NCAA Football Rankings 2012: Hits and Misses from Week 11 Polls
The AP Top 25 Poll and the USA Today Sports Coaches' Poll have been released for Week 11 with some surprise gains and losses. There are some obvious hits and some terrible misses that have come with the Week 11 Top 25.
Alabama is the undisputed No. 1 team in the land after its late rally and win over LSU, and the Texas Longhorns have jumped back into the rankings after a win over Texas Tech.
Oregon is making movements toward a national title appearance, and the USC Trojans are holding on by a thread in the bottom half of the Top 25 after a big loss to the Ducks. Toledo is the latest newcomer and the biggest hit of the Week 11 Polls.
Here are the five biggest hits and the five worst misses for the Week 11 Top 25.
*Rankings will be listed as coaches'/AP
No. 10/11 Louisville Cardinals: Miss
The Louisville Cardinals are the odd man out in this year’s BCS title chase. There are five teams that remain undefeated; the other four are found in the top four of the polls.
The Cardinals are not garnering the same respect, even though this Charlie Strong-led team has been dialing up wins in any possible way during the entire season. Their toughest win to date came against Cincinnati in overtime on October 26, but a year-ending showdown with Rutgers will likely be even tougher.
This 2012 Cardinals team has done everything asked of it, and has done so inside a BCS automatic conference. And while the Big East has an automatic bid to the BCS bowls, there is no argument that the conference's lone undefeated team is getting an equal look at the BCS title game.
Does Louisville scream Top 5? Not really, but with all has happened in college football, no one should argue against an undefeated, proven winner.
Falling to No. 10/11 gets Louisville a miss in this week’s rankings.
No. 2 Oregon Ducks: Hit
Oregon is a consensus No. 2 in the polls this week, solidifying the belief that this team is at least the second-best in the country.
After their big win over USC on Saturday, the Ducks have taken strides to keep themselves at the top of the national title discussion. With no quality wins prior to this game, the Ducks needed this convincing win over the Trojans in order to continue their push toward a national title.
As long as the Ducks keep winning, it seems impossible to leave them out of the title game no matter who else is undefeated. Oregon, which has been ranked No. 2 in the coaches' poll for several weeks, is the clear leader to face Alabama in the BCS title game.
Keeping Oregon in the No. 2 spot was a hit in the Week 11 polls.
No. 7 Florida Gators: Miss
Florida worked its way into the No. 2 position early this season after a surprising win over LSU on October 6 and a blowout victory over South Carolina on October 20. But on October 27—just one short week later—the Gators lost a heartbreaker to Georgia, which caused their rank to plummet.
This past Saturday, the Gators (8-1) looked very mediocre against Missouri (4-5). And while the Gators won, 14-7, the visiting Tigers were throwing for a game-tying touchdown with mere seconds left in the game. Florida won the game only because Gators RB Mike Gillislee took a screen pass 45 yards for the winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
This was a narrow win for the Gators in what had been set up to be a letdown game for Florida. Yet despite the Gators' near loss, Florida moved into the No. 7 position after LSU lost to Alabama.
While Florida is a good team, among the best in the country, there is no reason a one-loss team that struggled against a mediocre opponent should be placed over the Louisville Cardinals, an undefeated team from a BCS conference.
Sorry Gators, but the No. 7 ranking is a miss this week.
No. 6/8 Florida State Seminoles: Hit
The Florida State Seminoles fell victim to fate on October 6 with a 17-16 loss to N.C. State. This knocked the Seminoles out of the national title discussion. Since then, the Seminoles have won every game in convincing fashion, but it hasn’t been enough to push the 'Noles back into the title discussion.
The coaches’ poll has Florida State at No. 6, and the AP poll lists the Seminoles as the No. 8 team in the country. Both are positive rankings for the Seminoles and put them right around the position they belong.
This is a very good ACC team, but that has become a less-than-impressive label in the past few years. The Seminoles will continue to hold steady in the coming weeks as long as they continue to win games.
In other words, the polls got this ranking just right.
