College Football Polls 2013: Analyzing Week 8 AP and Coaches Polls
Georgia, Stanford and Oklahoma—all ranked in the Top 10 of at least one poll at this time last week—all suffered shocking defeats, shaking up the rankings and allowing for a number of interesting developments.
As we approach the relative midpoint of the season, and teams have had more and more time to prove themselves, the rankings begin to take a pronounced shape.
In theory, we should have a better understanding of who each team is.
But they never fail to surprise us and prove us wrong.
|AP Poll||Wisconsin||Auburn||N. Illinois||Florida||Oklahoma St.|
|Coaches Poll||Washington||Michigan||N. Illinois||Florida||Nebraska|
Auburn slipped into the AP Poll, joining seven other SEC teams and helping the conference make history by placing eight teams among the Top 25.
Whether or not you agree with it—personally, I don't—Auburn's inclusion makes plain that the SEC is not having a down year, as some folks have claimed. The teams at the very bottom are bad, but no conference has as many quality sides.
The Coaches Poll didn't rank Auburn, though, differing from the AP by keeping Michigan and Washington in its Top 25. The Huskies and Wolverines both lost on Saturday, to Oregon and at Penn State respectively.
Florida slid down to No. 22 in both polls after losing at LSU, but it remains ranked despite whispers that it might fall out entirely. That seems deserved given the quality of Miami and LSU—the only two teams it has lost to this year.
|AP Poll||Washington||Va. Tech||Oklahoma||Fresno St.||Texas Tech|
|Coaches Poll||Va. Tech||Fresno State||Oklahoma||Oklahoma St.||Georgia|
Oklahoma stays in the Top 20 after losing in humiliating fashion vs. Texas. Both polls kept the Sooners at No. 18, which either speaks to how they value the Longhorns (higher than we think) or indicates that they thought Saturday was a fluke.
Georgia was given a similar benefit of the doubt after losing to Missouri. Injuries have ravaged the Bulldogs, but even with two losses, the quality of wins over South Carolina and LSU is too strong to justify dropping them further.
Elsewhere, a couple teams that continued to win reaped the benefit of teams around them losing. That list includes Texas Tech and Fresno State, along with Virginia Tech.
The Hokies have rebounded astonishingly well from their season-opening loss to No. 1 Alabama. The defense is among America's best, and even quarterback Logan Thomas has shown signs of life.
Watch out for them going forward.
|AP Poll||Georgia||Missouri||Stanford||Baylor||South Carolina|
|Coaches Poll||Texas Tech||Missouri||Stanford||Baylor||Miami|
The AP and Coaches Polls flip-flopped Georgia and Texas Tech, the latter of which remains undefeated but largely untested. AP voters are more willing to reward Georgia's strength of schedule than coaches are.
Part of that schedule strength includes Missouri, which beat the Dawgs in Athens on Saturday and now finds itself a consensus Top 15 team.
Even without starting quarterback James Franklin, who injured his shoulder and will be out indefinitely, the Tigers have shown enough to be taken very seriously.
Stanford drops from the Top Five to No. 13 after losing at Utah and dashing its hopes of competing for a national title.
It still controls its own destiny in the Pac-12, though, and its home game with Oregon still looms large on the schedule.
|AP Poll||Miami||UCLA||Louisville||Texas A&M||LSU|
|Coaches Poll||UCLA||South Carolina||LSU||Texas A&M||Louisville|
The coaches favor South Carolina over UCLA and Miami, while the AP ranks Steve Spurrier's team outside the Top 10 at No. 11.
The Gamecocks might have, quietly, been the most impressive team on Saturday, thrashing a decent Arkansas team by 45 points in Fayetteville. But UCLA and Miami are both undefeated and the Bruins' win at Utah looks much better than it did a week ago.
It's hard to justify the coaches putting USC above them.
The two polls also disagree on LSU, which is ranked No. 6 in the AP and No. 8 in the Coaches. Again, it's hard to see where the coaches are coming from—how many teams could make beating Florida look as ho-hum as LSU did?
What coach is his right mind would rather play Louisville than the Tigers? That's ostensibly what they're saying by ranking the Cardinals higher.
|AP Poll||Florida State||Ohio State||Clemson||Oregon (5)||Alabama (55)|
|Coaches Poll||Florida State||Clemson (1)||Ohio State||Oregon (3)||Alabama (58)|
By virtue of Georgia's and Stanford's losses, Florida State moves up to No. 5 and joins ACC rival Clemson—its upcoming opponent—among the nation's top five teams.
Though it will be short-lived, the ACC can revel in having two Top 10 teams. The much-beleaguered conference is enjoying a very nice season, and its two premier teams are a big reason why.
It's the only conference with two teams in the Top Five.
There wasn't much change beyond that in this section, though it's interesting to note that Oregon gained no ground on Alabama's first-place votes. The Ducks went into a brutal environment and broke the defensive will of a very good Washington team.
What must they do to stand a chance of passing 'Bama?