College Football Rankings: Winners and Losers in AP's Top 25 Poll
Another week of college football in the books, another poll released, and more teams that either got lucky or screwed in the process.
After an interesting first weekend, the AP just released its new Top 25 poll. Some teams climbed the rankings, while there were also a handful of teams that should have received more love.
Still, with only one week of college football behind us and the majority of these ranked teams playing overmatched opponents in the early season, it is hard to really decide who is a contender or pretender just yet.
But with that said, here are winners and losers of this week's 2012 college football AP Poll.
Loser: Boise State Broncos
We knew when we saw that Boise State was replacing nearly its entire roster that the Broncos would not be the same team in 2012.
Then we saw that a game against the Michigan State Spartans was their season opener, which about guaranteed that the Boise State would begin the season with a loss.
You have to give the Broncos credit for remaining competitive throughout the contest (won by Michigan State, 17-13), but the loss certainly did not help Boise's case. It will remain a contender in the MWC, but the days of competing for a BCS bowl are over with, at least for this season.
A streak of 62 weeks in the AP Poll also comes to an end for Chris Petersen's club.
Ranked: No. 1
Alabama had by far the most impressive victory of the opening-week schedule, giving the Michigan Wolverines nearly no chance whatsoever to even remain competitive in the contest.
The Crimson Tide went from being the second-best team in the AP Poll to jumping USC by 46 points into the No. 1 spot. Many were hesitant to put Nick Saban's squad as a top team in the country because of all the talent it lost, but Alabama proved that it is once again a team that everybody better pay attention to this year.
Alabama will have a chance to remain the top team in the country, especially with a date against Arkansas in two weeks.
Tennessee and North Carolina State played a game of the most underrated; the Volunteers ended up winning the matchup, but they are still not ranked in the AP Poll. Tennessee generated over 500 yards of total offense, and many of those plays were Tyler Bray picking on cornerback David Amerson (the guy who set records with 13 interceptions last season).
The Volunteers also showed signs of a running game, averaging five yards a touch on 38 carries.
Derek Dooley's team just missed out on the rankings, receiving 73 total votes (six behind Boise State). It is only a matter of time before this team is considered a Top 25 squad.
Winner: Notre Dame
Ranked: No. 22
You should have known that the Irish were going to crack the Top 25 eventually. It didn't take long, did it?
Notre Dame was one of the more impressive teams last week, destroying Navy by 40 points. And the Irish did so with a first-year starting quarterback, without a suspended starting running back and on the heels of a transatlantic flight.
While things may be sunny for now in South Bend, a home game against Purdue certainly won't be easy.
Now is not the time for Brian Kelly and company to relax.
Ranked: No. 19
Michigan took the biggest hit of the week in the polls, dropping a total of 11 spots due to a beatdown at the hands of the Alabama Crimson Tide. The matchup was extremely overhyped, and Brady Hoke's team failed to show any signs of life throughout the contest.
So which team is the true Michigan—the team that won 11 games and a BCS bowl in 2011, or the team that isn't ready to play top-notch competition just yet?
I would like to believe that the Wolverines aren't as bad as we saw last week, but they will soon have to prove otherwise.
Winner: Ranked Teams That Struggled, but Prevailed
Most teams like to schedule weak competition in the beginning of the season so they can prepare for the brutal conference schedule later in the year. Well, even some of those terrible football programs gave these ranked teams a run for their money.
San Jose State was tied with Stanford all the way into the fourth quarter, but the Cardinal are still ranked in the polls. Georgia is still a top-10 team, despite letting Buffalo hang around the entire game. Bowling Green gave Florida a scare, but the Gators somehow found a way to stay in the poll.
There were many teams that did not play the way we know they are capable of playing, which is going to raise questions throughout the week.
Which teams are pretenders, and which are contenders?
Loser: AP Poll
Like every poll during the college football season, we can nitpick about which teams are ranked where and which teams deserve more credit in the rankings.
And while that's easy, I'm not here to bash the voters. For the most part, the poll looks good.
But what is up with South Carolina and West Virginia being tied for the No. 9 spot?
The Mountaineers looked unstoppable against Marshall, while South Carolina barely made it out alive against Vanderbilt. Of course, the Commodores are a better team than the Thundering Herd, but after watching the Gamecock offense struggle so much and Geno Smith pick up right where he left off at the end of last season, West Virginia deserves the better ranking.
Ranked: No. 8
One team that struggled last week was the Arkansas Razorbacks. They played the lowly Jacksonville State Gamecocks, and the Razorbacks allowed them to score 21 first-half points.
Of course, it was the first game of the season, and Arkansas, like many schools, had to shake some out of the cobwebs. But Arkansas actually moved up two positions from the performance it showed during the weekend.
I think this tells us a lot about who many of the writers like this season.
BYU is not a team that is going to receive a lot of attention this year, but the Cougars looked extremely good during the weekend. This is a veteran team on both sides of the ball, and they play a nice, balanced style of football.
In last week's victory against Washington State, BYU produced 426 total yards of offense and held the opposition to just 224 yards and forced two turnovers. By the way, in case you forgot, Washington State is coached by some guy named Mike Leach. Yes, the Cougars held a Leach team to just two field goals and kept his squad out of the end zone the entire game.
The country may continue to sleep on BYU, but if the Cougars continue to play the way they did last week, there is a chance this team could run the table.
Ranked: No. 23
Many wondered how Louisville could enter the season ranked above teams such as Auburn or Notre Dame, but on the opening weekend, the Cardinals showed a little bit of what their team has to offer.
Sure, it was against Kentucky, but quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 19 of his 21 passes, the running game totaled over 200 yards and the defense forced two turnovers while holding the Wildcats to under 100 rushing yards.
Due to the weak schedule, it will be hard for Louisville to gain any respect this year, but this club can play some quality football and may continue to surprise people throughout the year.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!