Week 14 CFN Rankings - Top 25

Posted Dec 2, 2012

The CollegeFootballNews.com rankings after Week 14

CFN 2012 Rankings

Dec. 2, Week 14

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

 - CFN Week 14 Rankings No. 26 to 124
1. Notre Dame 12-0
Last Week: Regular Season Over
Why Notre Dame Should Be No. 1: The Irish are the last of the unbeaten eligible contenders, navigating a slate of games that appeared to be daunting when the season began. Spearheaded by one of the nation's stingiest defenses, Notre Dame defeated 10 teams that were bowl-eligible, including Michigan, Pac-12 champ Stanford, 10-2 Oklahoma in Norman and USC is the Coliseum.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The doubts and skepticism regarding ND come from two angles: The offense has been held to no more than 22 points in seven of 12 games. And close calls with mediocre opponents, such as Purdue, BYU and Pittsburgh, cast the Irish as an overrated team that was ripe to be picked off.

2. Alabama 12-1
Last Week: W, Georgia 32-28
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: After not even appearing in the game a year ago, the Crimson Tide is the king of the SEC, the premier conference in college football. ‘Bama went toe-to-toe with Georgia right down to the final seconds, holding on in arguably the most compelling and physical game of the year. Its only loss was to a 10-win Texas A&M team that only lost to LSU and Florida.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Tide showed some holes on defense in the Georgia Dome that Notre Dame will look to expose on Jan. 7. ‘Bama's tackling was poor at times, and that final, Aaron Murray-led drive really never should have happened. This is a very good football team, but it would lose by 10 points to the 2011 national champions.

3. Georgia 11-2
Last Week: L, Alabama 32-28
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs had a chance to unseat the defending national champs, right down to the waning seconds of the SEC Championship Game. It fell short, but showed just how close it is to being the top team in America. The two teams Georgia has lost to this season, Alabama and South Carolina, are 22-3 entering the postseason.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Up 21-10 midway through the third quarter, Georgia collapsed, especially on defense. The Dawgs got trucked on the ground, blown off the line of scrimmage by the Alabama front wall. Their other loss, to South Carolina, was an embarrassing 35-7 affair. Who, other than Florida, has Georgia beaten in 2012? Vandy? Ole Miss?

4. Oregon 11-1
Last Week: Regular Season Over
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: The Ducks were unbeaten in regulation this season, losing only to Pac-12 champion Stanford in overtime on Nov. 17. Oregon is just one of two teams in the FBS averaging more than 50 points a game, allowing it to pummel Arizona, USC and Oregon State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The lineup of victims this season won't cause whiplash. Sure, doubling up the nine-win Beavers in Corvallis stood out, but where are the Ducks' other red-letter moments? Arizona and USC are just 7-5, and there were no powerhouse opponents on the non-conference slate.

5. Florida 11-1
Last Week: Regular Season Over
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: There isn't a team in America with a quartet of better than the Gators, who bested four 10-win heavyweights, Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State. The defense has been a rock from start to finish, giving up just five touchdown passes in a dozen games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Gators are Notre Dame with a loss. The offense is highly unreliable, averaging only 338 yards per game, and the team has a penchant for playing to the level of the competition. During a three-game swing in November, Florida narrowly escaped 5-7 Missouri, needed a blocked punt in the final seconds to beat Louisiana-Lafayette and managed just one offensive touchdown against Jacksonville State.

6. Ohio State 12-0
Last Week: Regular Has Ended
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Buckeyes are one of just two FBS teams that have not been beaten in 2012. The other is playing in the BCS National Championship Game. The team that just took part in the Big Ten Championship Game, 10-win Nebraska, lost to Ohio State on Oct. 6, 63-38.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Sweeping through a Big Ten schedule isn't what it used to be. Unlike other schools that are hovering around the top 5, Ohio State doesn't own a victory over a team that was ever threatening for national championship contention. Heck, the Buckeyes never had to face a top 10 team this fall, and were nearly tagged by 3-9 Cal, 4-8 Indiana and 6-6 Purdue.

7. LSU 10-2
Last Week: Regular Season Over
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers went through the SEC gauntlet, and wound up only losing to one-loss Florida and SEC champ Alabama by 12 points combined. They also defeated a couple of talented 10-win teams, South Carolina and Texas A&M, en route to their own 10-win campaign.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The D may be top 10 timber, but the offense is not. In fact, LSU ranks 90th in the country in passing. The Tigers lacked consistency throughout the year, barely getting by 3-9 Auburn, 12-10, and laboring to put away 6-6 Ole Miss and 4-8 Arkansas in the final two weekends of the regular season.

8. Texas A&M 10-2
Last Week: Regular Season Over
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Few teams in America are playing better than the Aggies as the regular season comes to an end. They've won five straight by an average of 24 points, including the epic upset of SEC champion Alabama on Nov. 10. Not only has the Johnny Manziel-led offense reached 58 points five times, but the D played much better in the second half of the year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Where was the incendiary offense in critical 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. A&M also played a pair of FCS teams in non-conference, South Carolina State and Sam Houston State.

