CFN 2013 Rankings
Dec. 1, Week 14
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2013 Week 14 Rankings, No. 26-125
1. Florida State 12-0
Last Week: W, Florida, 37-7
Why They Should be No. 1: The Seminoles swept through the regular season to move to within a victory over Duke from earning a spot in the National Championship Game. Only one opponent this season has lost by no more than two touchdowns to Florida State, which routinely had games locked up by halftime.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The schedule? Pretty cushy. The ‘Noles have played just a single ranked opponent all year, Clemson. The non-conference schedule is comprised of Nevada, Bethune-Cookman, Idaho and a Florida squad that lost to Georgia Southern two weeks ago.
2. Ohio State 12-0
Last Week: W, Michigan, 42-41
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Buckeyes went on the road in the biggest game of the year and survived in a thriller with the Wolverines. Ohio State averages 48 points per game, defeated red-hot Wisconsin back on Sept. 28 and have won all but two games by double-digits.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, it was a rivalry game, but Ohio State was a two-point conversion away from losing to a Michigan team that had been dreadful in November. After the Badgers, who have the Buckeyes defeated? The schedule is flimsy for a team with national championship hopes.
3. Missouri 11-1
Last Week: W, Texas A&M, 28-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers showed tremendous resolve when most felt they’d stumble in November and open the door for South Carolina to capture the SEC East. Mizzou’s only loss was by three points to 10-win South Carolina in a game it dominated for the first three quarters.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Nice wins of late, sure, but the schedule hasn’t been all that prickly for Mizzou in 2013. The Tigers got Georgia and Florida when both were severely shorthanded by injuries, and they have yet to face any of the three best teams out of the SEC West, Auburn, Alabama or LSU.
4. Auburn 11-1
Last Week: W, Alabama, 34-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers have won the SEC West, the best division in college football, while seemingly ending the Tide’s quest for a third straight national championship. Auburn has beaten six bowl-eligible teams, including Texas A&M, Georgia and now top-ranked ‘Bama.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Auburn’s offense is fantastic, especially the ground game, but the defense is flawed. The Tigers were fortunate in the win over the Bulldogs, and they lost to an LSU team that has not been a quintessential Les Miles production in 2013.
Last Week: L, Auburn, 34-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tide’s only loss of the year came at Jordan-Hare on a fluky return of a missed field goal. Alabama has defeated LSU, which Auburn did not this year, and began the weekend leading the nation at just 9.3 points allowed per game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: ‘Bama was unusually soft against the run on Saturday, and its special teams unit was atrocious. How many really good teams did the Crimson Tide defeat this year, two? It beat LSU and Texas A&M, and both of those schools have shown hints of vulnerability lately.
6. Oklahoma State 10-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cowboys own one of the best wins of the year, destroying a Baylor team two weeks ago that previously looked unstoppable. They also snapped Texas’ six-game winning streak in another blowout and defeated an underrated Kansas State squad.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: As one-loss teams go, Oklahoma State is saddled with one of the worst defeats. The Cowboys fell to West Virginia, 30-21, a team that lost to Kansas and was unable to qualify for a spot in the bloated postseason.
7. Michigan State 11-1
Last Week: W, Minnesota, 14-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: For the first time since 1966, Michigan State finished a Big Ten regular season unbeaten. The Spartan D is as stifling as any in the country, keeping five of the last six opponents to no more than six points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Spartans’ lone loss of the season was to an average Notre Dame squad. Quality wins have been virtually non-existent, and Michigan State played a poor non-conference schedule. The only way Michigan State justifies a boost in the rankings is by beating Ohio State next Saturday.
8. LSU 9-3
Last Week: W, Arkansas, 31-27
Why The Ranking Should be Higher: The Tigers got all they could handle from the Hogs, yet retained the Golden Boot with a late rally led by backup QB Anthony Jennings. Auburn and Texas A&M are also in the 2013 win column for LSU, which has only lost outside of Baton Rouge this year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Tigers barely escaped the Razorbacks, a team that went 3-9 and last won on Sept. 14. They’ve also lost to an Ole Miss squad that’s lost five games and is a game under .500 since the end of September.
