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BCS Standings Week 13: The One Flaw for Every Top 25 Team

Zach DirlamSenior Analyst IINovember 18, 2012

BCS Standings Week 13: The One Flaw for Every Top 25 Team

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    The latest round of BCS rankings has been released, and there are some new teams in the Top 25 along with a completely reshuffled top five after one of the wildest weekends of college football in recent memory. 

    Now that the new rankings have informed us who the best teams in the country are let's take a look at the biggest weakness for each of the Top 25 teams.

    Click ahead to find out the biggest issue for all of the teams that find themselves in the BCS standings.

No. 25 Washington Huskies

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    Biggest Weakness: Offensive line

    The fact that the Washington Huskies found a way to beat the nationally ranked Stanford Cardinal and Oregon State Beavers with a completely depleted offensive line is nothing short of remarkable.

    The Huskies have been without starting right guard Colin Porter (degenerative arthritis) for the entire season, starting left guard Colin Tanigawa (knee) since late September and starting right tackle Erik Kohler (knee) hasn't played since Washington's 41-3 loss to the LSU Tigers in Week 2.

    Sophomore lineman Ben Riva filled in for Kohler until he suffered a broken forearm in the Huskies' season-opener against the San Diego State Aztecs, which forced the 6'6", 302-pounder to miss Washington's next five games.

    The young offensive line, which features four first-year starters that are either freshmen or sophomores, has improved as the season has gone on, but the Huskies are No. 100 among all Football Bowl Subdivision programs in sacks allowed (31).

    Heck, I think even Jay Cutler would take his offensive line over the five guys blocking for Washington's dual-threat quarterback Keith Price.

No. 24 Arizona Wildcats

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    Biggest Weakness: Team defense

    Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez has made a living piling up massive amounts of total yardage and scoring points at an alarming rate, but the team's defense is one of the worst in the country and has cost them more games against quality opponents than their offense has won them.

    The Wildcats gave up 49 points to the Oregon Ducks, 38 against the Oregon State Beavers, 54 in three overtimes with the Stanford Cardinal and 66 in a complete meltdown against the UCLA Bruins.

    Out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, Arizona is ranked No. 114 in total defense (488 yards per game) and No. 103 in scoring defense (33.6 points per game).

No. 23 Kent State Golden Flashes

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    Biggest Weakness: Passing defense

    The Kent State Golden Flashes are a newcomer to the BCS Top 25, and considering the Mid-American Conference East Division champions are 10-1 and boast a victory over the nationally ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights, it is a little bit overdue. 

    Although the Golden Flashes average 244.6 yards on the ground, which ranks No. 11 among all Football Bowl Subdivision schools, and pile up 35 points per game, Kent State has some flaws in its secondary.

    While Kent State leads the nation with 21 passes intercepted, the Golden Flashes have surrendered 286.5 passing yards per game. Only seven teams allow more yards through the air.

    It is feast or famine for Kent State's secondary. The Golden Flashes have been able to cover this up, though, with a stout rushing defense and high-scoring offense.

No. 22 Boise State Broncos

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    Biggest Weakness: Quarterback play

    The Boise State Broncos are finding out how hard it is to replace a college football legend like Kellen Moore as head coach Chris Petersen and Co. have watched junior quarterback Joe Southwick struggle through his first full season as a starter.

    Southwick has thrown for more than 300 yards in just two games this year, which is a considerably low number when you factor in how weak Boise State's schedule has been.

    The Danville, Calif. product is completing 66 percent of his passes, but the problem is that none of the plays are going for big gains and the Broncos have had to turn to senior running back D.J. Harper to carry the load offensively.

No. 21 Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Biggest Weakness: Passing defense

    It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Oklahoma State Cowboys are one of the nation's best teams in just about every offensive category, just like it shouldn't shock anyone that Mike Gundy's team is one of the worst defensive teams in all of college football.

    The Cowboys have given up an average of 262 yards through the air and haven't managed to stop anyone from throwing the ball at will against them.

    The Arizona Wildcats, led by senior quarterback Matt Scott, rolled up 501 total yards in a 59-38 rout of the Cowboys. Scott threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

    Former Heisman Trophy front-runner Geno Smith threw for 364 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort against Oklahoma State, but the Texas Longhorns' sophomore signal-caller also eclipsed 300 yards passing in a 41-36 shootout win over the Cowboys.

    It should be noted that the Cowboys did manage to slow down Collin Klein and held the Heisman contender to just 245 yards through the air in a 44-30 defeat.

No. 20 Louisville Cardinals

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    Biggest Weakness: Rushing defense

    Hopefully, the Louisville Cardinals learned from their 45-26 loss to the Syracuse Orange two weeks ago and made some adjustments to their rushing defense during their bye week.

