College Football Polls 2013 Week 6: 5 Who Should Be In, 5 Who Should Be out
Another Saturday of thrills in the college football world gives us another Sunday to react and discuss the ever-changing landscape.
The exercise becomes increasingly difficult each week because every bubble team has both pros and cons. Good wins are negated by bad losses, and the resumes become very similar between the ranked teams and those just barely on the outside looking in.
Sometimes you can spot a few undeserving teams that are still hiding out in the Top 20, and it's only a matter of time before the schedule catches up with them and the ranking disappears.
Take a look at five teams who should be in the polls this week and five who should be out.
All stats via ESPN
At some point, it doesn't matter who you've beaten and 4-0 is still 4-0.
For Missouri, that's enough to merit a spot in the Top 25, and the record becomes considerably more impressive when you look at the way the Tigers are winning games. Indiana may be the toughest opponent on the schedule to date, but Gary Pinkel's team hasn't won a game by fewer than 15 points.
Quarterback James Franklin is playing efficient football, completing over 65 percent of his passes, and the defense, while shaky at times, is allowing only 21 points per game.
A trip to Vanderbilt should provide us with a good measuring stick of where this team is at before the schedule ramps up in a major way. There are currently five ranked opponents left on the 2013 slate.
So while a ranking may not last for long, the Tigers deserve it for now.
Out: Oklahoma State
Is this an overreaction? Maybe.
Then again, Oklahoma State just lost to a team that was defeated by Maryland 37-0 last week.
The West Virginia Mountaineers were in the midst of a terrible season when a highly ranked Cowboys team came strolling into Morgantown this weekend. That the game was even close surprised everybody, but the loss pretty much solidifies the fact that Mike Gundy's team does not belong in the Top 25.
A win over Mississippi State in Week 1 was a great way to start the season, but you can play like national champions in Week 1 and still not belong in the Top 25 at the end of September. Subsequent wins over UTSA and Lamar were fine, but no ranked team should let the Mountaineers hang around in 2013.
Dropping all the way out of the polls is unrealistic, but you can make a strong argument that the Cowboys are no longer a Top 25 team at this point.
Maryland's 37-0 win over West Virginia last Saturday looks a lot more impressive one week later with the Mountaineers upsetting Oklahoma State.
But the Terrapins were playing pretty good football before that rout of the Mountaineers, too.
Quarterback C.J. Brown has thrown for 1,000 yards, rushed for nearly 300 more and has accounted for 13 touchdowns.
Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs has 400 yards receiving, and the defense is giving up just over 10 points per game, which ranks third in the nation.
The schedule stiffens starting next week with a trip to Florida State, and a loss will probably take the Terps off this list completely. But if Randy Edsall's team can keep it close—something no team has been able to do against the Seminoles—that would make quite a statement.
A bye week has not changed the perception of Nebraska football right now, and the Cornhuskers still don't belong in the Top 25.
By virtue of playing in a weak Big Ten Conference, Bo Pelini's team is going to win a lot more than it loses, and we may see it hang on to a ranking throughout the season. But it's hard to imagine this team finishing in the top half of the SEC or the Pac-12 right now.
The Cornhuskers don't play Ohio State or Wisconsin, so they might traverse the remaining schedule with just a loss or two. But they average just over 200 yards per game through the air and the run game, which defines the offensive attack, has stalled at times.
Maybe this team will come out strong after the bye week and pull it together. Maybe they'll end up in the Big Ten title game again and prove everybody wrong. But this just doesn't look like a great football team right now, and it should be outside the Top 25 looking in.
Wisconsin is just 3-2 this season and the best victory on the resume is a 41-10 beatdown of Purdue.
But we've seen enough in the two losses to know that this is a team worthy of a spot in the Top 25.
The first loss came at Arizona State, after the refs failed to spot the ball late in the game. The Badgers were unable to spike it in time, which would have set up a game-winning field-goal try, and the team left with an extremely controversial defeat on its record.
The second loss occurred this weekend on the road, as the team fell short to Ohio State by seven points. Losing to a Top Five team on the road is nothing to be ashamed of, and the Badgers still have a lot to play for.
