College Football Polls 2012: Evaluating Week 8 AP and Coaches' Polls

Jake Martin@JakeMartinSECCorrespondent IIIOctober 14, 2012

College Football Polls 2012: Evaluating Week 8 AP and Coaches' Polls

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    In the Week 8 AP poll and the USA Today coaches' poll there are subtle differences, obvious picks and glaring mistakes.

    As the heart of the college football season is upon us, these rankings start to matter more and more as far as perception goes.

    Certain teams, such as Mississippi State, are still being somewhat overlooked. But the biggest glaring difference between the AP poll and the coaches' poll comes in at the No. 3 slot.

    Here are the biggest takeaways from the polls.

Kansas State Gets the Nod over Florida in Coaches' Poll

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    Alabama and Oregon are thought to be No. 1 and No. 2—a no-brainer in most people's eyes.

    But who's the No. 3 team in the country? The coaches believe Kansas State, is while the writers believe Florida is No. 3. So, here's a better question: Who's right?

    Give it to the writers on this one. Both teams are similar, but there's no denying that Florida looks the part.

    In the second half, this team comes out and asserts its will. As the game goes along, it gets better, and this defense is currently allowing just 12.3 points per game.

    The Gators are the first team to beat LSU in the regular season in two seasons, and that win slightly stacks up higher than Kansas State's impressive victory against Oklahoma.

USC Creeping Back into the Limelight

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    Remember USC?

    Everyone kind of wrote USC off after its loss to Stanford. Since then, the Trojans have reeled off three ugly wins in a row, yet they're No. 9 in the coaches' poll.

    Should Matt Barkley lead his team undefeated through the rest of the season and go into a big showdown against Notre Dame with only one loss, the Trojans have a good chance to overtake a one-loss SEC school.

    That's just something to keep an eye on for the remainder of the year.

Oregon State Gets the Shaft

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    No Top 10 ranking for Oregon State in the coaches' poll.

    Despite being undefeated with wins against Wisconsin and UCLA, the Beavers find themselves at No. 11.

    And though the AP poll showed them some love with a No. 8 ranking, Oregon State remains somewhat overlooked.

    No worries, though, this team has done just fine playing the underdog role all season.

Mississippi State Overlooked

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    If you actually sit down and watch Mississippi State, you'll notice that this team has both offensive firepower and a ball-hawking defense.

    Tied with Alabama and Tennessee, the Bulldogs are first in the SEC in interceptions with nine this season.

    As for the offense, Tyler Russell gives this team a legitimate balanced attack, which is something it lacked with Chris Relf at quarterback.

    Even so, this team is No. 15 in the AP poll and No. 16 in the USA Today coaches' poll. That means this 6-0 club is behind a Louisville team that's faced much less competition. Go figure.

Texas Falls out of Both Polls

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    Texas would have been better off not playing Oklahoma last Saturday.

    Saying that the Sooners put a whooping on Texas is actually putting it nicely. Anytime you lose 63-21, you deserve to fall out of the rankings, especially if that game is a rivalry game.

    Poor Texas fans. Playing second fiddle to Oklahoma is getting old, isn't it?

    Two weeks ago, people were clamoring that Texas was back. But after two straight losses, it's back to the drawing board for the Longhorns.

Ohio Receives Votes in AP Poll

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    Look at Ohio getting some love from the writers.

    In the AP poll, Ohio is ranked No. 25, but the coaches' poll left them unranked. The Bobcats are 7-0 this season, and Ohio's biggest win of the season came against Penn State in the first game of the season.

    That win is the most reasonable explanation for the Bobcats gaining votes in the AP poll. Penn State reeled off four straight wins since losing to Virginia in Week 2, and the resurgence of the program has helped Ohio.

    With Ohio getting in the Top 25, teams such as Arizona State and TCU are left unranked. Considering Ohio's last three wins against Akron, Buffalo and Massachusetts were all by seven points or fewer, an argument can be made that TCU and Arizona State received the shaft.

West Virginia Takes a Tumble

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    Breaking news: Defense wins championships.

    Wait, that's not breaking news? You would think so with the way teams emphasize offensive production.

    Whenever a team has a great offense but poor defense, a cause for concern is warranted. What happens when the offense isn't clicking and meets a great defense?

    A 49-14 blowout ensues.

    As a result, the Mountaineers are now No. 17 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the USA Today coaches' poll. Is this team still a national championship contender?

Texas Tech Makes Huge Leap in AP Poll

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    That's one side to the story. The other side is Texas Tech shooting up the polls.

    After the Red Raiders were unranked going into the game against West Virginia, they're now No. 18 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the coaches' poll.

    Looking ahead, the Red Raiders only have one ranked team left on the schedule, and that's Kansas State. Judging by both teams' style of play, this game is winnable for Texas Tech. If it turns into a defensive struggle, Seth Doege is good enough to make enough plays to give his team the victory.

    Don't look now, but Texas Tech could seriously challenge for a Big 12 championship.