NCAA Football Rankings 2012: Hits and Misses from Week 14 Polls
Week 13 drew to a close with a number of surprise wins shaking up the Top 25. Notre Dame held strong against rival USC, and Alabama destroyed instate rival Auburn, winning 49-0.
Florida had a convincing win over Florida State, and the Kent State Golden Flashes were able to climb the polls after an impressive win over Ohio. As we do every week, it is time to take a look at the hits and misses from this week’s rankings.
*Rankings listed as Coaches'/AP
No. 22/20 Utah State Aggies: Hit
Utah State is coming off of two weeks of very impressive football. Two weekends ago, the Aggies knocked off then-No. 20 Louisiana Tech, 48-41, in overtime. This past weekend, they throttled Idaho, 45-9, finishing the season at 10-2 and WAC champions.
Chuckie Keeton has been a pillar for the Aggies' success, tossing for 144 yards and 27 touchdowns this season. He also added 527 yards on the ground.
One of his better games came against Wisconsin—a game Utah State lost 16-14—where he tossed 181 passing yards and rushed for 75.
The Aggies have lost two games by a total of five points this season. Landing in the Top 25 before bowl season ends is an earned accomplishment for this squad.
No. 18/19 Northern Illinois Huskies: Hit
Northern Illinois has put together an impressive run this year, marching to an 11-1 record. The sole loss for the Huskies came against Iowa by one point to start the season.
The Huskies have one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the college game in junior Jordan Lynch. Lynch has 2,750 passing yards and 23 touchdowns passes on the year. He has also added 1,611 yards on the ground and 16 rushing touchdowns.
The Huskies will head into the MAC Championship Game against Kent State on Nov. 30, looking for a shot at completing a perfect conference run this year.
The voters got it right when they pushed the Huskies into the Top 20 with this week’s vote.
No. 19/18 Kent State Golden Flashes: Hit
Kent State has been on a tear through the MAC this year alongside Northern Illinois, also finishing the regular season with an 11-1 record.
The Golden Flashes have relied on their dangerous backfield tandem to create offensive mismatches all season. Dri Archer is having an amazing season with his 138 carries and 1,337 rushing yards.
Trayion Durham is the bruising side of the tandem, mounting 236 carries for 1,176 yards and 14 touchdowns this fall.
The Golden Flashes handily defeated Ohio in the regular-season finale and are now preparing for the MAC championship against the explosive Northern Illinois Huskies.
Landing in the Top 20 is a much-deserved shift after this Saturday’s win.
No. 9/8 Stanford Cardinal: Miss
Stanford has played great football to finish the season, knocking off Oregon on Nov. 17 and then blasting UCLA, 35-17, on the road this past Saturday.
The Cardinal earned a bid into the Pac-12 title game with the win, and they will face off with UCLA again this coming Friday to determine the winner of the conference.
Stanford has relied on freshman Kevin Hogan in the past few weeks to keep the offense on task. He has done a great job directing it to victory.
At this point, a two-loss Cardinal team is in a much better position than some one-loss teams—most notably Kansas State. This is a swing and miss for the poll voters.
No. 8/10 Texas A&M Aggies: Miss
The Aggies have been on a meteoric rise through the back half of this season. Johnny Manziel is leading a possible Heisman-winning campaign this year as he has guided the Aggies through a tough first-year SEC schedule and a big win over Alabama.
Right now, Kansas State and LSU are ranked ahead of this explosive Texas A&M squad. While the Aggies did lose to LSU earlier in the year, they are playing better football right now. Kansas State being ranked above the Aggies, even with one loss, is a shaky decision.
The poll voters haven’t given Texas A&M a firm boost just yet, but after a huge bowl victory, the Aggies will have a great shot to rise into the Top Five by season's end.
No. 7/7 Kansas State Wildcats: Miss
Kansas State will finish the year against Texas on Dec. 1 after the 52-24 blasting that the Wildcats took from Baylor on Nov. 17. Even with the win over Texas, the thought of the Baylor drubbing will live on.
There is no reason for this team to be ranked No. 7. They are a one-loss team, but they are nowhere near the level of the SEC teams found in the Top 10. The Wildcats can’t match up well with their Pac-12 Top 10 brothers either.
This is a surprising position for Kansas State. They are way overrated in this week’s poll.
No. 5/5 Florida Gators: Just Right
The Florida Gators are the consensus No. 5 team right now in both the AP and coaches’ poll voting, and after their big win over Florida State, the voters are just right.
Just a few weeks ago, I was saying that the Gators were overrated, but they have developed masterfully on offense. The defense has always been a strong point for this team.
Now that the offense has fallen into the fold and can help the Gators win ballgames, they are playing some of the best football in the country right now.
This is a hot team that will land in a major bowl, finishing the year in the Top Five with a win.
No. 6/9 LSU Tigers: Miss
While the Tigers take the No. 6 ranking in the country in the coaches’ poll, they have fallen from No. 8 last week to No. 9 in the AP after a close win over Arkansas.
We all know that Arkansas is terrible and the game should not have been close, but it is a rivalry game inside the SEC. It was bound to be a close game.
This LSU team is much better than a No. 9 ranking would indicate, and it may finish the year in a BCS bowl game.
While the coaches have LSU just right, the AP missed with this No. 9 placement.
No. 3/3 Georgia Bulldogs: Hit
Georgia is on a tear. The Bulldogs are finishing the season impressively with big wins over Auburn and Georgia Tech.
Aaron Murray is leading this team to a second consecutive SEC title berth this coming weekend against Alabama, and the No. 3 Bulldogs could pull off the big win.
This team features one of the most dangerous running back duos in the SEC with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Using the tandem of backs and live arm of Murray, these Bulldogs have a legit shot at finishing the year in the national title game.
Landing at No. 3 is a hit for the poll voters.
No. 1/1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Hit
The Irish finished the regular season this past weekend undefeated with a big win over rival USC. The Irish are now headed to the national title game as the only bowl-eligible undefeated team remaining in FBS.
The way Notre Dame has developed offensively this season has been the most impressive thing to watch. Everett Golson has gone from serviceable quarterback to game-changing playmaker in 12 games.
The Irish have been able to pound yards on the ground and play elite defense week after week.
Placing the Irish at No. 1 is a no-brainer. This is the king of the hill in college football today.