BCS Poll 2012: Breaking Down Week 9's Top 25 Teams
The second official BCS poll has been released with a few shifts occurring near the top of the poll. Taking a look at the latest release, this is the breakdown of Week 9’s Top 25 teams.
The biggest winner of the weekend was Kansas State with its 55-14 drubbing of conference foe West Virginia. A number of other teams had big shifts as well with huge wins and huge losses.
The BCS picture is beginning to take shape with half the college football season behind us. Let's take a look at what teams are in the conversation and the breakdown of each BCS Top 25 team.
No. 25 Wisconsin Badgers
Record: 6-2 (3-1 Big Ten)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Minnesota, 38-13
Best Win So Far: Oct. 6, Def. Illinois, 31-14
The Skinny: Wisconsin has looked lost at times this season and missed the bus to expectations town for the Badgers faithful. Montee Ball is having a solid senior season with 982 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, but it hasn’t been enough to keep the Badgers undefeated.
Four games remain for the Badgers with all of them being Big Ten contests. With Ohio State and Penn State not eligible for the Big Ten title game, Wisconsin could still push for a conference title.
With a conference title comes a Rose Bowl berth. Despite the rough start, this could be a strong finish and pleasant end to a shaky 2012 season for the Badgers.
No. 24 Ohio Bobcats
Record: 7-0 (3-0 MAC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 13, Def. Akron, 34-28
Best Win So Far: Sept. 1, Def. Penn State, 24-14
The Skinny: The Ohio Bobcats got one shot at the national stage so far this season and excelled in front of a national audience. The Bobcats defeated a 5-2 Penn State team on the road in the season opener.
The Bobcats are led by quarterback Tyler Tettleton who has tossed 12 touchdowns and only one interception this season. With only MAC games remaining on schedule, this Bobcats team has a great shot at finishing undefeated.
No. 23 Texas Longhorns
Record: 5-2 (2-2 Big 12)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Baylor, 56-50
Best Win So Far: Sept. 15, Def. Ole Miss, 66-31
The Skinny: The Longhorns opened the season modestly in the Top 25 and climbed into the Top 15 before a loss to West Virginia on Oct. 6. David Ash has been a breath of fresh air at quarterback for a previously anemic Texas offense, leading the Longhorns to the No. 6 scoring offense in the country.
The coming week brings Kansas, but the Longhorns close the season against four ranked opponents. Splitting those last four games will be an accomplishment for this team. A 8-4 record appears to be this team’s future.
No. 22 Michigan Wolverines
Record: 5-2 (3-0 Big Ten)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Michigan State, 12-10
Best Win So Far: Oct. 20, Def. Michigan State, 12-10
The Skinny: This Wolverines team has been a bit of a disappointment. Michigan started the season at No. 8, but after being blasted in Dallas by No. 1 Alabama, the Wolverines have been inconsistent and tough to watch.
Michigan has landed five wins and is undefeated in the Big Ten. There are no ranked teams left on the Wolverines' schedule, but a season-ending game against Ohio State will be a tough finish. This Michigan team is in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten title game and will win if it makes it to the championship.
A BCS bowl is still within reach for the Wolverines.
No. 21 Boise State Broncos
Record: 6-1 (3-0 MWC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. UNLV, 32-7
Best Win So Far: Sept. 20, Def. BYU, 7-6
The Skinny: Boise State opened the season with a loss to Michigan State on the national stage. The Broncos have won out, but have struggled to climb back into the national discussion with a weak overall schedule.
Boise State stands the chance to run the table and finish the season with 11 wins, but this season doesn’t appear to be one that the Broncos can climb the Top 25 ladder and make it into the BCS buster discussion.
On the other hand, a MWC championship is coming into view.
No. 20 Texas A&M Aggies
Record: 5-2 (2-2 SEC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 13, Def. Louisiana Tech, 59-57
Best Win So Far: Oct. 6, Def. Ole Miss, 30-27
The Skinny: Johnny Manziel has taken the college football world by storm the first half of this season. He has 1,956 passing yards and 703 rushing yards through seven games.
The freshman quarterback has led Texas A&M to a five wins and is looking for a few more before the season concludes. A&M has been surprisingly strong in its first season in the SEC.
