USA Today College Football Poll 2012: Complete Week 14 Rankings
Saturday could have completely shuffled the deck and caused chaos atop the rankings. Instead, there were few surprises, and it looks as though the participants for the national championship game will be decided once No. 2 Alabama plays No. 3 Georgia in the SEC championship.
For things to get really crazy, No. 1 Notre Dame needed to lose. And while it wasn't easy, the Golden Domers weren't about to let that happen, beating USC 22-13 to seal a berth to the title game.
Alabama and Georgia each cruised to early wins, while No. 5 Florida likely earned itself a BCS at-large bid by beating Florida State, 37-26. That represented the fourth win against a Top 10 opponent for the Gators this season (Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina, Florida State)—a resume that speaks for itself.
The one team that could have crashed the SEC one-loss party atop the rankings was No. 4 Oregon, and the Ducks did their part, beating No. 17 Oregon State in the Civil War, 48-24. But to reach the Pac-12 championship, the Ducks needed No. 9 Stanford to lose to No. 16 UCLA.
That didn't happen, as the Cardinal won 35-17 and set up a rematch between the two schools a week from now.
No. 6 LSU survived on Friday, beating Arkansas 20-13, but it's unlikely the Bayou Bengals will surpass either Florida or Oregon in the rankings.
Coming into the week, the above schools were the ones that factored into the national championship game. But there was still plenty of BCS and bowl-game posturing to be done.
No. 14 Clemson had a great chance to show it was worthy of an at-large BCS bid facing No. 10 South Carolina. Instead, it was the Gamecocks that came away with a 27-17 win. Meanwhile, No. 11 Oklahoma kept itself as an interesting at-large choice, beating Oklahoma State in overtime, 51-48.
And the Big East continued to be the worst BCS conference by a long shot, as its top squads, No. 25 Rutgers and No. 23 Louisville, both lost. That sets up a Thursday night "showdown" between the two schools, with the winner earning a BCS bid.
In a year with so many more deserving schools than those in the Big East, it's tough to endorse an automatic BCS berth for the conference. The SEC alone has at least six schools more deserving than anyone from the Big East.
Life sure isn't fair, huh?
Without further ado, here are your Week 14 rankings from the USA Today coaches' poll:
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