NCAA Football Rankings 2012: Hits and Misses from Week 12 Polls
Week 11 of the college football season has passed with another major shift at the top of the polls with Alabama losing to Texas A&M on Saturday.
The path to the national title is becoming more clear with each passing week, but three teams remain undefeated with each squad creating an argument for No. 1.
There were a number of tight games this past Saturday, with Florida battling down to the wire with Louisiana-Lafayette, and Texas Tech pushing to overtime with Kansas.
Here are the hits and misses from the Week 12 polls' release.
Difference in poll rankings represented as AP/Coaches'
No. 1 Oregon Ducks: Hit
The Ducks landing at No. 1 is no surprise after Saturday night’s win over Cal, but Oregon fans undoubtedly held their collective breath waiting for these poll results.
The Ducks have battled to find their way to No. 1. Oregon has defeated three Top 25 teams this year with the remaining schedule bringing three more Top 25 contests. Now that the Ducks have arrived at No. 1, they just have to keep on winning.
The Ducks fought through adversity early against Cal to pull out the big win. Freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota left the game with a shoulder injury in the first half, later returning to lead the Ducks to a 59-17 win.
Unless an upset comes in the final weeks of the season, Oregon should be a lock to stay at No. 1.
No. 4/5 Alabama Crimson Tide: Miss
The Alabama Crimson Tide suffered their first loss of the season this past weekend when Texas A&M marched into Tuscaloosa and stole the show from the start. The Alabama defense started the game on its heels after the Aggies jumped out to a 20-0 lead, and the Tide could never recover.
This Alabama team was the undisputed No. 1 team in the country until this Saturday, and the hangover from that memory appears to remain in the minds of the voters.
After losing a tight conference game at home, Alabama has remained in the Top Five in both polls. The perception by many is that Alabama had a hiccup and still may be the best team.
Watching the game Saturday from start to finish, this Crimson Tide team is not the best team in the country. This Alabama team isn’t a Top Five team after that loss.
Keeping the Tide in the Top Five was expected, but one-loss Georgia and Florida teams are screaming foul.
No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Hit
Notre Dame has been the most surprising undefeated team of the 2012 season. The Irish started the season with one of the toughest schedules in the country, and they have been able to maneuver through every game seamlessly.
This has not been an eye-catching team, but it wins ballgames. Notre Dame has consistently found ways to win, but if faced with the top competition in the country, the luck would likely run out.
Right now the Irish landing at No. 3 is spot-on. Notre Dame has failed the eye test, but this team finds ways to win. Brian Kelly has done a great job for the Irish this season, but they aren’t reliable enough to climb any higher just yet.
No. 5/4 Georgia Bulldogs: Miss (AP)
The Georgia Bulldogs have battled through inconsistency this season, marching to an SEC Eastern Division title on Saturday. The Bulldogs are headed to Atlanta and were on a mission to prove their worth against Auburn this weekend.
As the Bulldogs blasted Auburn 38-0 on Saturday, Alabama lost to Texas A&M at home in a game that the Tide wasn’t competitive in until the final half. Somehow, Alabama is still ranked above Georgia by the AP.
To this point, both teams have pushed through a tough SEC schedule and have one loss under their belts. That Alabama still trumps the Bulldogs is amazing, to say the least, but they have the chance at redemption in December when they face the Crimson Tide in the SEC title game.
No. 7 Florida Gators: Miss
The Florida Gators struggled on Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin' Cajuns came to Gainesville upset-minded and almost pulled off the victory.
The Ragin' Cajuns led the game deep into the fourth quarter, but big plays helped Florida push for a tie. With less than 20 seconds remaining in the game, ULL attempted to punt away to Florida and push for overtime.
The Gators blocked the punt and scored the winning touchdown.
Even though it required a blocked punt to beat ULL, the Gators are still a Top 10 team. Florida struggled to earn some wins this season, but it finds ways to finish with wins.
Teams like Florida State and Clemson have been more impressive down the stretch and deserve a nod over these Gators after this past weekend. Florida over the in-state Seminoles in the AP Poll is a miss.
No. 10/6 Florida State Seminoles: Miss
Polls tend to lend different results with each passing weekend of college football, but a four-spot difference with three weeks left in the season is an abnormal result.
The Florida State Seminoles find themselves in a very unique position, ranked as the No. 10 team in the country by the AP and the No. 6 team by the coaches.
The Seminoles have lost only one game this season and have had one close win in their remaining games. This team is much better than its rankings appear. A No. 6 ranking could be argued, but No. 10 for this team is a laughable move by the AP.
No. 9/10 Texas A&M Aggies: Miss
The poll voters obviously missed Saturday’s game between Alabama and Texas A&M. That is the only explanation for the Aggies barely grazing the Top 10 after the huge road win.
The Aggies have continued to climb the college football ladder this season and are currently one of the best teams in the country. The Aggies are explosive on offense and play fast and tenacious on defense.
The Aggies are pushing for an at-large BCS bid this year, and if they continue to earn convincing wins, they will finish in a 2013 bowl game. Not getting a definitive Top 10 nod after this weekend’s huge win is surprising and disappointing for this A&M team.
No. 19 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs: Miss
The Bulldogs are really shaking their heads right now. Louisiana Tech has lost one game—a down-to-the-wire loss to No. 9 Texas A&M—and throttled the majority of its opponents this fall.
Colby Cameron is one of the most efficient signal-callers in the college game, tossing 27 touchdowns and no interceptions so far this fall. He is also completing 71 percent of his passes.
The Bulldogs are No. 2 in the country in scoring offense and in the top 15 in every major offensive category. Why this one-loss Bulldogs team is still sitting behind Louisville and others is unexplainable.
No. 15/17 Oregon State Beavers: Hit (Coaches)
The Beavers have been one of the most impressive teams in college football this year. After facing a 3-9 season in 2011, the Beavers have gone 7-2 so far.
This Saturday, Oregon State lost to Stanford in a tough and tight road game, but it was able to maintain its Top 20 ranking. The Beavers deserve every bit of their Top 25 placement.
This team has defeated two Top 25 teams and almost beat Stanford at home. While the Beavers won’t win the Pac-12 this season, falling to the No. 17 spot in the coaches' poll is still representative of the tough play and effort produced by Oregon State this season.
No. 25/UNR Kent State Golden Flashes: Hit
Who doesn’t love the underdog in college football? This year, there have been a number of underdog-type mid-major teams that have graced the Top 25, and Kent State is the latest installment of a mid-major into the rankings.
This is a great story for this season, as the Golden Flashes have won most games in convincing fashion in 2012 after marching to a 5-7 record in 2011.
The Flashes' only loss came against Kentucky earlier this year, and a marquee win over Rutgers is Kent State’s claim to fame this season.
A MAC championship appears to be in the future for this squad with a bowl game to follow. The Golden Flashes landing at No. 25 in the AP Poll is a big hit for the voters and the mid-majors in college football.