College Football Rankings 2012 Week 9: Ranked Teams Which Struggled

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 28, 2012

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is carted off the field after suffering a brutal right-leg injury.
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is carted off the field after suffering a brutal right-leg injury.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It didn't take long for ranked teams to struggle in Week 9 of the college football slate. The typical, drama-filled action kicked off on Friday evening, and the craziness extended into the very first games of the following day.

All were fortunate enough to escape narrowly with victories, but the close calls weren't without consequences—some far more severe than others. Here is a look at a trio of teams that weren't playing like BCS Top 25-caliber teams this week, to say the least.

No. 13 South Carolina vs. Tennessee

The 38-35 win over the SEC rival Volunteers won't be what Steve Spurrier's squad remembers from this game. Unfortunately, it looks as though star running back Marcus Lattimore suffered yet another serious leg injury on an awkward collision in the second quarter.

There is a video of the play available, but do keep in mind that it is extremely gruesome and is not suitable for some to watch.

Even prior to Lattimore's sad departure, the Gamecocks looked like a shell of the team that they were to start the year, nearly dropping their third consecutive SEC game.

Poor form was displayed particularly on defense. South Carolina hasn't stayed consistent at all on that side of the ball since its impressive performance in holding Georgia to seven points. Granted, Tyler Bray and his Tennessee supporting cast are quite talented, but the Gamecocks gave up 472 yards of offense.

The rest of the 2012 journey will be made all the more difficult with Lattimore out, which puts even more of a damper on the recent disappointing stretch by South Carolina that dashed its title hopes.

No. 16 Louisville vs. Cincinnati

To be fair, sophomore QB Teddy Bridgewater did his part by throwing for over 400 yards and leading a comeback effort that included 17 unanswered points within the third and fourth quarters. Bridgewater has emerged as one of the top, underrated quarterbacks in the nation.

The Bearcats were also undefeated before losing to Toledo in Week 8, so it's not as though they weren't a decent opponent.

In a shortened week, though, the Cardinals got complacent and had to rally to beat an inferior team, 34-31, in overtime on Friday night. It was a rivalry game with the Keg of Nails at stake, but if Charlie Strong's team were truly among the nation's best, it would have taken care of business in a more dominant fashion.

It was the second consecutive nail-biter at home for Louisville, which edged out South Florida 27-25 previously to keep its undefeated season alive.

If not for three interceptions let go by Bearcats QB Munchie Legaux, the Cardinals would have likely fallen out of the Top 25 by week's end.

The rest of the schedule isn't all that difficult until the season finale at Rutgers. If Louisville wants to be an undefeated team battling for Big East supremacy on November 29, it must play better than it has recently.

No. 23 Texas at Kansas

There were clamors for Mack Brown to be fired following a crushing loss for the second year in a row in the Red River Rivalry.

If not for a phenomenal effort by backup QB Case McCoy, who orchestrated a nine-play, 70-yard drive in the final two minutes to pull out a 21-17 victory, Brown may have been out of a job on the spot. 

The Longhorns have taken a nosedive since climbing as high as No. 11 in the AP poll a month ago, and it was very evident against a 1-7 Jayhawks team. Normal starting quarterback David Ash has played awfully in two of the past three games and may have lost his job.

What has plagued Texas the most is its defense. Although that wasn't necessarily the case on Saturday, the Longhorns still yielded enough points to trail one of the worst offensive teams in the nation late into the fourth quarter.

This has been among the most shocking collapses of the college football season, and though Texas ultimately came out on top, it no longer deserves a Top 25 spot in the polls .