2012 College Football Rankings: USC to Fall in Week 3 AP and USA Today Polls

Jeremy Eckstein@https://twitter.com/#!/JeremyEckstein1Featured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2012

PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Stepfan Taylor #33 of the Stanford Cardinal runs in for a touchdown against the USC Trojans at Stanford Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

College football’s 2012 week three will soon reveal its AP and USA Today Coaches polls. For the most part, week three results reinforced the power of the top five teams, but there will be surprises and controversy for second tier teams trying to move into the national title race.

No. 1 Alabama, which held 48 of 60 first place votes in the AP poll, will add more after No. 2 USC was humbled in a tough 21-14 loss at Stanford. The Crimson Tide crushed the toothless Arkansas Razorbacks 52-0.

USC played on the evening slate for Fox Sports, but their performance for a national audience turned into a southern California horror show. The Trojans were limited to a passing attack that was targeted by physical Stanford who also pounded out their running game. Goodbye Miami.

Expect LSU to jump to No. 3, hold onto its four first place votes and possibly pick up another vote or two from USC’s loss. Their defense is championship worthy, but needs quarterback Zach Mettenberger to keep improving as they prepare for their SEC schedule.

Here is a projection at how the AP poll could shape their rankings, with notes and some of the USA Today Coaches poll differences noted with the analysis.


1. Alabama                 Undisputed No. 1 in both polls.

2. LSU                         November 3 could be another NC bye for the SEC loser.

3. Oregon                    Have not been tested against cupcakes. Thomas for Heisman?

4. Florida St.               Another easy thrashing while Oklahoma was idle.

5. Oklahoma               Could get No.4 in the Coaches poll.

6. Georgia                   Still some questions, but Marshall and Gurley tough backs.

7. West Virginia           Explosive offense could move them past South Carolina.

8. South Carolina         Could split No. 7 or 8 in either poll.

9. USC                         One-dimensional passing game couldn’t get it done.

10. Clemson                Looking ahead for a massive showdown at FSU next week.

11. Ohio St.                 No Coaches poll ranking. Scrapes by Pac-12 also-ran California.

12. Texas                    Texas has top 10 talent. Toughest three games to come.

13. Kansas St.            Overrated? UCLA, TCU, Florida could be better.

14. TCU                      Big-12 schedule will make or break this ranking.

15. Michigan               Ready to inch its way back up with Big 10 schedule.

16. Florida                  Could move to No. 13 after impressive win at Tennessee.

17. Notre Dame           Also ready to move up after upset at Michigan St.

18. Stanford                Beat USC, but still shaky offense and quarterback.

19. Louisville              Shaky fourth quarter will not help Louisville move higher.

20. UCLA                   Freshman QB Hundley directing dangerous attack.

21. Arizona                 Will be bringing lethal spread offense to Oregon in week 4.

22. Michigan St.         Anemic offense exposed, but defense is talented.

23. Virginia Tech         Ugly loss to a bad Pittsburgh team. Shouldn’t be ranked.

24. Nebraska             Should find its way back to AP poll and stay in Coaches poll.

25. Boise St.             The lower end of the polls could be the future for BSU.



Many college football fans believed USC’s preseason hype was not justified. Oregon may need help or a massively impressive Pac-12 undefeated season to get a shot at the national championship game.

The jury is still out on South Carolina and possibly Georgia, but the SEC deserves its acclaim as the most dominant conference. They play at another level with pro-style athletes.

College football needs another look at Oklahoma next week against Kansas St. to see which program is fabulous or fraud this season.

Ohio St. may be overachieving behind Braxton Miller, and certainly Urban Meyer is one of the few coaches who can maximize his talents.


BCS Outlook

Florida St. and Clemson will be playing next week for possible millions in December.

West Virginia or Oklahoma look to be the SEC Miami challenger should Oregon falter.

USC must concentrate on winning the Pac-12 for a Rose Bowl bid.

Does the Bama vs. LSU loser have the easier road to the national championship game? No wonder college football wants a four-team playoff.

What’s your take? Cast your own comments below.


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