9. South Carolina 10-2
Last Week: Regular Season Over
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gamecocks showed their mettle and toughness two weeks ago, going to Death Valley to stop Clemson's seven-game winning streak with a backup quarterback under center. They also routed SEC runner-up Georgia on Oct. 6, 35-7, and only lost to a pair of 10-win SEC powers, LSU and Florida, on the road.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: South Carolina owns arguably the ugliest loss among the 10-2 programs, falling to the Gators, 44-11, on a day it turned the ball over four times. Heck, Florida didn't put up as many as 44 points on anyone else all season. The ‘Cocks had problems with the ball throughout the fall, saddled by an O-line that ranked last in the SEC in sacks allowed.

10. Stanford 11-2
Last Week: W, UCLA 27-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It was a whole lot tougher than last week's meeting with the Bruins, but the Cardinal survived to earn its first Rose Bowl berth since 1999. Stanford has won seven straight since falling in overtime to top-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend on Oct. 13. Over the last four memorable weeks, it has run the Pac-12 gauntlet, beating Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA … twice in six days.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It was a long time ago, yes, but Stanford continues to be haunted by its first loss of the season, to unranked Washington. The Huskies are just 7-5, having inexcusably lost to lowly Washington State in the Apple Cup two weeks ago.

11. Kansas State 11-1
Last Week: W, Texas 42-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats came out of their bye week, and off their only loss, to jet past Texas and capture the Big 12 championship. The Sept. 22 upset of Oklahoma in Norman kept getting better and better as the Sooners rolled to 10-2, and the loss to Baylor not quite as unseemly now that the Bears are bowl-eligible.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While not quite as bad as it looked two weeks ago, you can't lose to then-sub. 500 Baylor, 52-24, and expect to be in the top 10. The Cats struggled with the speed of the Bears, and would also bow to the physicality of Notre Dame and some of the SEC's best teams.

12. Oklahoma10-2
Last Week: W, TCU 24-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: With no margin left after losing to Notre Dame on Oct. 27, the Sooners won their final five games to never stray from BCS bowl contention. Back in the familiar position of being a 10-win team, Oklahoma won a share of the Big 12 title, while only losing to the Irish and Kansas State, who are 23-1 combined.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While the Oklahoma defense recovered in Waco against the freshman-led TCU attack, this is still a defense that needs a lot of work in pre-bowl preparations. In the three games leading up to this weekend, it gave up 131 points, while missing a ton of tackles and assignments.

13. Florida State 11-2
Last Week: W, Georgia Tech 21-15
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: For the first time since 2005, Florida State is one again looking down on the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles defeated a very good Clemson team back in September, and was going stride-for-stride with No. 5 Florida two weeks ago before running out of gas in the final quarter.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Winning the ACC was a must for the ‘Noles in 2012, but it won't earn them any additional national respect. The Clemson win was a very long time ago, and since then, Florida State's best wins came over a spate of 7-5 and 6-6 teams. It also fell to NC State, a team that wound up canning its coach, Tom O'Brien.

14. Clemson 10-2
Last Week: Regular Season Over
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Clemson's only losses of the year came at the hands of fellow 10-win teams, South Carolina and ACC champion Florida State. The offense ranks among the most potent in America, leading the conference with 518 yards and 42 points per game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Tigers got taken down a peg in their own building, 27-17, by the depleted Gamecocks in the regular season finale. They had two marquee opportunities to make statements in 2012, and fell short in both cases. Clemson got the better of just five bowl-eligible teams, the best being 7-5 NC State.

15. UCLA 9-4
Last Week: L, Stanford 27-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bruins gave Stanford all it could handle on Friday night before falling when Ka'Imi Fairbairn's field goal attempt stayed left in the waning seconds. UCLA have manufactured a terrific season under rookie head coach Jim Mora, beating Big Ten champion Nebraska, Arizona in a rout and USC to cop the Pac-12 South.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Losing twice to the Cardinal in six days is nothing to be ashamed about, but it does prove that there's a hard cap on how high the Bruins can ascend in the rankings. There's also the business of Oct. 6, the day UCLA got trounced, 43-17, by a Cal team that wound up finishing the season 3-9 and with a fired head coach.

16. Wisconsin 8-5
Last Week: W, Nebraska 70-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Badgers dismissed the notion that its Big Ten Championship Game appearance would be greeted by an asterisk by bombarding the Huskers with 539 rushing yards. Yup, the same Huskers team that arrived in Indianapolis on a six-game winning streak. Of Wisconsin's five losses, four were by three points, and three occurred in overtime.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It took a very long time, three months, before Wisconsin played like a team that ought to be ranked. The Badgers were mediocre, at best, throughout the season, struggling in the opener with Northern Iowa, and losing at home to 6-6 Michigan State on Oct. 27.

