notre Dame 22-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans earned quality wins over Washington and Arizona State, a pair of Pac-12 teams that finished the year on high notes, and with bowl bids. USC didn’t lose to a bad team all year, falling to five opponents that were ranked at one time this year, Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and Notre Dame.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Poorly-coached. Poor fundamentals. And, predictably, a poor record for the team that began the year ranked No. 1 in many circles. The Trojans finished the regular season as pretenders, losing four of their final five games, and rarely impressing in the process.
25. Northern Illinois 11-1
Last Week: W, Eastern Michigan 49-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskies are rolling into the MAC title game, winners of 11 straight games for the third straight year. Spearheaded by dual-threat QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois is among the nation’s highest-scoring offenses as well as one of stingiest defenses.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Sure, the Huskies lost just once, but that was to a bad Iowa team that finished the year 4-8. They also beat Army by one and Kansas by seven in two of their other three non-conference games. A quality program from a major league would expose this Northern Illinois team.
- CFN Week 13 Rankings
No. 26 to 124