College Football Polls 2013: Analyzing Week 6 AP and Coaches' Polls

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2013

College Football Polls 2013: Analyzing Week 6 AP and Coaches' Polls

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    John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

    The Week 6 editions of the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls were released on Sunday afternoon, featuring a number of new faces at the bottom.

    For the most part, chalk reigned supreme toward the top of the rankings, where only LSU and Oklahoma State fell on Saturday. But those losses were obviously pretty important.

    That was enough for mild movement at the top, which, along with the upheaval at the bottom, made this a very odd batch of rankings to process.

    Who came out in the best shape?

Nos. 25-21

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    Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
     2524232221
    AP PollMarylandOle MissFresno St.Arizona St.Oklahoma St.
    Coaches PollNebraskaArizona St.N. IllinoisTexas TechFresno St.

     

    So much for consensus. Out of 10 total spots between the two polls, eight different teams are ranked between 25 and 21.

    Let's start with the newcomers. Maryland crashes the AP Poll after a bye week, a result of its 4-0 start and, perhaps, a belated reward for beating West Virginia 37-0. That win looks much better after Week 5.

    Northern Illinois made its debut in the Coaches Poll after destroying Purdue on the road, improving to 2-0 on the season against Big Ten teams. Fresno State struggled to win at Hawaii, and if it ever falls, the Huskies would be waiting in the wings for a chance to repeat their run to the BCS.

    Elsewhere, Arizona State returned to the rankings after one week away, a result of its blowout win over USC. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, moved in the opposite direction, dropping down 10-plus spots after its ugly loss at WVU.

    Most interesting in this section is Ole Miss, which lost by 25 at No. 1 Alabama but didn't look nearly as bad as the final score indicated.

    With road wins over Texas and Vanderbilt on their resume, the Rebels must be shocked to find themselves unranked by the Coaches.

Nos. 20-16

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    Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
     2019181716
    AP PollTexas TechMichiganFloridaBaylorNorthwestern
    Coaches PollOklahoma StateFloridaWashingtonMichiganBaylor

     

    Michigan, Baylor and Florida all appear between 20 and 16 in both polls, but none appears in the same spot twice.

    It's hard to tell which way that triad is trending, though. Baylor is on the upswing but hasn't played anyone. Florida looked good against Kentucky but is still down its starting QB. Michigan is undefeated despite looking awful against Akron and Connecticut.

    Those three are flanked at the back by Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, both of whom also appeared lower in one poll each. Talk about two ships sailing in different directions.

    Finally, Northwestern and Washington still can't produce a consensus between pollsters. The Huskies are top-15 in the AP but No. 18 in the Coaches. The Wildcats are top-15 in the Coaches but No. 16 in the AP.

    We'll learn much more about that duo in Week 6, when they play against Stanford and Ohio State, respectively.

Nos. 15-11

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
     1514131211
    AP PollWashingtonMiamiSouth CarolinaUCLAOklahoma
    Coaches PollNorthwesternMiamiUCLASouth CarolinaLSU

     

    The 15-11 section lacks top-to-bottom intrigue, but it's characterized by one of the most interesting discrepancies in this week's poll.

    After losing to Georgia in an instant classic, LSU was pushed all the way down to No. 11 by the coaches, but only No. 10 by the media. Oklahoma, fresh off a win at Notre Dame, moved up to No. 10 in the coaches poll but No. 11 in the AP.

    Obviously, only one of those teams won last week, and Oklahoma is now undefeated while LSU has a loss. But ask yourself: How much better is Georgia than Notre Dame? How much more impressive is going down to the wire in Athens than winning by a couple touchdowns in South Bend?

    Who would you pick to win on a neutral field?

    The OU-LSU argument is an interesting one, as is the UCLA-South Carolina debate right behind it. Interestingly enough, the coaches poll favors one one-loss SEC team (South Carolina) but not the other (LSU).

Nos. 10-6

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    Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
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    AP PollLSUTexas A&MFlorida StateLouisvilleGeorgia
    Coaches PollOklahomaTexas A&MFlorida StateLouisvilleGeorgia

     

    The LSU-Oklahoma dissonance, discussed at length on the previous slide, is the only difference in the bottom part of the top 10.

    But the fact that there's nothing to talk abut is, in itself, something to talk about.

    Once the polls reach No. 9, only one spot is different between the AP and Coaches. Which is to say that, not only is there a consensus group of the nine best teams in America; there is more or less a consensus order to their order.

    Georgia is the big mover this week, taking the No. 6 ranking away from LSU in both polls after beating the Tigers in Athens.

    But from here on out, unless one of the top 10 teams again loses, don't expect much jostling between the squads.

     

Nos. 5-1

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    Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
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    AP PollStanfordOhio StateClemsonOregon (5)Alabama (55)
    Coaches PollStanfordClemson (1)Ohio StateOregon (2)Alabama (59)

     

    Alabama ceded one first-place vote to Oregon in the AP Poll, and Oregon ceded one of its three first-place votes to Clemson in the Coaches.

    But that's the only movement of note.

    Still, if Oregon continues to make opponents look like high-school teams (while Alabama merely makes them look like they belong in the FCS), it could soon find itself starting to genuinely challenge for No. 1.

    The other three top-ten teams—Clemson, Ohio State and Stanford—all looked varying degrees of awesome in Week 5.

    The Buckeyes didn't blow out Wisconsin, but they cleared a major hurdle and re-integrated Braxton Miller seamlessly into their offense. The Tigers murdered Wake Forest, and Stanford won a tricky road game at Washington State with surprising ease.

    This is a top-five that folks can feel great about.