    The Cardinals gave up 278 rushing yards against the Orange, 196 yards in a 34-31 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats, 197 yards in a 27-25 slugfest with the lowly South Florida Bulls and allowed the winless Southern Miss Golden Eagles to rack up 224 yards on the ground.

    Louisville will not be tested by the Connecticut Huskies this weekend, but the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have enough talent on offense to rush for 200 yards considering how porous the Cardinals have looked defensively this season.

No. 19 Michigan Wolverines

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    Biggest Weakness: Offensive line

    The Michigan Wolverines no longer have an issue at quarterback now that junior dual-threat Devin Gardner has come into his own as a passer and taken the reins of head coach Brady Hoke's offense, but the Maize and Blue still have some concerns along their offensive line.

    Michigan's offense has been predictable for much of the season, and establishing the run has been a problem for the Wolverines all season long.

    The Wolverines boast the nation's No. 36-ranked rushing offense with nearly 200 yards per game, but those numbers do not truly reflect how much Michigan's offensive line has struggled to block for Fitzgerald Toussaint and Thomas Rawls.

    Senior quarterback Denard Robinson has been the only saving grace for Michigan's ground game as the Deerfield Beach, Fla. native has rushed for more than 90 yards in seven contests, including 200-yard rushing efforts against the Air Force Falcons and Purdue Boilermakers.

No. 18 Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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    Biggest Weakness: Offensive inconsistency

    The Rutgers Scarlet Knights got off to a 7-0 start before being eliminated from the ranks of college football's unbeaten teams by the Kent State Golden Flashes, who exposed their inability to keep up offensively in a shootout.

    The Scarlet Knights have only scored more than 30 points in two games this season, and Rutgers has only played three teams with a winning record thus far.

    The main reason Rutgers has struggled so much offensively is because of how careless the Scarlet Knights tend to be with the football.

    The Golden Flashes forced seven turnovers in their upset victory over Rutgers; the Cincinnati Bearcats gave up over 400 yards of offense against the Scarlet Knights, but managed to pick off sophomore quarterback Gary Nova twice and only gave up 10 points.

    Fortunately, Rutgers' defense only gave up a field goal in their win over the Bearcats.

No. 17 UCLA Bruins

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    Biggest Weakness: Passing defense

    The UCLA Bruins have been one of the biggest surprises this season having won nine of 11 games, including a victory over the USC Trojans on Saturday.

    Johnathan Franklin has led the Bruins' offensive resurgence, and if UCLA were not getting an average of 37.7 points per game they might be a sub-.500 team considering how bad their passing defense has been this year.

    The Bruins only managed to beat the two-win Washington State Cougars by eight points thanks to their defense giving up 457 yards and five touchdowns through the air, while the Cal Golden Bears threw for 295 yards in a 43-17 rout of UCLA.

    Jim Mora Jr.'s defense has also gave up more than 300 passing yards in a narrow 45-43 escape against the Arizona State Sun Devils and in a 27-20 loss to the Oregon State Beavers.

No. 16 Texas Longhorns

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    Biggest Weakness: Receiving corps

    Now that the Texas Longhorns appear to have addressed their issues on the defensive side of the ball, their main weakness is their wide receiving corps, which only has two players with more than 254 receiving yards this season.

    David Ash has thrown to Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley a total of 85 times this season for 1,338 yards, which accounts for more than half of his passing yards through 10 games.

    The Longhorns have still managed to put up 39.6 points per game and have racked up an average of 265.2 passing yards per contest, but there is still a lot to be desired from their current group of receivers.

    It is great to have two standouts like Davis and Shipley, but if the Longhorns hope to upset the Kansas State Wildcats in a few weeks they will need another wideout to emerge.

No. 15 Oregon State Beavers

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    Biggest Weakness: Rushing offense

    The Oregon State Beavers have struggled to run the football all season long, though Mike Riley's squad has been able to get off to an 8-2 start on the strength of its defense, which is ranked No. 26 in the country in total defense.

    Storm Woods and Terron Ward have just been able to keep opposing defenses honest, while quarterbacks Cody Vaz and Sean Mannion have done most of the damage this season for Oregon State's offense.

    The Beavers have even had to get sophomore wide receiver Brandin Cooks in an attempt to generate a consistent rushing offense.

    Oregon State's offense will have to find a way to run the football and keep the Oregon Ducks off-balance next Saturday if they hope to upset their in-state rival in the Civil War.

No. 14 Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Biggest Weakness: Inconsistent passing offense

    Junior dual-threat quarterback Taylor Martinez deserves a lot of credit for improving his throwing mechanics and footwork over the offseason, which has made him a more accurate passer, but the Nebraska Cornhuskers have been inconsistent through the air this season.

