CFN 2013 Rankings
Oct. 20, Week 8
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2013 Week 8 Rankings, No. 26-125
1. Alabama 7-0
Last Week: W, Arkansas, 52-0
Why They Should Be No. 1: The Crimson Tide has amassed quite a head of steam since the close call with Texas A&M in Week 2, winning the last five by an average score of 40-3. Virginia Tech hasn't lost since falling to 'Bama in Atlanta back on Aug. 31.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, the numbers look great on paper, but the Tide has been busy navigating the softest part of its schedule. Heck, even the defeat of the Aggies lost some of its appeal after they fell at home to Auburn on Saturday.
2. Florida State 6-0
Last Week: W, Clemson, 51-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Has a third-ranked team ever been dominated so handily, especially at home, as Clemson was in Week 8? The Seminoles have now obliterated Top 25 opponents by a combined score of 114-14 in consecutive games, and made Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins seem pedestrian on Saturday.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It’s a total splitting of hairs, but the ‘Noles must do a better job at the point of attack going forward. QB Jameis Winston was sacked three times by Clemson, while the running game averaged just 3.2 yards per carry.
3. Oregon 7-0
Last Week: W, Washington State, 62-38
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Ducks shook off some early mistakes to jet past Wazzu behind the passing of Marcus Mariota and the running of Byron Marshall. Even without the availability of RB De’Anthony Thomas, who hopes to be back this week, Oregon has outscored opponents on average, 57-17.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oregon’s best win of the year came over Washington. Yup, same Washington that’s lost three straight, including by four touchdowns to Arizona State this past weekend. The Ducks don’t own a true signature win the way, say, Florida State or Alabama does.
4. Missouri 7-0
Last Week: W, Florida, 36-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Courtesy of back-to-back wins over Georgia, in Athens, and Florida, without starting QB James Franklin, the Tigers are the overwhelmingly favorite to capture the SEC East. Mizzou is winning the way an SEC team should, sacking Tyler Murphy six times, while rushing for 205 yards against a stout Gator D.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: In all fairness, the Tigers did not face the very best that either Georgia or Florida had to offer. Both teams, which now have six combined losses, were missing stars when they played Mizzou, taking a little bit of the luster off those wins.
5. Ohio State 7-0
Last Week: W, Iowa, 34-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Buckeyes became the first team this season to score more than 30 points on the Hawkeye D, rolling up almost 500 balanced yards in Columbus. The Sept. 28 win over Wisconsin will continue to look more impressive as the Badgers amass a head of steam.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Ohio State had problems at home with an unranked Iowa team, beginning the fourth quarter deadlocked. The Buckeyes won't get a chance to beat an elite opponent this year, and that victory over Northwestern is fading as the 'Cats circle the drain.
6. Clemson 6-1
Last Week: L, Florida State, 51-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers walked into a buzz saw on Saturday, losing to what might be the premier program of 2013. Clemson was rolling prior to Week 8, including that opening statement over Georgia, when the Dawgs were at full strength.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Clemson has now played poorly in consecutive weeks, darn near getting picked off by Boston College last weekend. It’s one thing to lose to the Seminoles, but the Tigers were completely outclassed in all phases, raising doubts that they’re truly one of the nation’s top 10 teams.
7. LSU 6-2
Last Week: L, Ole Miss, 27-24
Why The Ranking Should be Higher: The Tigers have as much talent as most programs in the FBS, especially on offense this year. It's turning out that their best win of the year just might be the one over Auburn, which is now 6-1 after surprising Texas A&M.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Losing to Ole Miss, which was missing so many key players, defies all logic. LSU has now dropped two of its last four games, and last week's win over Florida doesn't seem quite so special now that the Gators are 4-3.
8. Auburn 6-1
Last Week: W, Texas A&M, 45-41
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers stamped their debut season under Gus Malzahn as legitimate beating the nation's No. 7 team on their field. The offense continues to improve, getting huge days on the ground from RB Tre Mason and QB Nick Marshall.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Great story, but Auburn still has issues on both sides of the ball that need to be addressed. The passing game is unreliable, and the defense just got done being strafed for 469 yards through the air.
