NCAA Football Rankings 2013: Winners and Losers from Week 6

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2013

NCAA Football Rankings 2013: Winners and Losers from Week 6

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    Week 5 of the college football season was the perfect tonic for a boring Week 4, littered with wire-to-wire games and intriguing storylines.

    The only Top 10 team to lose was No. 6 LSU—and that loss came against another Top 10 foe, on the road, against a Georgia team that was actually favored to win. It was hardly a blue-chip upset.

    Lower in the polls, though, the Top 25 saw seismic changes, especially after Oklahoma State's loss led to a new world order down in Big 12 country.

    But who else won and lost in the Week 6 AP and USA Today polls?

Winner: Oklahoma

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    While UCLA was at home sleeping and resting up and South Carolina was struggling against Central Florida, Oklahoma was taking care of business in South Bend, beating the then-ranked Irish in decisive fashion.

    As a reward, voters pumped the Sooners past the Bruins and Gamecocks, shooting them all the way from No. 14 to No. 11 in the AP poll and past LSU to No. 10 in the coaches poll.

    They also passed conference rival Oklahoma State, which lost at West Virginia, making Oklahoma the new apparent favorite in the Big 12.

    That's a good end to a great week in Norman.

Loser: Oklahoma State

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    In some ways, Oklahoma State is lucky to still be ranked. That's how bad West Virginia looked this year prior to upsetting the Cowboys on Saturday.

    Still, dropping from No. 11 to No. 21 in the AP poll (the biggest drop of the week) is enough to make Mike Gundy's squad qualify as a loser.

    Up until Week 5, Oklahoma State was the prohibitive favorite to win the Big 12, but now it's ranked behind OU, Baylor and even Texas Tech.

    Who could have seen that one coming?

Winner: Maryland

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    Speaking of things that no one saw coming: Maryland is ranked No. 25 in the AP poll.

    The Terps had a bye in Week 5, but they've ridden the strength of C.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs and a plucky defense to a 4-0 start this season.

    Even though Maryland didn't play on Saturday, West Virginia's win over Oklahoma State made the Terps' 37-0 domination of the Mountaineers in Week 4 look much, much better in hindsight.

    UMD travels to Florida State in Week 6, though, so either way you slice it, its ranking will be short-lived. A loss will push it back out of the Top 25, while a road win would vault it into the Top 15.

Loser: The Coaches Poll

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    The coaches ranked Nebraska—the same Nebraska that got pounded at home by UCLA a couple of weeks ago—No. 25, ahead of an Ole Miss team that ranked No. 24 in the AP poll.

    Let's discuss this closely.

    Both the Huskers and Rebels have one loss. Nebraska's, again, came by 20 points at home against a legitimate Top 15 team. Ole Miss' came on the road, by a misleading 25 points, against the No. 1 team in the country.

    In terms of quality wins, Ole Miss has road victories over Vanderbilt and Texas on its resume. Nebraska has home wins over Wyoming, Southern Miss and South Dakota State.

    Hard to understand what the coaches were thinking.

Winner: Georgia

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    Georgia got the respect it deserved after beating LSU at home, taking the place of its vanquished foe and becoming the consensus No. 6 team in America.

    There was a fear that the Bulldogs, because their resume includes a close loss at Clemson, might be ranked below undefeated but untested teams like Louisville and Florida State.

    Fortunately, that wasn't the case.

    The Seminoles and Cardinals are very good sides in their own right, but wins over the Boston Colleges and Kentuckys of the world can only vindicate so much. 

    Next to a team that's now beaten South Carolina and LSU, they have no claim to be ranked as high as No. 6. Georgia does, and it is now a heavy favorite to win the SEC East.

Loser: Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame didn't get an unfair shake—not by any stretch. After Saturday's listless performance against Oklahoma, it deserved to plummet out of the polls.

    But seeing how far it fell is jarring nonetheless.

    Notre Dame received just 12 points in the AP poll and 29 in the coaches poll, falling to No. 31 and 30 in America, respectively.

    As bad as the Irish have looked in recent weeks, both of their losses have come against teams ranked inside the Top 20—and one of their wins came over Michigan State, which received votes in both polls.

    It's weird to see them ranked so low.

Winner: Northern Illinois

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    Maryland was ranked in the AP poll but unable to crack the coaches' Top 25. In its stead, another sparsely talked about 4-0 team was able to make a statement: the Northern Illinois Huskies.

    NIU, a participant in last year's Orange Bowl, moved all the way up from unranked to No. 23 after traveling to West Lafayette and beating Purdue by 31 points.

    Yes, it's just Purdue, so maybe it should be taken with a grain of salt, but Notre Dame struggled in Ross-Ade Stadium, and NIU now has two wins over Big Ten foes.

    After watching Iowa (the Huskies' other B1G victim) dominate at Minnesota, it's looking more and more like NIU could crash the BCS once again.

Loser: LSU

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    LSU didn't fall too far after losing at Georgia, but it fell further than it probably deserved.

    Ranked No. 10 by the AP and No. 11 by the coaches, Les Miles' team is looking up at more than a couple teams it would be favored over on a neutral field.

    Seriously, ask any sane coach to list five teams he would hate to go up against. How many would list LSU? How many would list Louisville or Oklahoma? How many would list LSU behind Louisville or Oklahoma?

    Fans in Baton Rouge should not be up in arms. The Tigers are still within striking distance of their ultimate goal. This ranking just feels a bit off.