The first 12 weeks of the 2013 college football season have been a roller coaster for a number of teams, as there have been dramatic shifts near the top of the rankings on a regular basis.
Last weekend, we saw the Oregon Ducks take a tumble after falling once again to Stanford, only to find themselves looking down at the Cardinal just one week later.
That's because Stanford suffered a very disappointing defeat at the hands of the surging USC Trojans, who are suddenly back in the Top 25 after a drastic turnaround following Lane Kiffin's ouster.
But that's just the type of season it's been, as teams have risen and fallen regularly, and the movement isn't going to stop now.
The Miami Hurricanes, once considered a potential national title game contender after a 7-0 start, lost for the third straight week, this time to ACC rival Duke, pushing them out of the rankings.
Elsewhere, the undefeated giants in Alabama, Florida State, Baylor and Ohio State continue to occupy the top four spots, but with tough games remaining for both the Crimson Tide and the Bears, that all could change in the coming weeks.
With less than a month to go in the regular season, here's a look at the latest USA Today rankings, along with a breakdown of which teams are primed to rise over the next three weeks.
|USA Today Coaches Poll- Week 13|
|Rank||Team (first place votes)||Record||Points|
|2||Florida State (6)||10-0||1487|
With the Aggies' final two games of the regular season coming against a pair of quality opponents in Missouri and LSU, Texas A&M has a golden opportunity to climb the rankings between now and the postseason.
Yes, Johnny Manziel and company have fallen to both Alabama and Auburn, but after a week of rest, the Aggies are in a good position to defeat the Tigers and finish things off with an all-important upset victory over Missouri.
Much has been said about Missouri's surprising run thus far, but upon further examination of the Tigers' schedule, their 9-1 record isn't quite as impressive as one might think.
Though Missouri's defeated a pair of teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at the time, Florida and Georgia have both fallen out of the rankings in the weeks since, and the Tigers' only other game against a marquee opponent resulted in a 27-24 overtime loss to South Carolina.
The Aggies offense has been unstoppable even during the team's two losses, and I don't see either LSU or Missouri putting enough points on the board to keep up with Manziel, Mike Evans and the rest of the vaunted Texas A&M attack.
When Kiffin was replaced by Ed Orgeron as the Trojans' head coach, there was little reason to believe that USC was poised to turn things around before the end of the season.
But aside from a close loss to Notre Dame, the new-look Trojans have been unstoppable, and they notched their first signature victory of the Orgeron regime on Saturday over Stanford.
Now at No. 25, the Trojans have a chance to climb even higher with games remaining at Colorado and No. 14 UCLA at home.
With UCLA and Arizona State set to face off next weekend, USC will benefit from one of those two higher-ranked teams losing, and though it's unlikely, the Trojans' hopes at winning the Pac-12 South title are still alive.
With a surprisingly stingy defense and a much-improved offense lead by Cody Kessler, the Trojans have what it takes to knock off the Bruins, and if that happens, this team will undoubtedly be at No. 20, and likely higher.
The victory over the hyped Cardinal proved this team has the mettle to beat virtually anyone in the Pac-12, and the Trojans will carry that momentum into their final two games of the season.
Wisconsin moved up three spots to No. 17 in Week 12, and with a game against No. 23 Minnesota next up for James White, Melvin Gordon, Joel Stave and the rest of the Badgers, this team has a chance to rise some more in the coming weeks.
Since they dropped two of their first five games to quality teams in Arizona State and undefeated Ohio State, the Badgers have looked very impressive, rolling past then No. 19 Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, BYU and Indiana in their five games since.
With the Golden Gophers and Penn State left on the schedule, Wisconsin doesn't have any real chance at catching Urban Meyer's boys for the division title, but there's certainly room for growth in the rankings.
A 10-2 finish with convincing wins in their last two games would absolutely help the Badgers move up at least a spot or two by season's end, especially given the margin by which they've been winning since the loss to the Buckeyes.
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