    Martinez has only thrown for more than 200 yards in four games this year, and the Cornhuskers were beaten handily by the Ohio State Buckeyes in one of those contests. 

    The good news for the Cornhuskers, though, is that sophomore I-back Ameer Abdullah is running harder than ever with over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns to his name.

    Martinez has been electrifying on the ground as well for Nebraska. The Corona, Calif. product has rushed for 792 yards and eight touchdowns on 140 carries, including a 205-yard effort against the Michigan State Spartans.

    The Cornhuskers check in at No. 76 among all Football Bowl Subdivision programs in passing offense.

No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners

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    Biggest Weakness: Rushing offense

    In the Oklahoma Sooners' only two losses this season, Bob Stoops' team has failed to run the football effectively, which puts too much pressure on quarterback Landry Jones to carry the load against better teams.

    As of late, the Sooners have not had any problems generating a consistent ground game, but they've done it against the Baylor Bears and West Virginia Mountaineers, who are two of the worst defensive teams in all of college football.

    The Sooners only netted 15 rushing yards in their 30-13 loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and struggled to a mere 88 rushing yards against the Kansas State Wildcats.

    Oklahoma should have no problems offensively when it faces the Oklahoma State Cowboys next weekend, but the TCU Horned Frogs should provide a bit of a test for the Sooners' rushing attack that ranks No. 53 in the country. 

No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Biggest Weakness: Rushing offense

    The South Carolina Gamecocks were already struggling to run the ball against some of the better teams in the SEC before star running back Marcus Lattimore went down with a knee injury three weeks ago, which only made matters worse for Steve Spurrier's team.

    In South Carolina's two losses to the LSU Tigers and Florida Gators, the Gamecocks failed to gain more than 36 rushing yards.

    Additionally, the Gamecocks barely broke the century mark on the ground in a 38-20 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks, who are ranked near the bottom of just about every statistical category related to defense.

    Even the Wofford Terriers were not completely dominated by South Carolina's rushing attack, which is a bad sign for the Gamecocks heading into their rivalry week matchup with the Clemson Tigers.

No. 11 Clemson Tigers

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    Biggest Weakness: Passing defense

    Like several of the other teams in this slideshow, the Clemson Tigers' ineptitude on defense has been masked by their ability to score points in bunches against bad teams.

    The Tigers allowed the Florida State Seminoles to rack up 380 yards passing in their 49-37 loss in Tallahassee; N.C. State Wolfpack signal-caller Mike Glennon shredded Clemson's secondary for 493 yards and the struggling Boston College Eagles managed to throw for 369 yards in a losing effort.

    It should come as no coincidence that Clemson's only loss came against Florida State, because the Seminoles have been the only team on the Tigers' schedule with a stout enough defense to slow down their offense.

    Clemson will finally line up against a strong defensive team this weekend when they take on the South Carolina Gamecocks at home. 

    Don't be surprised if South Carolina's Connor Shaw has a field day against Clemson's secondary like several other quarterbacks have this season.

No. 10 Florida State Seminoles

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    Biggest Weakness: Third-down efficiency

    The Florida State Seminoles have one of the most electrifying offenses in the country led by dual-threat quarterback E.J. Manuel, but head coach Jimbo Fisher has seen his team fail to convert on third down more times than he cares to recall this season.

    In Florida State's lone loss this season to the N.C. State Wolfpack, the Seminoles went 3-for-15 on third downs, which is not good enough to beat many teams.

    Even in recent victories over the Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes and Virginia Tech Hokies, the Seminoles have only been able to convert 6 of 24 third downs.

    Florida State will need to keep itself in short yardage situations on third down and keep drives alive with a few more conversions than they have had lately in order to top the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium this Saturday.

No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies

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    Biggest Weakness: Passing defense

    The Texas A&M Aggies are one of the hottest teams in college football right now thanks to outstanding play from freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, but problems still remain in head coach Kevin Sumlin's secondary.

    The Aggies were exposed defensively by the Alabama Crimson Tide as A.J. McCarron threw for 309 yards in a 29-24 loss to Texas A&M.

    The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs also managed to throw the ball all over the Aggies' secondary en route to a 450-yard performance through the air in a 59-57 loss.

No. 8 Stanford Cardinal

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    Biggest Weakness: Inconsistent quarterback play

    Everyone knew it would take some time to find Andrew Luck's replacement, and it only took the Stanford Cardinal nine games to figure out that Kevin Hogan deserved to call the shots on offense instead of the struggling Josh Nunes.

    With Nunes at the helm of the offense, the Cardinal only scored more than 24 points twice, and although Hogan hasn't given Stanford a big scoring boost, the freshman quarterback has thrown for more than 200 yards and led his team to upset victories over the Oregon State Beavers and Oregon Ducks.