9. Stanford 10-2
Last Week: W, Notre Dame, 27-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinal won the Pac-12 North, one of the toughest divisions in college football. Stanford got the better of Oregon and UCLA, and is the only team in 2013 to smoke Arizona State, this week’s opponent in the league championship game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Cardinal has fallen to a couple of unranked teams this fall, Utah and USC, and needed help from Arizona to capture the North. The Utes finished the season out of the bowl picture at 5-7.
10. South Carolina 10-2
Last Week: W, Clemson, 31-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gamecocks wrapped up another terrific regular season with five straight wins, including two over top 10 opponents, Mizzou in Columbia and rival Clemson. The defense has really gelled since the Week 2 loss to Georgia, allowing an average of just 14 points a game in November.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: South Carolina had narrow escapes with UCF, which is overrated, Kentucky and Florida. The Gamecocks also lost to a rebuilding Tennessee squad that finished Butch Jones’ first season 5-7.
11. Arizona State 10-2
Last Week: W, Arizona, 58-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sun Devils are on a wicked roll, winning their last seven games, most by comfortable margins. In a possible sandwich game between the South Division clincher over UCLA and the Pac-12 title game with USC, ASU battered rival Arizona.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Wins over Wisconsin and USC aren’t quite as impressive after both teams suffered damning losses in Week 14. On Sept. 21, the Sun Devils were manhandled by the Cardinal, and two weeks later, they fell to an unranked Notre Dame team that’s lost to Michigan and Pitt.
12. Clemson 10-2
Last Week: L, South Carolina, 31-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers ripped through an ACC that looks as if it’ll be sending a representative to the national title game. Clemson defeated Georgia back when it meant something, while losing to a couple of teams with top 10 resumes.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: That victory over the Dawgs was a very long time ago. The Tigers best win since then was over Georgia Tech or Maryland, meaning they haven’t defeated a ranked team since the opener. When Clemson has had cracks at top teams, it failed to deliver in double-digit losses to Florida State and South Carolina.
13. Texas A&M 8-4
Last Week: L, Missouri, 28-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Aggies have lost to four of the 10 or so best teams in America, Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Missouri. Led by Johnny Manziel and a potent offensive attack, Texas A&M has claimed wins over Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: A&M had four shots against really good opponents this year and lost all of them. Over the last two weeks, the vaunted offense stumbled to just 31 points in losses to LSU and Missouri. This is not the same team that slapped 42 points on the Tide in mid-September.
14. Baylor 10-1
Last Week: W, TCU, 41-38
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bears got all they could handle from the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, yet survived to remain in the Big 12 title chase. Baylor is averaging more than 55 points a game, which means it has taken plenty of opponents behind the woodshed this season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: With titles on the line, Baylor has not played well over the last two weekends. A week ago, it got pounded by Oklahoma State, 49-17. And on Saturday, the Bears narrowly escaped a TCU team that won just four games this season.
15. Oregon 10-2
Last Week: W, Oregon State, 36-35
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Ducks survived a thrilling Civil War, scoring with 29 seconds left to defeat rival Oregon State. Oregon is averaging almost 47 points per game, while owning a quality four-touchdown win over UCLA from a month ago.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oregon went just 2-2 in November, suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of Arizona. The Ducks on Friday night narrowly escaped the Beavers, which have lost five straight and fell to Washington a week ago, 69-27.
16. UCLA 9-3
Last Week: W, USC, 35-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bruins earned they best win of the season, putting an end to rival USC’s five-game winning streak. Even in losses, UCLA played Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State very tough, losing to the torrid Sun Devils by only five points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Against the three best opponents on the schedule, UCLA found a way to come up short in each game. Against ASU, the Bruins not only fell at home, but they were whipped in the trenches.
17. Wisconsin 9-3
Last Week: L, Penn State, 31-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Badgers’ first two losses of the year were against two streaking teams, Arizona State and Ohio State, by just nine points combined. Before this weekend, Wisconsin tore through the schedule, winning six straight by wide margins.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: You just can’t lose at home to an unranked Penn State team and expect to be ranked any higher. These Nittany Lions had lost five times, including to 5-7 Indiana. Where are the Badgers’ big wins? They didn’t beat a single ranked team in the regular season.
