College Football Polls 2012: Breaking Down Week 4 AP and Coaches' Polls

Jonathan McDanalContributor IIISeptember 16, 2012

College Football Polls 2012: Breaking Down Week 4 AP and Coaches' Polls

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    After another week of upsets, though none as big as ULM over Arkansas, the polls are shifting on a large scale again.

    Which conferences benefited, which ones didn't and which teams are now favorites to end the SEC's streak of six straight national championships?

    The next slides will break down the Top 25 and give a little clearer picture of the national landscape.

    *All information is from the AP and Coaches' polls.

Sirs Not-Appearing-in-This-Poll (apologies to Monty Python)

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    Virginia Tech, BYU and Tennessee dropped out of the AP Poll, while Arkansas and Virginia Tech dropped from the Coaches' Poll in Week 4.

    Virginia Tech was shocked by Pittsburgh, Tennessee was technically upset by Florida (Florida should have been favored in that game) and Arkansas proved that last week's loss to ULM was less of a fluke than the other coaches originally thought.

    BYU is worth mentioning separately simply because it was a part of one of the craziest finishes in the history of college football. It is featured on this slide for those of you who may have missed it.

    Dropping teams from the Top 25 made way for other teams, but which teams those were may surprise you.

Who Got In?

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    Nebraska climbed back into the AP Poll and sits at No. 25. Oklahoma State reared its head in the Coaches' Poll at No. 25 as well.

    Entering both polls for the first time this season was Mississippi State out of the SEC. A dominant victory over Auburn and some fallout from games across the nation have put the Bulldogs on the edge of the radar.

BCS Busters

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    Whether this spot belongs to Boise State or not isn't up for debate in this article. The fact remains that it made it into the AP Poll.

    With Boise State as the only non-BCS representative, anyone who's a fan of the smaller schools now has a mascot in the rankings again.

    It is a familiar mascot, and a well-loved one at that. The Boise State BCS-busting Broncos are on the radar, and it's only September.

    There's plenty of time to move up before December rolls around.

The Big East Gets Shafted Again

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    Even with all the shuffling in the Top 25, the AP and the Coaches all put Louisville as the only Big East representative in the rankings.

    Cincinnati dominated Pittsburgh, who dominated Virginia Tech in Week 3. Still, there's no love out there for a conference that only lost West Virginia.

Conferences in the Top 25

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    The SEC has six teams in both polls: Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Mississippi State.

    The Big 12 has six teams in the Coaches' poll: Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma State, though Oklahoma State does not appear in the AP Poll.

    The Pac-12 has five teams in both polls: Oregon, Stanford, USC, UCLA and Arizona.

    The Big Ten follows closely with four teams in each poll: Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska appear in the AP Poll, while Ohio State does not appear in the Coaches' Poll. (Wisconsin is in the Coaches' Poll to give the Big Ten a fourth team.)

    The ACC is represented by Florida State and Clemson in both polls, while the Big East has only Louisville.

    Boise State makes a quick appearance in only the AP Poll, giving the MWC one representative.

The Big Ten Is Almost Gone

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    While the Big Ten has four teams in each poll, none of them is in the Top 10.

    Michigan fell to Alabama, Michigan State fell to Notre Dame, Wisconsin fell to Oregon State and Nebraska fell to UCLA.

    What could have been a breakout year for the Big Ten has already turned into a debacle that could possibly leave the Big Ten out of the Rose Bowl. After all, they do have to finish in the Top 14 to make a BCS bid.

    The Big Ten has an opportunity to step up against Notre Dame again in Week 4, but Notre Dame isn't going to simply roll over after nearly shutting the Michigan State Spartans out at home.

Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame has one of the toughest schedules in the nation in 2012 and has already surprised a lot of people by absolutely owning Michigan State on the Spartans' home turf.

    Notre Dame took down a Top-10 opponent and reaped the reward of jumping all the way to No. 11 in the AP and No. 15 in the Coaches' Poll.

    The Irish may be heading for more than just the Champs Sports Bowl this year. The plot thickens against Denard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines next week.

    If the Irish can get past Denard Robinson, the Pac-12 is likely the only conference standing between them and an undefeated season. (Unless you think Oklahoma isn't overrated.)

The ACC Stands Strong

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    Clemson earned its stripes against the Auburn Tigers in Week 1. Many question marks still surrounded the Florida State Seminoles, though, as their only competition wasn't anyone of note.

    This past weekend, FSU showed that it was a legitimate contender by taking down ACC-rival Wake Forest by 52 points. The shutout that FSU perpetrated on the Dacons showed that the Seminoles are playing on a level that the ACC just can't contend with.

    Of course, Clemson faces now-No. 4 Florida State on Sept. 22. One will emerge the ACC favorite to contend for a national championship; the other will hope to get into the Orange Bowl.

    For now, the ACC only has two teams in the Top 25, but they're both in the Top 10 of both polls.

USC Disappoints Anyone Who Hates the SEC

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    USC got exposed by Stanford last night just as much as Stanford made a case for being in the upper echelon of college football.

    After falling to the Cardinal by a touchdown on Sept. 15, the Trojans fell out of the Top 10 in both polls.

    USC, once the favorite to topple the SEC, has now been replaced by Oregon, who sits at No. 3 in both polls.

You Can Hear the Nation Groan

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    Alabama and LSU are 1-2 in both polls, with Alabama's convincing victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks making it almost unanimous at the top of the charts.

    At the beginning of the season, Nov. 3 looked like the greatest day of college football for 2012 with four potentially undefeated teams battling for a berth in the national championship.

    Now, it's already down to one set of unbeatens and Oregon at USC. Everyone that remembers 2011 groaned the instant the polls were released with Alabama and LSU at the top again.

The Pac-12's Saving Grace

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    The good news for anti-SEC fans and the Pac-12 in general is that there are still plenty of teams in the Pac-12 that are undefeated.

    Who knows? UCLA or Arizona could pull off a dark-horse championship run. Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona are all undefeated at this point.

    Oregon and Stanford will remain the favorites until either one takes a loss, but those Bruins and Wildcats are not to be trifled with.

    The bottom line is that there may still be an SEC-killing hopeful over on the left coast.