Games against Mississippi State and Alabama remain, but the Aggies should finish the season 3-2, leading to a solid 8-4 record and bowl berth for 2012.
No. 19 West Virginia Mountaineers
Record: 5-2 (2-2 Big 12)
Latest Victory: Oct. 6, Def. Texas, 48-45
Best Win So Far: Oct. 6, Def. Texas, 48-45
The Skinny: The Mountaineers were the newcomer of the month in September, but October has brought two losses and the apparent key to victory against this once unbeatable offensive unit. Geno Smith is clawing to keep his Heisman candidacy alive, and the Mountaineers are hoping to win out.
With games against TCU, Oklahoma and Iowa State remaining, West Virginia could lose at least two more games this season, crushing the hopes of Mountaineers fans that once held BCS title aspirations.
No. 18 Clemson Tigers
Record: 6-1 (3-1 ACC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Virginia Tech, 38-17
Best Win So Far: Oct. 6, Def. Georgia Tech, 47-31
The Skinny: The Clemson Tigers started the season with a tough win in Atlanta over Auburn. The Tigers looked to be on their way to a national title run until Florida State took Clemson to the woodshed, beating the Tigers 49-37.
Tajh Boyd has been very good for the Tigers and could help lead this team to victories in each of its remaining games. The Tigers do finish the season against South Carolina at home, but if that turns out a win for the Tigers, they will finish 11-1.
Thanks to the loss to Florida State earlier in the season an ACC title is looking out of the question, but a solid bowl awaits this talented Clemson team.
No. 17 Stanford Cardinal
Record: 5-2 (3-1 Pac 12)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. California, 21-3
Best Win So Far: Sept. 15, Def. Southern Cal, 21-14
The Skinny: Stanford has been an overachiever through the first half of the season. The Cardinal knocked off the then-No. 1 USC Trojans in September and have continued to play inspired football.
Losses to Washington and Notre Dame hurt, but Notre Dame is undefeated and Stanford was bound to lose a game it shouldn’t. Stepfan Taylor has been a threat on the ground for Stanford mounting 846 rushing yards so far this season. He is a dark-horse Heisman candidate.
Stanford still must face Oregon State and Oregon before the season concludes. A 8-4 year looks to be the future, but after losing Andrew Luck and others to the NFL after 2011 that is a solid year.
No. 16 Louisville Cardinals
Record: 7-0 (2-0 Big East)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. South Florida, 27-25
Best Win So Far: Sept. 15, Def. North Carolina, 39-34
The Skinny: The Cardinals have been the favorite to win the Big East since the start of the season. Rutgers is making a lot of waves in the conference, but Louisville should feel great about where it stands with five games remaining.
This coming week the Cardinals will host the Cincinnati Bearcats in a major Big East contest. With a win, the Cardinals will carry momentum into the final portion of the schedule. They will need it when they travel to Rutgers to close the year.
No. 15 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Record: 7-0 (4-0 Big East)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Temple, 35-10
Best Win So Far: Sept. 22, Def. Arkansas 35-26
The Skinny: This Rutgers team could be legit BCS contenders in 2012. With a very winnable schedule remaining, the Scarlet Knights are in great position to finish undefeated and with a Big East title.
Cincinnati and Louisville remain hoping to knock the Rutgers dreams down to nightmares, but the Scarlet Knights are playing inspired football led by their defense through eight weeks of football.
Right now the Knights are the leader for a Big East title and a BCS berth to finish the year.
No. 14 Texas Tech Red Raiders
Record: 6-1 (3-1 Big 12)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Texas Tech, 56-53 OT
Best Win So Far: Oct. 13, Def. West Virginia, 49-14
The Skinny: The Red Raiders have been one of the surprises of the Big 12 so far this season. Texas Tech is led by senior quarterback Seth Doege who already has accumulated 2,209 passing yards and 28 touchdowns this fall.
The Red Raiders won a tight game Saturday against TCU, taking the game to overtime to seal the victory. Kansas State and Texas remain on schedule bringing high quality win opportunities to the Red Raiders.
While Texas Tech won’t beat Kansas State, a win over Texas is doable and a 9-3 record appears in reach for this Tommy Tuberville-led squad.