9. Texas A&M 5-2
Last Week: L, Auburn, 45-41
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Even in losing, the Aggies showed they harbor one of the game's most potent offenses, scoring at least 41 points in all seven games. A&M tagged top-ranked 'Bama with 42 points back in Week 2; the Tide hasn't allowed that many points to its other six opponents combined.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Where's the win that justifies a higher ranking? Ole Miss? Uh-uh. The defense continues to kill this program in important games, yielding more than 600 yards in Saturday's loss to Auburn.
10. Baylor 6-0
Last Week: W, Iowa State, 71-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Iowa lost to Iowa State. Texas and Texas Tech had problems putting away the Cyclones, the former needing the help of poor officiating. Baylor? The Bears obliterated ISU, cranking out more than 700 yards, while pitching a shutout for the first 59 minutes.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: There's a cap on the Bears' ceiling right now, because they haven't faced an opponent even close to being ranked. The numbers are eye-popping, sure, but until Baylor beats another Big 12 contender, it's difficult to move this program up much higher.
11. Stanford 6-1
Last Week: W, UCLA, 24-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinal bounced back from its only loss of the year by beating one of the hottest teams in the country. By virtue of the victory, Stanford once again staked its claim to being the second best program in college football's second best conference.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Stanford has not performed like a complete team in any of the last three games. The offense has generally sputtered, and as improved as Utah has been, you can't lose to the Utes and be considered among the game's elite programs.
12. UCLA 5-1
Last Week: L, Stanford, 24-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Even after losing to a ranked Stanford team on the Farm, the Bruins remain the class of the Pac-12 South. They own road wins over streaking Nebraska and Utah, the latter of which defeated the Cardinal a week ago.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: UCLA is a terrific all-around team, but Saturday proved that it's not quite ready to be the class of the Pac-12. The Bruins got beat up at the line of scrimmage, unable to match the physicality of the Cardinal.
13. Wisconsin 4-2
Last Week: W, Illinois, 56-32
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Badgers are building the kind of momentum that could lead to a 10-win season in Gary Andersen’s debut in Madison. They’re only two losses were to Ohio State and Arizona State by nine combined points. The Buckeyes and Sun Devils are 12-2 through eight weeks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Wisconsin is unable to hang its hat on a signature win in 2013. Blowing out Northwestern? The Wildcats are now 4-3 and sliding quickly following their home loss to Minnesota on Saturday.
14. Nebraska 5-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Playing without offensive leader QB Taylor Martinez, the Huskers have still managed to win three straight behind an offense that’s caught fire. Heck, even the D is playing better, with ample help from DE Randy Gregory and DBs Ciante Evans and Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: UCLA is a terrific team, but the Huskers were dominated by the Bruins, 41-21, in Lincoln last month. Okay, so Nebraska is on a mini-roll, but against who? They’ve yet to reach the toughest part of the Big Ten schedule, or beat someone of substance.
15. Miami 6-0
Last Week: W, North Carolina, 27-23
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Hurricanes went on the road on a Thursday night and found a way to win after losing offensive playmakers Duke Johnson and Phillip Dorsett to injuries. The symbol of Miami’s resiliency was backup RB Dallas Crawford, who rushed for 137 yards and two scores on 33 carries.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: A win, yeah, but Miami hardly performed like a top 10 team in Chapel Hill. In fact, the ‘Canes, especially error-prone QB Stephen Morris, played very poorly against a Carolina team that’s now 1-5. This is not one of the 10 best teams in America.
16. Oregon State 6-1
Last Week: W, Cal, 49-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: As one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12, the Beavers have now won six straight games. The Sean Mannion-to-Brandin Cooks connection is unstoppable, while the D is improving. Oregon State won in Salt Lake City, which Stanford was unable to do two weeks ago.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Beavers will have a hard time escaping the fact they opened the season with a loss to Eastern Washington, which has since fallen to Toledo and Sam Houston State. Oregon State has yet to defeat a ranked opponent, and will need to in order to move any higher.