No. 5 (N/A in Coaches' Poll) Ohio State Buckeyes: Miss
Urban Meyer has worked wonders in Columbus, Oh. Meyer has turned around this Buckeyes program virtually overnight, making them into the top team in the Big Ten.
What is unfortunate for both this team and Meyer is that the Buckeyes are under postseason bans from sanctions following the Jim Tressel era. This team can’t play in a bowl game, and it can’t win the Big Ten.
The AP has decided to continue to vote on the Buckeyes despite their ban—much like they did for USC a year ago—and the poll currently has them ranked as the No. 5 team in the country. While the AP has no bearing on the BCS, it is still a national poll that is highly regarded.
Putting a team at No. 5 that is currently under sanctions makes no sense, which is why this was a miss for the AP.
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide: Hit
Alabama won a tough defensive battle against LSU this past Saturday. It took a last-minute drive to gain the lead and solidify the win for the Tide, confirming to the country that this Crimson Tide team is both complete and poised.
Along with the Tide's excellent defense, the strong offensive play from A.J. McCarron and Co. makes this Alabama team look unbeatable. The toughest test of the season thus far was against LSU, but Texas A&M awaits this coming weekend.
Keeping the Tide as the No. 1 team in the polls is an absolute no-brainer. This team is playing lights-out football and has displayed the best defense in the country every week.
Keeping the Tide at the top was a hit.
No. 13/14 Oklahoma Sooners: Miss
The Oklahoma Sooners defeated Iowa State this past Saturday in a game that was 14-6 at halftime. The contest finished with a Sooners 35-20 win, but this game was much closer than it should have been.
Oklahoma is in the top 15 and ranked over some good teams. The Sooners have only lost two games this season, but they have looked unimpressive in more than a handful of games. A blowout against Texas on October 13 was a big victory, but losses to Kansas State on September 22 and Notre Dame on October 27 looked bad.
This Oklahoma squad is the second-best team in the Big 12 right now, but it is not better than former Big 12 and current SEC member Texas A&M. That could change after games against West Virginia and Oklahoma State have been played, but as it stands, the Aggies are the better team.
The Sooners being in the top 15 at this point is a miss.
No. 22/21 USC Trojans: Hit
USC has bounced around the Top 25 all season and is the only three-loss team currently in the Top 25.
The Trojans have some of the most elite talent in the country, but on the national stage, their lack of depth holds them back. It showed against Oregon this past weekend, but USC was able to put up points against the much-improved Ducks defense.
It has been a long fall from No. 1 for the Trojans, but as the season settles, these current rankings are right where they belong. USC will be a solid bowl team that will likely earn a postseason win as it pushes toward another overrated year in 2013.
Currently, the polls hit it right with the ranking of the Trojans.
No. 17/19 Texas Longhorns: Miss
The Texas Longhorns have jumped back into the AP Top 25 at No. 19 this week, as they climbed to No. 17 (up from No. 22) in the coaches’ poll. The Longhorns beat the Red Raiders from Texas Tech on Saturday, which means they are back on the fringes of the national elite.
I find this hard to believe.
This is the same Texas squad that was embarrassed at the hands of Oklahoma on October 13. The same team that struggled to beat Kansas (1-8) on October 27.
This Texas team has a lot of questions, but as it stands, it only has two losses. But the team feels like it is full of fluff, like it's a flop waiting to happen this weekend against Iowa State.
Even if Texas pulls off a win in Ames, the polls missed with this too-high ranking of the up-and-down Longhorns team.
No. 25/23 Toledo Rockets: Hit
Toledo is one of the fun stories in college football this year. This Rockets team has seen a steady climb in wins over the past few seasons, but this year's 8-1 run came as a surprise. The only loss on the Rockets record to date is a season-opening loss to Arizona in overtime.
The Rockets have launched themselves into the national discussion, landing in the bottom fifth of the major polls for the first time this week. Toledo has finished in the Top 25 only four times in school history—the Rockets are shooting for the fifth this year.
It's quite possible Toledo can push deeper into the Top 25 before the season concludes and the bowls are announced, as its schedule is very winnable.
With this team sitting at 8-1 and gunning for a 11-1 season, the polls hit a home run by bringing the Rockets into the voting for the first time this season.