College Football Rankings 2013: Winners and Losers from Week 3

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2013

College Football Rankings 2013: Winners and Losers from Week 3

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    Week 2 of college football is in the books, and with its conclusion come the third editions of the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls.

    The season's second weekend featured a less-exciting slate than Week 1, so there wasn't as much jockeying from outside the polls. But a number of ranked teams lost to fellow ranked opponents, so there was some intra-poll movement.

    Then there was the case of USC, which lost a 10-7 yawner at Washington State and obviously disappeared from both polls. That and Texas' loss to BYU opened up hotly contested spots for teams on the periphery.

    But who else won and lost in Week 3 of the rankings?

Winner: Miami

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    The Hurricanes were unranked in the last AP poll, but this week made a massive jump to No. 15. Even though they "only" moved up to No. 18 in the coaches poll, the AP improvement is big enough to turn heads.

    In the course of that leap, Miami passed teams like UCLA, Northwestern and Washington, all of whom have looked great in their own right this season. But beating an SEC powerhouse holds extra weight in these rankings (see: Tigers, Clemson), so "The U" was able to soar past them.

    Not much separates Miami from No. 14 Oklahoma either, and given the questionable form Bob Stoops' team showed last weekend, the Hurricanes' climb might still not be over.

Loser: Ohio State

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    At this rate, the Buckeyes might finish the year undefeated but outside the AP Top 10.

    I kid, but seriously, Ohio State took another (small) tumble down the media rankings in Week 3. After starting at No. 2, Oregon passed the Buckeyes, and this week, they lost out to new No. 3 Clemson. 

    Braxton Miller left in the first quarter against San Diego State, but the rest of Ohio State's team looked pretty good. The Tigers beat up on an FCS opponent, while the Buckeyes used a backup quarterback and beat a historically (though maybe not presently) tough squad.

    Oregon also ranked higher in in the coaches poll, making the Ducks a consensus No. 2 team. I'm not sure why OSU keeps falling, but at the end of the season, it won't matter. 

Winner: LSU

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    Zach Mettenberger played the best game (statistically) of his career against UAB, throwing just 19 passes for 282 yards and five touchdowns in a big Tigers victory. And now, finally, after weeks of disrespect, the coaches took notice.

    LSU placed No. 8 in both polls this week, up one spot from No. 9 in the AP but three spots from No. 11 in the coaches. Opposing coaches have been reticent to trust the Tigers' rebuilt defense (and shaky offense), but they are now thoroughly convinced of its talent.

    Jumping Florida and South Carolina was a given, but the Tigers also jumped idle Florida State. That's a big win from Les Miles and Co. in Baton Rogue.

Loser: Notre Dame

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    There is no shame in losing to a highly ranked Michigan team at the Big House before a capacity crowd. But there is some shame in how the defense performed.

    Notre Dame allowed 41 points on Saturday evening, and its signature unit yielded 460 yards of total offense to the Wolverines. Devin Gardner looks like the real deal, but the degree to which the Irish's secondary got burned by Jeremy Gallon was inexcusable.

    Poll voters focused on that second part, dropping the Irish to No. 21 in both polls, where they're almost on the island of unranked teams. That seems like a big fall for a team with a questionable defense, but it showed some real pluck in a taxing environment.

Winner: Ole Miss

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    The Rebels played FCS Southeast Missouri State on Saturday, but as a byproduct of USC's loss and their previous win at Vanderbilt, they were rewarded with the No. 25 spot in both polls.

    Ole Miss has been making a case to be ranked all offseason, and on paper, this was probably a long time coming. But the way Hugh Freeze has translated raw talent into on-field production is worthy of this distinction.

    That said, the previous two No. 25 teams in the AP poll—Oregon State and USC—both lost their next games after receiving that ranking. Ole Miss travels to Texas next Saturday, when a ticked-off Longhorn team might be able to continue that trend.

Loser: USC

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    USC wasn't treated unfairly by the polls (it earned exactly what it got), but the Trojans' drop was a massive one nonetheless.

    In stark contrast to Miami, whom it edged out for No. 25 in last week's AP poll, USC disappeared entirely from the media rankings. And even the coaches, who oddly moved them up to No. 22 last week, decided to jump ship on the Trojans' bandwagon.

    USC's loss was a conference one against a much-improved Washington State team. But the way it looked was too much for voters to forgive. 

Winner: Michigan

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    Michigan started the week at No. 17 in both polls, but by virtue of its (very) impressive victory over Notre Dame, it's now a consensus top-12 team.

    The Wolverines moved up to No. 11 in the AP poll and No. 12 in the coaches poll. The only discrepancy was whether or not they belonged ahead of Oklahoma State, but that's a close competition, and the fact that they placed ahead in one poll should be considered a victory.

    Among the teams Michigan passed were Oklahoma, a 2-0 Big 12 powerhouse, and South Carolina, who beat the Wolverines in last year's Outback Bowl. It won't make Wolverines fans forget Jadeveon Clowney's hit, but beating the Gamecocks (at least in the polls) has to feel good.

Loser: Florida

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    Florida took a big tumble in the polls after losing to Miami, falling down to No. 18 in the AP and No. 20—right ahead of Notre Dame—in the coaches.

    The latter is harsher than the former, especially after opposing coaches ranked the Gators No. 9 in last week's ranking. But seeing as they only moved Miami up to No. 18, fellow coaches think a loss to the Hurricanes was worse than it might have looked.

    If Jeff Driskel and the offense can't correct their turnover-happy ways, this could be the start of a season-long fall for the Gators.