    Whether or not Hogan can continue to play at a high level and keep Stanford's offense moving with the help of Stepfan Taylor will determine the outcome of the Cardinal's upcoming game against the UCLA Bruins.

No. 7 LSU Tigers

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    Biggest Weakness: Passing offense

    Junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger supposedly had all of the answers to the LSU Tigers' problems in the passing game, but the 6'5", 222-pounder has only managed to come alive as of late and still has not been stellar. 

    Mettenberger has thrown just 10 touchdowns compared to six interceptions this season, including two picks in LSU's shootout with the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday.

    Prior to Mettenberger's last three games, he only threw for more than 200 yards in two of LSU's first eight games. 

    Thankfully for the Tigers, their defense is more than good enough to make up for a lack of offensive firepower from the quarterback position and their rushing attack is one of the best in the country right now.

No. 6 Kansas State Wildcats

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    Biggest Weakness: Passing offense

    Despite Collin Klein's Heisman Trophy campaign, the Kansas State Wildcats have not exactly had one of the nation's best passing offenses this season.

    The Wildcats have not really needed one, though, since their defense has created so many short field opportunities for the offense and Kansas State thrived on running the football with the duo of Klein and John Hubert.

    Unfortunately, Kansas State needed a big-time passing offense against the Baylor Bears on Saturday and Klein could not deliver.

    The Loveland, Colo. native only completed 27 of 50 passes for 286 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in the 52-24 loss to Baylor.

No. 5 Oregon Ducks

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    Biggest Weakness: Chip Kelly's aggressiveness 

    It is rare to see the Oregon Ducks take a field goal or punt the ball away in 4th-and-short situations, and Chip Kelly's all-or-nothing mentality cost his team in a 17-14 overtime loss to the Stanford Cardinal.

    The Ducks could've attempted a short field goal instead of going for it on 4th-and-2 from the Cardinal's seven-yard line in the first quarter. Oregon wound up with zero points instead of a potential three, which I'm sure had Kelly thinking about what could have been after the game.

    When Kelly's calculated gambles work, the Ducks look unstoppable, but when they don't then Oregon fans find themselves wondering why their head coach doesn't just take the points from time to time.

No. 4 Florida Gators

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    Biggest Weakness: Quarterback play

    Out of all the BCS contenders in the top five, the Florida Gators get the least amount of production from their quarterbacks than any of the other teams.

    Sophomore starter Jeff Driskel has been nothing more than a game manager for the Gators, who rely heavily on their rushing attack and elite defense to win them games.

    Prior to his ankle injury two weeks ago, Driskel only threw for more than 200 yards in two games and had been held under 100 yards passing in four games.

    Second-stringer Jacoby Brissett did not fare much better against Jacksonville State of the Football Championship Subdivision. Brissett threw for a mere 154 yards and did not record a touchdown as the Gators struggled to pull away with a 23-0 victory at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs

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    Biggest Weakness: Aaron Murray in big games

    The Georgia Bulldogs have finally shored up their defensive issues and are back in the BCS national title hunt, but none of that will matter if junior quarterback Aaron Murray has another lackluster performance in the SEC Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

    In Georgia's two games against ranked opponents this season, Murray has completed less than 50 percent of his passes and thrown four interceptions.

    The improvement on defense and Georgia's strong ground game with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall will not be enough to take down the defending national champions in the Georgia Dome unless Murray finally gets over whatever syndrome he comes up with on the day of a marquee game.

No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Biggest Weakness: Passing defense

    After the first nine weeks of the college football season, the Alabama Crimson Tide did not appear to be vulnerable in any phase of the game, but after a close call against the LSU Tigers and a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Texas A&M Aggies it has become clear that Nick Saban's secondary isn't as outstanding as we originally thought.

    Texas A&M's freshman signal-caller Johnny Manziel completed 24 of 31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama's defense, while LSU's struggling starter Zach Mettenberger managed to throw for nearly 300 yards.

    The Crimson Tide have a lot of talent in their secondary, but their struggles in man coverage may be their undoing if Aaron Murray is on his game for the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game.

No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Biggest Weakness: Passing offense

    It is hard to criticize the only team without a loss that is left in the BCS national title race, but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have struggled offensively for much of the 2012 season—and much of that is because of the youth and inexperience of Everett Golson.

    The sophomore quarterback got off to a very rocky start as Notre Dame's starter and looked as though he would hold the Fighting Irish back from making a legitimate run at an undefeated season.

    Golson has proved many of his doubters wrong, though, and turned in his best performance of the season against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday. Golson finished the 38-0 rout with 346 passing yards and three touchdowns.

    Notre Dame has managed Golson properly and has a good enough defense and rushing attack to win games if its quarterback struggles. It doesn't mean it's a strong point for the Fighting Irish right now, though.

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