College Football Rankings 2013: Teams in Danger of Finishing Outside Top 25

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College Football Rankings 2013: Teams in Danger of Finishing Outside Top 25
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

No ranked team is safe in college football, and a loss to a lowly team in any given week could spell the end of a squad's ranking for the time being.

The No. 17 LSU Tigers once looked like national title contenders, but those hopes were dashed after the Tigers lost three games during the season. All LSU can do now is keep its ranked status, although that's at risk as the team goes up against the Arkansas Razorbacks this week.

The No. 19 UCF Knights have been quite the pleasant surprise this season, and while the luster still remains thanks to their ranking, that could all disappear should the Knights be upset by the South Florida Bulls.

Normally there isn't much riding on a No. 24 Duke Blue Devil-North Carolina Tar Heel football game, but this year is different as Duke hopes to remain in the Top 25 to finish the regular season with a win over North Carolina.

Let's break down each of these matchups and find out why LSU, UCF and Duke are all in danger of falling out of the rankings after Week 14.

BCS Rankings
Rank Team
1 Alabama
2 Florida State
3 Ohio State
4 Auburn
5 Missouri
6 Clemson
7 Oklahoma State
8 Stanford
9 Baylor
10 South Carolina
11 Michigan State
12 Arizona State
13 Oregon
14 Northern Illinois
15 Wisconsin
16 Fresno State
17 LSU
18 Oklahoma
19 UCF
20 Louisville
21 Texas A&M
22 UCLA
23 USC
24 Duke
25 Notre Dame

ESPN.com

 

LSU Tigers (vs. Arkansas)

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Tigers' season went south rather quickly after two losses in three weeks to Ole Miss and Alabama, with their first back-breaking loss of the season coming against Georgia weeks earlier.

It has been a disappointing finish to the season for LSU, and it could conceivably get worse if the Tigers drop one to the lowly Arkansas Razorbacks, who have lost their last eight contests after starting the season 3-0.

Arkansas is so bad that it has failed to win a single game in SEC play, and out of every team in both the east and west, the Razorbacks have the second-worst record overall and the worst in either SEC division.

A loss in any fashion at home would be devastating for LSU and its fanbase. It would be hard to make the case that LSU deserves a Top 25 ranking after such a defeat, thus putting in jeopardy the Tigers' hopes of at least finishing with a nice number next to their name.

 

UCF (vs. South Florida)

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Building off what was a solid season in 2012-13, the Knights have improved their winning percentage from a season ago and could finish the regular season with double-digit wins, which didn't happen until their Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl win last season.

In their way is that other college team from Florida, the South Florida Bulls. As a fellow American Athletic Conference team, South Florida has lost all but two of its games this season and failed to beat a ranked squad during its horrid campaign.

But a game against a ranked team like UCF could serve as a wake-up call for South Florida as this will be the closest thing to a championship game the Bulls will ever play.

If the Knights want to finish the season within the Top 25, they must emerge victorious in this game on their home turf. No ranked team can afford to lose to a dysfunctional 2-8 bunch, and UCF is no different.

 

Duke Blue Devils (at North Carolina Tar Heels)

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

No, you didn't just wake up in the middle of a college basketball article. These two teams will skip the hardwood and instead do battle on a football field in a game that will decide Duke's future as a ranked squad.

The Blue Devils are in the midst of a sensational season in the ACC and have earned a 9-2 record overall while maintaining first place in the ACC Coastal Division. However, it must be noted that Duke must beat UNC in order to secure its spot in the ACC title game as second-place Georgia Tech would advance in the event of a tie.

As for the Tar Heels, their season has been topsy-turvy, but after losing five of their first six games, the Heels have won their last five to finish out the season strong. Duke has also been on a hot streak with seven wins in a row, so something has to give for these two surging squads.

While it wouldn't be such a horrible loss if Duke dropped this game to a quality squad in North Carolina, it would likely mean the end of days for Duke in the Top 25 as it sits in the ever so fragile position of No. 24 in the rankings.

It won't take much to remove Duke from its ranked position, and North Carolina can do just that simply by winning this game.

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