They have a bye before hosting Northwestern, and the rest of the schedule is very manageable. In fact, Saturday might have been the last time we'll see this team lose for a very long time.
Out: Virginia Tech
Did Thursday's win over Georgia Tech really do enough to erase what we've seen from the Hokies so far this season?
A 35-10 loss to Alabama to open the season wasn't terrible, but it was the first signal that Frank Beamer's team may be in for an average year. A five-point win over East Carolina did nothing to sway that opinion, and a triple-overtime victory over Marshall confirmed it.
However, Logan Thomas and company bounced back nicely with a tough road win, and the polls reflect a growing buzz about this team. Home games against North Carolina, Pitt and Duke will probably land it in the polls, and at that point, it's tough to argue against 7-1.
A trip to Miami in November will probably define the 2013 season for the Hokies, who suddenly have a great chance to reach the ACC title game. But one week shouldn't have you buying into this team, at least not yet.
Until we see this effort on a week-to-week basis, Virginia Tech is a team that should remain outside of the rankings.
In: Northern Illinois
Last week, Northern Illinois was put on the other side of the list.
A dominant 55-24 victory over Purdue on the road has the Huskies back with the "in" crowd.
Wins over Iowa, Idaho and Eastern Illinois were unimpressive, and despite the Huskies getting a lot of buzz about a return to the rankings, they weren't playing great football.
Two things happened on Saturday to change that.
The first was a 31-point victory over Purdue. While the Boilermakers are terrible this season, that's the same margin of victory Wisconsin had a week earlier. Clearly, the Huskies at their best can hang with almost anyone.
Next, Iowa beat Minnesota and looked impressive in the process, which makes Northern Illinois' Week 1 win over the Hawkeyes look a lot better.
The only issue now is whether Jordan Lynch and company can dominate their league and continue to play great football. Four-point wins over Eastern Illinois aren't going to cut it at this point if they hope to make a surprise return to the BCS.
Out: Notre Dame
Is anyone still arguing that Notre Dame should be ranked?
Based on the Irish being listed in the "others receiving votes" portion of the polls, that answer would appear to be yes.
And it makes no sense.
Brian Kelly's team is now 3-2 with wins over Temple, Purdue and Michigan State. On Saturday, it suffered a 35-21 home defeat to Oklahoma. A game against Arizona State is on the docket for next week, and a trip to Palo Alto to take on Stanford is the final game of the season.
Tommy Rees seems to be regressing, and although the rushing attack finally got it going a little bit, the defense is a shell of its 2012 self.
Notre Dame should be outside of the Top 25, and unless it beats Arizona State and reels off five or six in a row, it should stay there.
In: Arizona State
It's hard to know what to make of this team, but after putting up 62 points on USC, we can definitively say that the Sun Devils belong in the Top 25.
The resume is strong now with wins over Wisconsin and USC, and the lone loss was a 14-point defeat to Stanford on the road. That game saw Arizona State fall behind by 32, but it clawed its way back and showed heart in making things interesting late.
Everyone is going to scoff at a win over USC being anything more than "okay", but the way it occurred may have been lost on the college football world. Consider that in the Trojans' first four games, they allowed a total of 44 points.
Todd Graham's team scored 62.
Taylor Kelly and the offense have regained their mojo, and if they can knock off Notre Dame next Saturday, it could set up quite the run in the second half of the season.
Out: Ole Miss
Ole Miss has become our weekly tennis rally, as they just go back and forth between the "out" and "in" side of the list.
A 25-0 loss at Alabama puts them on the outside once again, because the resume suddenly looks pretty weak.
The Rebels beat Vanderbilt by four points to open their 2013 campaign and followed that up with wins over SE Missouri State and Texas.
So the question is, how do we judge the loss to the Crimson Tide? Was it impressive that the Rebels hung with Nick Saban's team for awhile, or do we penalize the Rebels for failing to score a single point?
This was the kind of game that stayed relatively close but was never in doubt. Alabama beat Virginia Teach by 25 to open the season, and the Hokies don't belong anywhere near the polls.
Ole Miss will have a chance to reverse course with upcoming games against Auburn and Texas A&M, but they shouldn't be in the Top 25 right now.