17. Nebraska 10-3
Last Week: L, Wisconsin 70-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers' three losses came versus two teams that played in league championship games over the weekend, and ineligible Ohio State, which went 12-0. They bagged a bunch of quality wins along the way, including Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan and Penn State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: There are losses, and then there are the kinds of losses that expose a team as eminently inconsistent and overrated. Nebraska owns two such defeats in 2012. Not only were the Huskers undressed by the Badgers for nine offensive touchdowns on Saturday night, but also gave up 63 points to the Buckeyes back on Oct. 6.

18. Michigan 8-4
Last Game: Regular Season Over
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wolverines didn't lose to a bad opponent all year, falling to SEC champion Alabama, Big Ten winner Nebraska and the two unbeatens, Notre Dame and Ohio State. After a slow start in Arlington, Tex., the defense found its groove by allowing an average of just 18 points over the final 11 games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Moral victories can only get a team so far in the rankings. Michigan was still 0-4 versus the best teams on its schedule. Oh, and the Wolverines defeated exactly one opponent currently over .500, Northwestern, in a game that required overtime and a 53-yard desperation heave at the end of regulation.

19. Northwestern 9-3
Last Week: Regular Season Over
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats kept hopes for a 10-win season alive by soundly beating rival Illinois, 50-14, two weeks ago. Though long forgotten, September wins over Syracuse and Vanderbilt increased in value as the Orange and the Commodores finished the year on a tear.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Since Sept. 15, the Wildcats have not defeated a team that currently has a winning record. They missed Ohio State and Wisconsin on the schedule, and were unable to close the deal in competitive games with Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan. Northwestern led all three games in the fourth quarter, yet still wound up losing.

20. Oregon State 9-3
Last Week: W, Nicholls State 77-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Beavers have knocked off a pair of teams that'll participated in conference championship games over the weekend, Big Ten champion Wisconsin 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 two weeks ago versus one-loss Oregon.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oregon State has cooled down considerably after a torrid start, losing half of its final six games. While the meetings with the Huskies and the Cardinal were certainly competitive, the 48-24 loss at home to the Ducks should stunt its upward mobility. The Beavers' vaunted run D got exposed by Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas and the rest of Oregon's rushing attack.

21. Penn State 8-4
Last Week: Season Has Ended
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Nittany Lions' improbable season ended with eight wins over the final 10 games and a 6-2 mark in Big Ten play. The high points came in a fourth-quarter rally to defeat 9-3 Northwestern and a season-ending overtime victory against Wisconsin, the Leaders Division rep and 70-31 winner in Saturday's league title game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Losses to Ohio and Virginia still count, even if they occurred in the first two weeks of the season. There's the win over the Wildcats … and not a whole lot else that belongs on the refrigerator. The Badgers would have finished the division in third place had Penn State and Ohio State been eligible to wear the crown.

22. USC 7-5
Last Week: Regular Season Over
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Troy picked up quality wins over 7-5 Syracuse, Washington and Arizona State, a trio that finished the year on a high note, and with bowl bids. The Trojans didn't lose to a bad team all year, falling to five opponents that were ranked at one time or another, Pac-12 champ Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and unbeaten Notre Dame.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Arguably this year's biggest disappointment, USC went from No. 1 when the season started to the fringe of the Top 25. It finished the regular season 1-4, hampered by poor play from the defense, questionable coaching and a shoulder injury to QB Matt Barkley.

23. TCU 7-5
Last Week: L, Oklahoma 24-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Horned Frogs hung with 10-2 Oklahoma all afternoon, getting to the doorstep of overtime before failing to punch it in. Over the last month, TCU earned its Big 12 stripes, beating West Virginia and Texas on the road, and giving the Sooners and K-State all they could handle.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Frogs' best win out of conference came over 4-8 Virginia. After losing to the Sooners, TCU finished the regular season below .500 in Big 12 play, having lost to mediocre, unranked opponents from Iowa State and Texas Tech … at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

24. Northern Illinois 12-1
Last Week: W, Kent State 44-37
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In a battle of ranked teams, with an eye toward an at-large BCS bowl bid, the Huskies won for the twelfth straight time to nab a second consecutive MAC championship. Northern Illinois' only loss of the season came to the Big Ten's Iowa by a single point, 18-17.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, the Hawkeyes play in the Big Ten, but they were also just 4-8 on the season. The Huskies also had a narrow, one-point escape of 2-9 Army, and was nearly tagged by 1-11 Kansas a week later before surviving, 30-23. Northern Illinois hasn't had enough tests to be considered a legitimate Top 25 team.

25. Vanderbilt 8-4
Last Week: Regular Season Over
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Commodores have moved up into the second tier of SEC programs this fall by closing out the regular season with six consecutive wins. They blew out rival Tennessee on Nov. 17, 41-18, and lost to four teams that each won nine games or more this year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It's been an impressive campaign for James Franklin's kids, but where's the statement win? Just one of Vanderbilt's victims is going bowling, Ole Miss, a 6-6 team that almost beat the Commodores three weeks ago.

 - CFN Week 14 Rankings No. 26 to 124