Week 12 of the 2013 college football season was one of extraordinary and unpredictable proportions. A Top Five team fell, numerous teams were tested, and the potential BCS rankings were altered in a major way.
The question is, which teams will see the most dramatic movement?
|Projected BCS Rankings|
|4||Ohio State||10-0||Big Ten||3|
|12||Oklahoma State||9-1||Big 12||12|
|16||Michigan State||9-1||Big Ten||16|
|Projections via BCS Guru|
Duke Blue Devils
Record: 8-2, 4-2 ACC
BCS Ranking: N/A
Week 12 Result: 48-30 win vs. No. 23 Miami Hurricanes
The Duke Blue Devils have quietly moved to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the ACC. During Week 12, Duke defeated the No. 23 Miami Hurricanes in convincing fashion with a 48-30 victory.
If that doesn't put Duke into the Top 25, what will?
Duke owns victories over both Miami and the Virginia Tech Hokies, which were also ranked at the time.
It's about time Duke gets some respect.
Duke doesn't do any one thing spectacularly, but David Cutcliffe has built a team that flat-out grinds. It makes things difficult on defense, takes advantage of opportunities on offense and is a well-coached squad with upside.
Against Miami, the run game came to life for 358 rushing yards and five touchdowns to lead the Blue Devils to their eighth win on the year.
All three of the teams ranked between No. 23 and No. 25 lost, which opens the door for Duke to claim a spot in that range. That may not be an extraordinary rise by conventional standards, but Duke has been a stranger to the polls for decades.
As long as Duke doesn't collapse, that trend could end.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Record: 9-1, 6-1 Big 12
BCS Ranking: No. 12
Week 12 Result: 38-13 win at No. 24 Texas Longhorns
The Oklahoma State Cowboys pulled out an incredible victory during Week 12. On the road against the conference-leading No. 24 Texas Longhorns, the Cowboys dominated in every phase of the game en route to a 38-13 win.
Oklahoma State is now 9-1 and deserves to crack the Top 10. My bold prediction is that it will.
Clint Chelf accounted for four total touchdowns. and Justin Gilbert came up with two interceptions and a pick-six. It was Oklahoma State's sixth consecutive victory since losing on Sept. 28—a long enough period of time for the computers to forgive Mike Gundy's club.
The question is, which teams will Oklahoma State leapfrog en route to a Top 10 appearance?
The No. 4 Stanford Cardinal lost 20-17 to the USC Trojans, and the No. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks were disappointing during a 19-14 escape of the 4-6 Florida Gators. The Gamecocks have an impressive win over Missouri but lost to potentially unranked Georgia and Tennessee.
This isn't to downplay South Carolina, which has proven to be a force, but Oklahoma State deserves to be ranked higher.
On top of having fewer losses than the Gamecocks, the Cowboys have played at a superior level in recent weeks. Oklahoma State now has road wins over Texas and Texas Tech when both teams were in the BCS rankings.
Oklahoma State plays Baylor next week, and it deserves to be a Top 10 squad when it does.
Record: 8-2, 6-2 Pac-12
BCS Ranking: No. 4
Week 12 Result: 17-20 loss at USC Trojans
The Stanford Cardinal will see the most dramatic fall in the BCS rankings after losing 20-17 to the USC Trojans. Their second defeat of the season is a fatal blow to Stanford's national championship dreams.
Stanford has two quality losses, but it's past time that college football pundits stop rewarding the teams that lose well and start respecting those that win.
Teams that can be expected to move ahead of Stanford in the rankings include Baylor, Oregon, Auburn, Clemson and Missouri. Each of those squads are one-loss teams that have no business being placed behind the two-loss Cardinal.
From there, it's all about how impressed the computers truly are with the SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten.
South Carolina and Texas A&M are two-loss teams that have received respect despite dropping two early battles. Oklahoma State is 9-1 after blowing out a good Texas Longhorns squad in Week 12, and Michigan State secured a 41-28 win over Nebraska.
In the end, the Cardinal could be on the outside looking in of the Top 12.
That would be a steep decline, but every one-loss team that's already in the Top 10 should be ahead of Stanford. The SEC, meanwhile, has built up a reputation as the superior conference, which suggests that both South Carolina and Texas A&M could pull ahead of Stanford.
The only question for David Shaw's club is whether or not the computers respect Oklahoma State and Michigan State enough to put them ahead of Stanford. Even if that doesn't happen, the Cardinal will fall far in the rankings.