No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks
Record: 6-2 (4-2 SEC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 6, Def. Georgia, 35-7
Best Win So Far: Oct. 6, Def. Georgia 35-7
The Skinny: The Spurrier-led Gamecocks have been very good in the past few seasons, with 2010 hitting the height of success with a SEC title game berth. This was set to be Carolina’s year again as the Gamecocks began the season as one of the best teams in the country.
South Carolina has lost consecutive games to LSU and Florida, with Tennessee waiting around the corner. The Gamecocks could win out with the toughest game remaining coming against Clemson.
A 10-2 record isn’t what South Carolina was looking for if it didn’t include a SEC title, but finishing strong will land the Gamecocks in a major bowl at season's end.
No. 12 Florida State Seminoles
Record: 7-1 (4-1 ACC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Miami (Fl), 33-20
Best Win So Far: Sept. 22, Def. Clemson, 49-37
The Skinny: Florida State was the national title favorite during fall camp this season, but a loss to N.C. State on Oct. 6 ruined those hopes for the Seminoles.
E.J. Manuel has been as good as expected, but the Seminoles' rushing game has been the most impressive piece of the offense. Chris Thompson has been amazing in his senior season, rushing 91 times for 687 yards so far this year.
There are four games remaining for this team with Florida concluding the season in Tallahassee. The Seminoles should win all the ACC contests remaining, but a loss will come to the Gators. A 10-2 record is what to expect from the Seminoles.
No. 11 Mississippi State Bulldogs
Record: 7-0 (3-0 SEC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Middle Tennessee State 45-3
Best Win So Far: Oct. 13, Def. Tennessee, 41-31
The Skinny: The Bulldogs from Starkville have been the surprise of the SEC. This team is strong defensively and efficient on offense. Dan Mullen has finally put together a possible title team at Mississippi State.
This week is when the season comes to a head with an away game to Alabama. State also faces Texas A&M and LSU before the season ends. The Bulldogs could easily finish as a 10-2 team, but it could also finish 9-3 or 8-4. How they handle Alabama should be a sign for things to come for this team.
At this point, the Bulldogs are still very much a part of the SEC title discussion.
No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs
Record: 6-1 (4-1 SEC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Kentucky, 29-24
Best Win So Far: Sept. 8, Def. Missouri, 41-20
The Skinny: Georgia was supposed to contend for a national title this fall. The Bulldogs fell far short of that goal with an October opening loss to South Carolina 35-7 in Columbia.
The Bulldogs have not played very well defensively, but they have found two star freshman running backs in Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.
A tough contest waits this Saturday with the Florida game lurking in the shadows, but a very winnable schedule follows. This is a 10-win Georgia team that has undershot expectations by miles so far in 2012. A win over Florida could change that.
No. 9 USC Trojans
Record: 6-1 (4-1 Pac 12)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Colorado, 50-9
Best Win So Far: Oct. 13, Def. Washington, 24-14
The Skinny: The Matt Barkley-led Trojans were the hot pick for the national title this season, but Stanford quickly made short work of those expectations, defeating Southern California 21-14 in September.
The Trojans can still make a run, with Oregon and Notre Dame remaining on schedule, but wins against those teams will not be easy to come by. Barkley is returning to Heisman form after an amazing performance against Colorado Saturday, but it has to continue as the schedule does the Trojans no favors.
Win out and this team is in the title game, lose a few more games and the Trojans are a middle-of-the-pack upper-level team.
No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners
Record: 5-1 (3-1 Big 12)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Kansas, 52-7
Best Win So Far: Oct. 13, Def. Texas, 63-21
The Skinny: The Sooners have returned to form this season standing in the No. 2 position in the Big 12 through eight weeks of football. Oklahoma has faced a tough Texas team and played a very close game to the Big 12 leading Kansas State Wildcats.
Landry Jones is having as good of a season as ever and is looking to continue the tear through the remaining schedule. With Notre Dame, Iowa State, West Virginia and TCU remaining, it won’t be easy but Oklahoma can return to the top of the national spotlight by winning out.
No. 7 Oregon State Beavers
Record: 6-0 (4-0 Pac 12)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Utah, 21-7
Best Win So Far: Sept. 8, Def. Wisconsin, 10-7
The Skinny: Oregon State is dancing in the Top 10 through the first nine weeks of the season. If you predicted that, you should really take up sports betting—immediately.