17. Texas Tech7-0
Last Week: W, West Virginia, 37-27
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Red Raiders survived their toughest road test of the year so far, rallying in the final quarter to remain unbeaten. They knocked off a West Virginia team that defeated Oklahoma State in Morgantown just a few weeks earlier.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Texas Tech still hasn't faced a ranked team in 2013, living off one of the weakest schedule among ranked teams. How do you elevate a program that hasn't faced anyone tougher than 3-4 TCU so far this season?
18. Florida 4-3
Last Week: L, Missouri, 36-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Even through injuries, the Gators still boast one of the toughest defenses in the country. Though they’ve lost three times, all of those defeats came against talented teams that are currently ranked.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: After getting schooled by a Mizzou team using a backup quarterback, Florida now sits at .500 versus AQ opponents. The Gators’ version of a quality win came at home against Tennessee, which beat South Carolina, but is still just 4-3.
19. Virginia Tech 6-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Hokies know how to win, primarily with a suffocating defense that ranks in the top 10 nationally in just about every major statistical category. Tech has taken six straight since losing to top-ranked ‘Bama, which manufactured just 206 total yards in that game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: At some point, all rankings become a beauty contest, and Tech’s wins have generally been rough on the eyes. The Hokies’ last five victories were by 10 or fewer points, and none of their victims are even close to the Top 25 right now.
20. Georgia 4-3
Last Week: L, Vanderbilt, 31-27
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs are one of the few teams in the country with two wins over ranked opponents, beating South Carolina and LSU in September. When at full strength, Georgia can beat just about anyone in the country.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Georgia is a different team since all of the injuries began to mount. Losing to Clemson and a very good Mizzou team? Okay. Falling to Vanderbilt, though, was a sign that the Dawgs no longer belong in the Top 25.
21. South Carolina 5-2
Last Week: L, Tennessee, 23-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Earlier wins over UCF and Vanderbilt carry a little more weight now that those victims have beaten Louisville and Georgia, respectively. The Gamecocks are balanced program that can beat opponents with defense, the running game and the passing attack.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: South Carolina just became the first ranked team in four years to lose to Tennessee, generally playing poorly throughout. That’s the kind of distinction that gets a program unranked very quickly.
22. UCF 5-1
Last Week: W, Louisville, 38-35
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Knights went into Papa John’s Stadium on Friday night and ended Louisville’s perfect season. UCF has now beaten Penn State and the Cards outside of Orlando, with its lone loss coming by three points to ranked South Carolina.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The schedule is flimsy, and it’ll get softer throughout the rest of the season. Just two weeks ago, the Knights had a hard time putting away Memphis, which has won just one game year.
23. Louisville 6-1
Last Week: L, UCF, 38-35
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Despite the loss, the Cardinals still boast a talented roster, dotted with players who’ll keep playing on Sundays. Louisville has outscored its opponents by an average margin of 40-11 through seven games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: When faced with its two toughest opponents of the year, the Cardinals failed to impress against either Rutgers or UCF, losing to the latter at home. Louisville needed to run the table to be taken more seriously, but that option is now off the table.
24. Texas 4-2
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Longhorns are beginning to percolate, capping a three-game winning streak with a rout of Oklahoma two weeks ago. The losses to BYU and Ole Miss don’t look quite so bad now that the Cougars have won four in a row and the Rebels just shocked LSU.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Texas is obviously flawed, as evidenced by the near-miss with Iowa State at the beginning of the month. Sure, the defense played well in Dallas, but can it sustain in November games with Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor?
25. Oklahoma 6-1
Last Week: W, Kansas, 34-19
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After getting off to a slow start, the Sooners scored 34 of the final 40 points to fend off Kansas. The Sooners own a two-touchdown win over Notre Dame in South Bend, just the second time they've ever beaten the Irish.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Quick, name a moment when Oklahoma was really, really impressive this fall. It doesn't exist. The Sooners have been abundantly mediocre this season, hitting a low-point in last weekend's dreadful loss to an average Texas team.
2013 Week 8 Rankings, No. 26-125