College Football Polls 2013: Analyzing Week 9 AP and Coaches' Polls

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2013

College Football Polls 2013: Analyzing Week 9 AP and Coaches' Polls

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    Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 8 was one of chaos in college football, a weekend when highly ranked teams dropped like flies and drastically altered the shape of the season.

    Saturday's results wreaked havoc on the Week 9 Associated Press and coaches polls, storming through ballots like a hurricane and leaving behind a confused mixture of carnage.

    Though both polls agreed on America's top 10 teams, they didn't agree on the order, and the rest of the rankings were marked by general dissent.

    Here's a look at the rubble that remains in Week 8's wake.

Nos. 25-21

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images
    AP PollNebraskaMichiganN. IllinoisWisconsinUCF
    Coaches PollUCFWisconsinMichiganN. IllinoisNebraska

    The good news: AP voters and coaches agree on which five teams should rank between Nos. 25 and 21.

    The bad news: They don't agree on anything else.

    UCF started the wild weekend that was, beating Louisville on Friday night and setting the tone for an upset-filled Saturday. AP voters rewarded them with a No. 21 ranking while coaches barely slipped them into the rankings.

    Interestingly enough, despite the identical record and win at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, neither poll ranked UCF ahead of the team it just beat.

    Elsewhere, AP voters think Wisconsin is the second-best Big Ten team, with Michigan and Nebraska placing third and fourth behind it. But coaches flip that on its head, ranking Nebraska second-best with Michigan and Wisconsin third and fourth behind it.

    Despite Wisconsin having two losses to Michigan and Nebraska's one apiece, most people with eyes would likely agree that the Badgers have looked better.

    Also, Northern Illinois—which is undefeated—still doesn't get nearly enough respect. This late in the season, having zero losses should warrant a top-20 ranking.

Nos. 20-16

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    Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
    AP PollS. CarolinaOklahoma St.LouisvilleOklahomaVa. Tech
    Coaches PollS. CarolinaVa. TechFresno St.AuburnLouisville

    South Carolina had a fairly clear path to the SEC Championship Game, but it coughed up that opportunity by letting Tennessee drive down the field and kick the game-winning field goal as time expired in Knoxville.

    Now, already two games behind Missouri in the East, the Gamecocks face a must-win game with the Tigers in Columbia (Mo.) next Saturday. A loss would jettison them from the rankings and essentially clinch the division for Gary Pinkel's squad.

    Beyond South Carolina, there's some dissent in the rest of this section. Six different teams occupy eight total spots, with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Auburn and Fresno State all placing top-15 in one poll or the other.

    Of that quartet, Auburn's ranking at No. 17 in the coaches poll seems the weirdest. The Tigers just scored a signature road win at Texas A&M, and their only loss this year came in Tiger Stadium against LSU.

    How is that not a top-15 profile?

Nos. 15-11

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
    AP PollFresno St.Texas A&MLSUUCLAAuburn
    Coaches PollTexas A&MOklahoma St.*LSU*OklahomaUCLA

    *Oklahoma State and LSU tied at No. 13 in the coaches poll

    This section of the rankings, for the most part, was the landing spot for former top-10 teams who tasted defeat.

    UCLA's stint in the top 10 was short-lived, as the Bruins caught Stanford at the wrong time—angry, coming off of a loss—and found it impossible to move the ball. If it loses at Oregon this week, it could find itself back in the twenties rather quickly.

    A pair of SEC West schools, LSU and Texas A&M, also fell down to the middle section of the rankings, both after unforeseen losses to teams within their division.

    The Tigers and Aggies both have two SEC losses to Alabama's zero, putting the Tide in an undeniable driver's seat for their quest toward the West division crown.

    Auburn and Oklahoma State both also land here in one poll, despite ranking far, far worse in the other. The AP voters and coaches are not on the same page. 

Nos. 10-6

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    Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
    AP PollTexas TechClemsonStanfordMiamiBaylor
    Coaches PollClemsonTexas TechStanfordMissouriMiami

    Both polls agree on the nation's top 10 teams, but the order has sparked some debate.

    At the back of the top 10, AP voters still prefer one-loss Clemson to undefeated Texas Tech, despite watching the Tigers get slaughtered in primetime on national TV.

    It's not hard to see their case. Texas Tech struggled with a pretty mediocre WVU team last week—right after barely beating Iowa State—and despite having a zero in the loss column, it has yet to play a single quality team.

    The Raiders travel to Norman for a showdown with Oklahoma next week, which will tell us much more about how legit they are.

    Stanford was a consensus No. 8, but the next three spots were a toss-up between Miami, Baylor and Missouri—three teams that started the season unranked and now sit undefeated in BCS conferences.

    In terms of a cross-poll average, Baylor ranks fifth (5.5), Missouri ranks sixth (6.0), and Miami ranks seventh (6.5).

    That seems about right.

Nos. 5-1

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    AP PollMissouriOhio St.Florida St. (2)Oregon (3)Alabama (55)
    Coaches PollMiamiOhio St.Florida St. (1)Oregon (4)Alabama (57)

    Florida State leap-frogged Ohio State with room to spare, and it's hard to argue with voters in both polls for preferring the Seminoles.

    What Jameis Winston and Co. did in Memorial Stadium was a thing of beauty. They dominated a very good team from start to finish and immediately became a major player in the BCS National Championship picture.

    Ohio State, meanwhile, struggled with Iowa on its home field and generally looked lethargic. Their remaining schedule is easy, but if the Buckeyes don't wake up against inferior-but-still-decent opponents, they might be caught sleeping.

    Alabama was normal Alabama, and Oregon—after a brief scare—was normal Oregon, so both remained comfortably in the top two spots.

    But FSU is starting to knock on the door.