Even after losing starting quarterback Sean Mannion to a knee injury, the Beavers continue to pile up the wins. Washington, Arizona State, Oregon and Stanford all remain on the docket.
It is a tough road that remains, but the Beavers have a great shot at finishing this special season with only one to two losses on the record. You have to be impressed with the growth that has happened in Corvallis.
No. 6 LSU Tigers
Record: 7-1 (3-1 SEC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Texas A&M, 24-19
Best Win So Far: Oct. 13, Def. South Carolina, 23-21
The Skinny: LSU began the season with a lot of expectations after making it to the national title game a year ago. Zach Mettenberger was expected to be the key to success, but so far he has disappointed at key times.
The Tigers have played well on defense, but the offense has been very spotty. Mettenberger is only completing 56.6 percent of his passes and has tossed four interceptions on the season.
LSU still faces Alabama and Mississippi State which could lead to a bigger fall, or a fast climb for this Tigers team. Ten wins may not have been the goal at the start of the season, but at this point it has to be the focus.
No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. BYU, 17-14
Best Win So Far: Oct. 13, Def. Stanford, 20-13
The Skinny: Notre Dame is America’s team. Love them or hate them, every college football fan can recognize the golden dome. The Irish have built an amazing season this year, and it has been good for college football.
Playing stingy defense led by Manti Te’o, Notre Dame has been unstoppable on the football field. With games against Oklahoma and USC remaining on the schedule, the road is not over.
If Notre Dame continues to win, it will land in the national title game. The game against Oklahoma this coming Saturday will determine if this team is ready for the BCS or not.
No. 4 Oregon Ducks
Record: 7-0 (4-0 Pac 12)
Latest Victory: Oct. 18, Def. Arizona State, 43-21
Best Win So Far: Oct. 6, Def. Washington, 52-21
The Skinny: Oregon dropped for the second week in a row in the BCS standings, but these Ducks are for real. The lowest scoring game for this team came against Fresno State in the second week of the season when it scored 42. Not a bad mark for the Ducks. This offense is overwhelmingly impressive.
Marcus Mariota has done a great job as a freshman signal-caller for the Ducks and could lead this team to a BCS title game. With games against USC, Stanford and Oregon State remaining on the schedule, winning out will give this Ducks team a front-row seat to the title game.
Expect the Ducks to march into the Pac-12 title game undefeated looking for a shot at the national title.
No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats
Record: 7-0 (4-0 Big 12)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. West Virginia, 55-14
Best Win So Far: Oct. 20, Def. West Virginia, 55-14
The Skinny: Kansas State has been the most impressive team top to bottom in college football this fall. The Wildcats have a very potent offense and are playing lights-out defense.
Collin Klein is a leading Heisman candidate, and the Wildcats have a very winnable schedule that remains in front of them. The Klein-led Wildcats will face Texas Tech this coming week and then face TCU and Texas before the season ends.
With no Big 12 title game to play, this Wildcats squad is one of the favorite teams to run at the BCS title game this January.
No. 2 Florida Gators
Record: 7-0 (6-0 SEC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. South Carolina, 44-11
Best Win So Far: Oct. 6, Def. LSU, 14-6
The Skinny: Florida came from nowhere to become a Top Five BCS team seemingly overnight. This team has risen to the top faster than any other team in college football history in a single season.
The Gators have defeated tough LSU and South Carolina squads with a young Jeff Driskel leading the way through the air and on the ground. This Florida defense is one of the best in the country and has led to a lot of the wins the team has landed this season.
Georgia and Florida State are the remaining challenges for this team. If the Gators win out, they will continue to receive national love and head into the SEC title game as the No. 2 team in the country.
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Record: 7-0 (4-0 SEC)
Latest Victory: Oct. 20, Def. Tennessee, 44-13
Best Win So Far: Sept. 29, Def. Ole Miss, 33-14
The Skinny: This is a defensive-minded team that holds the No. 1 spot in every major defensive category. In true Nick Saban fashion, this team simply out-executes their opponents on a regular basis. The offense has been serviceable and good enough to push for another national title.
The toughest stretch of the season is coming in the next three weeks with No. 12 Mississippi State, No. 6 LSU and No. 18 Texas A&M all on the docket. Wins in those games will almost surely place Alabama back into the BCS national title game at season's end.