College Football Rankings 2012 Week 9: Winners and Losers of Latest AP Poll
This past weekend shook up the college football landscape in a big way, and you don't have to look very far to find the winners and losers of Week 9's AP Top 25 rankings.
There were a total of four games this weekend in which both teams were nationally ranked, and each of them proved to make for significant changes in this week's rankings. Each conference had a top-flight matchup that ended up with the winning team making a statement that will shape the rest of the season.
Although, there were still a fair share of teams that showed their ability to descend possibly out of the rankings altogether in the near future.
Let's take a look at the new rankings and dissect which teams were given the benefit of the doubt and which teams were screwed over.
Winner: No. 2 Oregon Ducks
With SEC powerhouse Florida proving to be such an elite team this season, the second-ranked Oregon Ducks are lucky to still be ahead of the bruising Gators.
Florida sat at No. 2 in last week's BCS rankings, which came as a bit of a surprise to many college football fans who didn't think that Oregon had done enough to lose out on their spot. But they retained the two spot in the AP poll yet again, and it's looking like it should stay that way until one team suffers their first loss as Oregon's 1,424 points are well ahead of Florida's 1,380.
As long as Oregon can stay unblemished on the season and get past remaining foes such as Oregon State and USC, they'll have absolutely no problem making their way to the BCS National Championship Game for the second time in three years. But that's no easy task, and they need as much leeway as possible in case they do suffer a loss.
Winner: No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame has been one of the big surprises and unarguably one of the best performing teams this season, but they didn't have it easy this weekend against Brigham Young.
The Irish trailed much of the game at home against an unranked BYU Cougars team, and it took a fourth-quarter touchdown to notch the victory in a 17-14 game.
Their defense stood strong by keeping the Cougars scoreless in the first, third and fourth quarters. The unit ranks second in the country with just 9.4 points against per contest.
But it's no secret that Notre Dame wasn't at their best on Saturday, and they found a way to win regardless. The voters noticed that by not dropping their rank at all.
Loser: No. 25 West Virginia Mountaineers
No team this season has taken a quicker fall from grace than the West Virginia Mountaineers have in the past two weeks.
The Mountaineers were ranked as the No. 5 team in the country just two weeks ago, when they fell 49-14 to Texas Tech. Heisman-hopeful quarterback Geno Smith looked horrid on offense, and that trend continued this weekend.
Smith's then-No. 13 West Virginia team was absolutely trounced by the fourth-ranked Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday, 55-14. The defense is as bad as we thought, and the offense obviously isn't nearly as potent as we initially experienced.
Smith had just seven points of impact on the day, also throwing his first two interceptions of the season. His Mountaineers aren't nearly the team we thought they were, and it shows with their No. 25 ranking.
Loser: No. 17 South Carolina Gamecocks
Just eight days ago, South Carolina joined West Virginia in the Top 5, and both teams seemed to be very serious national title contenders.
Oh, how things change.
Steve Spurrier's squad suffered a tough defeat to LSU last weekend, and thanks to being a part of the Southeastern Conference, they turned to face the No. 3 Florida Gators in The Swamp. They were beat 44-11, and voters noticed.
Though the Gamecocks kept Florida from having much offensive success in terms of yardage, they couldn't manage to quit making mistakes, and the Gators capitalized on all of them.
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