AP College Football Poll 2012: Winners and Losers from Week 8
The Week 8 AP poll makes the right call by giving Florida the nod over Kansas State but fails to reward the underappreciated schools.
Alabama No. 1 and Oregon No. 2 is a given, but after South Carolina lost to LSU, the No. 3 slot was guaranteed to be a big topic of discussion Sunday morning, especially after the USA Today coaches' poll placed Kansas State there.
The writers got it right this time—or at least they got that part right. After correctly placing Florida ahead of Kansas State, the AP poll left out some teams who were thought to have a Top 25 spot locked up.
As a result, these are the biggest winners and losers of the Week 8 AP poll.
Ranking: No. 3 (Last Week: No. 4)
Florida is the surprise team of the year.
Before the season started, a 6-0 start for Florida might as well have been a fairy tale. Well, it looks like Cinderella wears blue and orange—and instead of prancing around a ballroom, Cinderella is testing teams' will and breaking it at the same time.
Florida has already proven that it is an elite team, but is it better than Kansas State?
With a defense that's giving up an average of 12.3 points per game this season and a rushing attack led by one of the best running backs in the SEC, Mike Gillislee, the Gators have a slight edge.
Ranking: NR (Last Week: NR)
TCU failed to climb back into the rankings in this week's poll despite a 49-21 victory against Baylor.
Instead, Ohio received votes to occupy the 25th spot in the Top 25. Good for Ohio for having a 7-0 record this season, including a win against Penn State, but shafting TCU for Ohio?
Really? The voters do realize that TCU is 5-1 with one loss to an always dangerous Iowa State club, right?
Do they also realize that Ohio's past three victories against Akron, Buffalo and Massachusetts were all by seven points or fewer?
Winner: Texas Tech
Ranking: 18 (Last Week: NR)
Tommy Tuberville may have something special in the Big 12.
His team, Texas Tech, can stop the other team from scoring. In other conferences, fans call this defense.
Good form tackling and creative schemes to disrupt passing flow are the base of the whole idea, and now that a team in the Big 12 is choosing this style of play, it's turned out to be useful. Texas Tech is only giving up 243 yards per game (fourth in the country), and that's after facing West Virginia's offense.
The Red Raiders defense led them to an incredible upset against Geno Smith's Mountaineers, and now they are sitting pretty in the polls.
Loser: Mississippi State
Ranking: 15 (Last week:19)
Finally, Mississippi State begins to climb the polls, but honestly, this is overdue.
The Bulldogs moved up four slots to No. 15, but the way this team has been playing, they look like a Top 12 team.
In fact, teams such as Georgia and Clemson, who are ranked ahead of them, have losses on their records and really don't have a significant win. Clemson's biggest win is against 2-4 Georgia Tech, while Georgia's biggest win is also Mississippi State's biggest win, Tennessee.
So why is an undefeated Mississippi State team ranked behind these teams?
Winner: Oregon State
Ranking: No. 8 (Last week: 10)
Oh, they're believing now.
Oregon State has gone from being a fun story to a legit title contender.
People are no longer saying, "Well, good for the Beavers." Instead, they're saying, "All right, this Oregon State team has some bite, and it really might make some noise in the Pac-12."
The Beavers are now 5-0 (3-0 in Pac-12), and they've benefited from UCLA and Wisconsin both being ranked when they played them. We'll find out more about Oregon State in the coming weeks when they play Washington, Arizona State and Stanford.
Loser: Arizona State
Ranking: NR (Last week: NR)
Arizona State is still trying to overcome the loss it suffered against Missouri earlier this season.
Since the 24-20 loss, Arizona State has won three straight in impressive fashion. The Sun Devils beat Utah 37-7, topped Cal 27-17 and then defeated Colorado 51-17 Thursday night.
Now, they face the Oregon Ducks in Tempe next week. Arizona State might be disappointed that its blowout win against Colorado didn't get it ranked in the AP poll, but an upset against Oregon Thursday night would surely get it in the Top 25.
At least Arizona State received some recognition in the coaches' poll with a No. 24 ranking.
Winner: The SEC
No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Florida, No. 6 LSU, No. 9 South Carolina
The SEC has four teams ranked in the Top 10 despite having two Top 10 teams face one another last Saturday.
Basically, the SEC's teams are so heavily respected that they can beat each other up in the conference and still be ranked high enough to contend for a national championship.
You can see Mike Slive grinning from a mile away.
The latest AP poll certainly reflects the SEC's continued dominance.
Ranking: 10 (Last week: 13)
Wait a minute, how can moving up three slots be considered a loss?
Oklahoma dismantled Texas after beating up a Texas Tech team that destroyed West Virginia, yet the Sooners are ranked behind Ohio State and Oregon State, who are undefeated but haven't faced the same caliber of competition.
Other than losing a close game to an undefeated Kansas State team, Oklahoma has dominated games and looked good doing it for the most part. The Sooners are 4-1, and after beating rival Texas 63-21, this team looks to be the second-best team in the Big 12 behind the Wildcats.
Plus, after looking at the coaches' poll and seeing Oklahoma at No. 7, it's easy to make a sell that Oklahoma received the shaft.