The college football landscape has been altered dramatically ever since the beginning of November, and the polls don't read anything like they did weeks ago.
In fact, there are two changes to the Top Five in the newest BCS standings entering Week 14 as the hierarchy of many of football's biggest conferences shifted due to telling results across the board.
ESPN's College GameDay revealed the Top Five:
Whether it was then-No. 3 Baylor being dismantled by Oklahoma State, then-No. 5 Oregon suddenly seeing its Pac-12 title hopes vanish in a road loss to Arizona or anything in between, Week 13 did not lack epic contests that shook up how the bowl season will play out.
With so many huge developments and surprising results, the voters and computers are sure to get some of the decisions wrong after a confusing weekend of scores. But alas, the process succeeded in a few key aspects.
Here's a breakdown of the best and worst from the Week 14 BCS standings.
|2013 BCS Standings: Week 14|
Rankings courtesy of ESPN.com
No Change at the Top
It's not really a surprise, but with a few weeks separating us from decision time, it's worth applauding that the Top Three is about as accurate as you can ask for.
The two-time defending champ and SEC juggernaut Alabama is still firmly at the top as it gets ready for the Iron Bowl against No. 4 Auburn. Florida State—after another offensive explosion—will likely get the Tide if both win out as the Seminoles look poised to run through their far from easy ACC slate unscathed.
Then there's Ohio State, which certainly will attest to being third despite being on the hinges of its second straight undefeated regular season. The Buckeyes need a loss from either Alabama and Florida State to get into the title hunt but have to be glad that their yawn-worthy schedule hasn't caused a one-loss SEC team like Auburn or Missouri to jump them—yet.
There are a lot of questionable positions for teams beneath them, but nobody should be worried about how No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 shook out in this week's rankings.
Oklahoma State Climbs Into No. 7 and Title Contention
Okie State went through the early stretches of the year as the Big 12 team to beat. Down years from Oklahoma, Texas and other powerhouses paved the way for the Pokes to title contention before they were beat by West Virginia in Week 5.
After the Mountaineer victory, the Big 12 was Baylor's to take.
Since then, Mike Gundy's crew has been on a tear and secured by far its biggest win on the season with a 49-17 dismantling of the then-No. 4 Bears to take control of a BCS bid.
Should the Cowboys beat Oklahoma to close out the season and win the Big 12 outright, they should enter the Top Five or even better. Auburn still has Alabama, Ohio State has its toughest tests ahead, and Missouri has Texas A&M and a potential SEC title game.
Oklahoma State has one game between it and a BCS game.
Northern Illinois over Fresno State
Don't get me wrong, Northern Illinois is deserving of the attention it is garnering and should be in the conversation of a BCS bid. I'm just not so sure why the team is ranked ahead of Fresno State.
After a 35-17 win over Toledo, the Huskies climbed from No. 16 to No. 14—a crucial development to their chances of getting a BCS at-large bid. In doing so, they jumped Fresno State, another undefeated non-power conference contender that would likely be Northern Illinois' biggest competition.
B/R's own Barrett Sallee noticed the computer's liking to Northern Illinois:
The Bulldogs took care of business in their contest, which was a 69-28 drubbing of New Mexico. But the polls apparently took to the Huskies' win over 7-4 Toledo as it powered Northern Illinois over Fresno.
With only one week left in the season, it's hard to see Fresno being able to muster up enough to reverse this.
LSU Only Improves to No. 17
For how much the nation lauded Texas A&M before it got trounced by LSU, the Tigers' ascension to just No. 17 was a shocker.
The Tigers entered a contest against the Aggies ranked No. 22 and then dominated them on both sides of the ball en route to a 34-10 victory. Texas A&M was ranked 12th at the time and fell all the way to No. 21, so it seems that the voters and computers thought the Aggies lost more than the Tigers won.
Nobody had really shut down Johnny Manziel all season before Saturday. Even in losses to Alabama and Auburn, Johnny Football had arguably his best games.
Not against LSU, though. A defense that was lost earlier in the season dismantled the reigning Heisman winner and a candidate to repeat.
And it was much more of LSU's doing than Texas A&M's not-doing.