18. USC 9-4
Last Week: L, UCLA, 35-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans are one of just two teams to have defeated Stanford, the favorite to repeat as Pac-12 champion. Prior to the start of the weekend, Troy was one of the hottest teams in the league, winning five in a row.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Trojans have beaten just one Top 25 team in 2013, losing a chance for a second in Saturday’s blowout loss at home to the Bruins. All four of USC’s defeats were ugly, from losing at home to Washington State to allowing 62 points to Arizona State in Lane Kiffin’s final stand.
19. Oklahoma 9-2
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners have overcome injuries to remain on target for a 10-win season. They’ve beaten Notre Dame, handed Texas Tech its first loss of 2013 and impressively snapped Kansas State’s four-game winning streak in Manhattan two weeks ago.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Both of Oklahoma’s losses unveiled troubling signs. The Sooners were blown out by Baylor and Texas, both of whom got schooled by next week’s opponent, Oklahoma State. OU has beaten some decent teams this fall, but no elite ones.
20. Georgia 8-4
Last Week: W, Georgia Tech, 41-34
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Sans their leader, QB Aaron Murray, the Dawgs found a way to maintain their dominance over a hated rival, rallying to beat the Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia has handled South Carolina and LSU, and all of the teams it lost to have won at least eight games so far this year. If not for a miracle on a tipped ball, the Dawgs would have beaten one-loss Auburn at Jordan-Hare two weeks ago.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Bulldogs are just 4-3 over their last seven games, with the Vanderbilt loss sticking out as an eyesore for a Top 25 wannabe. Georgia also escaped second-rate, sub-.500 teams from Florida and Tennessee teams by just a field goal apiece.
21. Ole Miss 7-5
Last Week: L, Mississippi State, 17-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Ole Miss knocked off a very good LSU team, the only one that’s beaten Auburn in 2013, back on Oct. 19, which kicked off a four-game winning streak. Four of Ole Miss’ losses came against teams that were ranked in the top 10 when Week 13 began.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Rebels are below .500 over their last nine games. It’s one thing to lose to Auburn and Alabama, but falling to 5-6 Mississippi State on Thanksgiving night ought to disqualify a program from being included in the rankings.
22. Kansas State 7-5
Last Week: W, Kansas, 31-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats have not dropped a game by more than 10 points this fall, including against Oklahoma State, Baylor and Oklahoma. In fact, only West Virginia played the Cowboys as tough as Kansas State did back on Oct. 5 in a 33-29 loss.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: You cannot lose five times, especially when one was to an FCS opponent, and still expect to be ranked. The Wildcats' best win of 2013 was over Texas Tech, which finished the regular season on a five-game losing streak, or possibly Louisiana-Lafayette.
23. UCF 10-1
Last Week: W, South Florida, 23-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Knights tied a school record with their seventh consecutive win. Their only loss was by three points to South Carolina, and their magic number for clinching a BCS bowl berth is down to one.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, UCF is finding a way, but how many close calls with weak opponents can a team have before being labelled overrated? Memphis, Temple and South Florida—each well below .500—came within a touchdown of upsetting the Knights.
24. Louisville 10-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinals have rallied from their lone loss, a three-pointer to ranked UCF, to win their last four games. Louisville stands among the nation’s leaders, giving up an average of just 11.4 points per game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Despite playing a weak slate of games, Louisville has not been rolling through the schedule. In fact, the Cardinals have been subpar on offense, while failing to take the likes of unranked Memphis, Rutgers, Houston and Memphis behind the woodshed.
25. Minnesota 8-4
Last Week: L, Michigan State, 14-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gophers have weaved a pair of four-game winning streaks this season. The only things that slowed down the latest one in November were dates with two of the Big Ten’s best programs, ranked Wisconsin and Michigan State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Feel-good story, sure, but the Gophers have beaten no one of significance this season. Not only has Minnesota failed to beat a single ranked team, but it also lost to unranked Iowa and Michigan by 16 points and 29 points, respectively.
2013 Week 14 Rankings, No. 26-125