NCAA Football Rankings 2013: Best and Worst of Week 9 AP Poll

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVOctober 21, 2013

Oct 19, 2013; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Maty Mauk (7) hands off to running back Henry Josey (20) during the second half of the game against the Florida Gators at Faurot Field. Missouri won 36-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

College football was shaken up this past Saturday more so than any other time this season, and that was felt in some massive changes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll as well as others.

While some of the switches in the standings are considered somewhat normal given the number of upsets, others are head scratchers and pose questions moving forward as the first BCS standings were also released Sunday. 

Voters can't always get it right, and while the poll is accurate in some areas, many others are worth dissecting.

Let's take a look at the best and worst from the Week 9 AP poll. 

Week 9 Associated Press Top 25
1Alabama (55)1,495
2Oregon (3)1,427
3Florida State (2)1,395
4Ohio State1,309
10Texas Tech904
14Texas A&M683
15Fresno State550
16Virginia Tech509
19Oklahoma State382
20South Carolina381
23Northern Illinois220


Information courtesy of Associated Press


Best Calls

Florida State at No. 3

There's no doubt that Florida State captivated college football through the early part of the season behind freshman sensation Jameis Winston, but the lack of quality opponents faced left a question mark beside its No. 5 ranking heading into a telling road test at No. 3 Clemson.

Well, even that wasn't much of a test. The Seminoles went into Death Valley and gutted the Tigers 51-14. Winston threw for 444 yards and three scores.

Against a noticeably stingy Clemson defense—something the school hasn't possessed consistently as of late—the Heisman Trophy contender put up the same exact numbers he has all season against some questionable competition. 

It was fair to be skeptical of the 'Noles before Saturday, but it's not a question anymore. They're undoubtedly one of the top three teams—if not better—in the nation. 


Louisville Dropping from No. 8 to 18

Oct 18, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; UCF Knights running back William Stanback (28) tackles Louisville Cardinals running back Senorise Perry (32) during the second half of play at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Central Florida defeated Louisville 38-35.  Man
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Louisville Cardinals don't have many tests on their schedule in 2013 at all, but one of them was a home affair on Friday against a Central Florida team that's having a very good season.

Louisville led early, but Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals offense stalled consistently down the stretch in the second half and allowed the Knights to stay close enough to eventually win the game.

A Heisman-defining moment made itself available to Bridgewater, as his team trailed with seconds left and needed a touchdown. He couldn't make the most of it, and his team's already dwindling title aspirations vanished 38-35. 

When a team like Louisville, which doesn't play a Top 25 team all season, comes into the year with a cakewalk of a schedule, it can't afford to drop a single game to have real BCS aspirations. Fortunately for Charlie Strong's crew, the AAC has an automatic BCS bid, so that dream is still alive. 

With the spotlight they have, the Cards could bounce back up the standings quickly, but voters won't forget they failed one of their only true tests of the season. 


Worst Calls

Missouri Already a Top Five Team?

Oct 19, 2013; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) is congratulated by defensive lineman Lucas Vincent (96) after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) (not pictured) during the second half at Faurot Field. M
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Missouri Tigers went from No. 25, to 14, to 5 in consecutive weeks from beating two teams that are now out of the Top 25. You can't discount how big those victories were, but they weren't enough to make an argument that Missouri is one of the top five teams in the country. 

We saw Saturday just how good Georgia is, as the Bulldogs fell to Vanderbilt, and Florida is a mess right now. Voters need to remember that Missouri is without its leader, James Franklin, who may be out for the year, and freshman QB Maty Mauk was really playing in just his first action. 

Of course, the Tigers' fate will continue to be tested in upcoming weeks against No. 20 South Carolina and a Tennessee team that is suddenly impossible to overlook, not to mention matchups with Ole Miss and Texas A&M to end the season.

It's nothing short of admirable that Missouri has had this type of success in the SEC East, but with the way the conference is shaking up this year, it looks like the Tigers' best tests are ahead of them. 


South Carolina Is Better Than No. 20

Oct 19, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw (14) is injured as he is sacked by Tennessee Volunteers defensive lineman Marlon Walls (58) and defensive lineman Daniel McCullers (98) during the second half at Neyland St
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 20 South Carolina Gamecocks fought a long way to climb up the rankings after an early-season loss to Georgia that knocked them considerably back. Then, Tennessee upset them. 

Despite the loss, the Gamecocks out-rushed the Vols 218-146, and they fought back in the second half to put the game in their hands. South Carolina decided not to go for it on 4th-and-2 in its own territory with three minutes left after lining up in offensive sets twice before calling timeouts. 

Steve Spurrier lamented his decision not to go for it, according to Randy Moore of Fox Sports, given the team's rushing advantage behind Mike Davis, the SEC's leading rusher. Also, given the nature of the weekend with so many upsets of Top 15 teams, the Gamecocks very likely would've gained a couple spots after squeaking past a formidable Tennessee team at Rocky Top.

Instead, they fell nine spots to 20 and were replaced in the standings by Auburn, which is now 11. 

Auburn deserves to be ranked ahead of South Carolina, but they shouldn't be that far ahead. We'll find out for sure if the Gamecocks belong next weekend when they face No. 5 Missouri, but until then it looks like a bad call. 


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