College Football Rankings Week 15: Bleacher Report's Top 25

Tyler Piccotti@@SYRTylerPContributor IIIDecember 1, 2013

College Football Rankings Week 15: Bleacher Report's Top 25

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    Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

    The college football slate never seems to disappoint, and Week 14 was no exception.

    A week filled with last-second touchdowns, rivalry games and key upsets was highlighted by an Iron Bowl that won't soon be forgotten. 

    Here's a look at how Auburn's victory and a number of other results have altered the Bleacher Report Top 25 rankings.

    Poll voters: Chris Bello, Eric Bowman, Carter Bryant, Phil Callihan, Andrew Coppens, Michael Felder, Trenise Ferreira, Kyle Kensing, Ben Kercheval, Sanjay Kirpalani, David Luther, Max Rausch, David Regimbal, Patrick Runge, Barrett Sallee, Erin Sorensen and Greg Wallace.

    Each voter submitted an individual Top 25, and every first-place team was given 25 points. The second-place team received 24, and so on. The teams are ranked according to total points.

    *All times are ET

Others Receiving Votes

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Cincinnati: 20

    Miami: 12

    Washington: 7

    Marshall: 5

    USC: 4

    Bowling Green: 4

25. Georgia Bulldogs

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: Unranked

    Week 14 Result: Win, 41-34, over Georgia Tech

    Week 15: Bye

    Overall Record: 8-4

    Poll Points: 26

    In his first career start, quarterback Hutson Mason was able to rally the Bulldogs from a 20-point deficit to a thrilling double-overtime victory over the Yellow Jackets.

    Todd Gurley produced three touchdowns on the ground for Georgia.

    Injuries prevented the Bulldogs from realizing their full potential this season, but they were able to nab a few impressive victories to look back on (South Carolina, LSU). This latest one belongs in that category.

24. Texas A&M Aggies

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 21

    Week 14 Result: Loss, 28-21, to Missouri

    Week 15: Bye

    Overall Record: 8-4

    Poll Points: 39

    Johnny Manziel was not as invincible as he once seemed at the close of the regular season.

    The defending Heisman winner had another poor offensive showing and threw only one touchdown in the Aggies' latest defeat.

    Texas A&M struggled against ranked opponents this season. Four games, four losses. That's the reason why the Aggies are completely out of the BCS picture at season's end.

23. Fresno State Bulldgos

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 15

    Week 14 Result: Loss, 62-52, to San Jose State

    Week 15: vs. Utah State, Saturday, Dec. 7, time TBD (Mountain West championship)

    Overall Record: 10-1

    Poll Points: 42

    Derek Carr threw for six touchdowns, but he was out-dueled by David Fales. Fales threw for a school-record 547 yards, and he had seven total touchdowns of his own to lead the Spartans to the upset victory.

    The loss essentially destroys Fresno State's hopes for a BCS game.

    The big takeaway from the Bulldogs' 2013 season is Carr, who ends the regular season with 47 total touchdowns.

22. Texas Longhorns

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    Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: Unranked

    Week 14 Result: Win, 41-16, over Texas Tech

    Week 15: at Baylor, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 8-3

    Poll Points: 43

    The Longhorns cruised past the Red Raiders to remain very much alive in the Big 12 championship race.

    However, a win over Baylor will be necessary to keep that dream alive. As was the case with every other team the Bears have faced, the key for Texas will be stopping their prolific offense.

    At the same time, Case McCoy will need to play smart and avoid a blowup like the one he suffered against Oklahoma State. 

21. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 14

    Week 14 Result: Loss, 31-24, to Penn State

    Week 15: Bye

    Overall Record: 9-3

    Poll Points: 88

    The Badgers had a sour end to their 2013 season, as Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg carved up their secondary for 339 yards and four touchdowns.

    A BCS bowl is now completely out of the question, but the Badgers should receive an invite to a fairly prestigious bowl game.

    It will be the final time the running back duo of James White and Melvin Gordon take the field in a Wisconsin uniform and one final chance to add to their impressive tally of 2,656 combined rushing yards.

20. Duke Blue Devils

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    Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 24

    Week 14 Result: Win, 27-25, over North Carolina

    Week 15: vs. Florida State, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. (ACC championship)

    Overall Record: 10-2

    Poll Points: 103

    The Blue Devils capped off the best regular season in program history with a nail-biting victory over hated rival North Carolina. Quarterback Anthony Boone was superb and threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions.

    The next stop for Duke is the ACC title game, but standing in the way is Florida State.

    The obvious key for the Blue Devils will be limiting Jameis Winston, but their offense will also need to play a perfect game against the Seminole defense. It will be a huge challenge.

19. UCLA Bruins

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 23

    Week 14 Result: Win, 35-14, over USC

    Week 15: Bye

    Overall Record: 9-3

    Poll Points: 143

    The Bruins ended the regular season on a high note by beating the rival Trojans. Brett Hundley inflicted damage with his legs, rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to throwing for 208 yards. 

    Overall, UCLA had what should be considered a successful season.

    The Bruins beat the teams they were supposed to, and they have a chance to surpass their nine-win total from last season in a bowl game. 

18. Louisville Cardinals

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 19

    Week 14 Result: Bye

    Week 15: at Cincinnati, Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 10-1

    Poll Points: 155

    The Cardinals spent their bye week hoping that UCF would lose to South Florida, which did not happen.

    Although they cannot earn an automatic conference berth in a BCS bowl, they can still end the season strong with a victory over Cincinnati. Scoring should be hard to come by, so quarterback Teddy Bridgewater needs to make plays for Louisville to win.

    The Bearcats have been on a roll, winning six games in a row since a disappointing loss to the aforementioned Bulls.

17. UCF Knights

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 18

    Week 14 Result: Win, 23-20, over South Florida

    Week 15: at SMU, Saturday, Dec. 7, at noon

    Overall Record: 10-1

    Poll Points: 161

    The Knights stayed on the path to BCS contention by escaping with a close victory over the Bulls.

    A 52-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles gave UCF the decisive advantage after the Knights committed five turnovers.

    If they can beat the Mustangs, who might or might not have starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert, the Knights will win the AAC title and make their first BCS appearance. 

16. LSU Tigers

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 16

    Week 14 Result: Win, 31-27, over Arkansas

    Week 15: Bye

    Overall Record: 9-3

    Poll Points: 162

    The Tigers benefited from a game-winning touchdown pass with 1:15 remaining by Anthony Jennings, who replaced an injured Zach Mettenberger in the fourth quarter.

    In his final regular-season game, Mettenberger struggled throughout, tossing an interception and no touchdowns.

    Les Miles told USA Today's Glenn Guilbeau he believes the senior quarterback will be ready for LSU's bowl game. He will leave as only the third signal-caller in school history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season, joining Rohan Davey and JaMarcus Russell.

15. Oklahoma Sooners

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 20

    Week 14 Result: Bye

    Week 15: at Oklahoma State, Saturday, Dec. 7, at noon

    Overall Record: 9-2

    Poll Points: 170

    The Sooners sat idle this past week, which gave them an extra week to prepare for their Bedlam clash with the Cowboys.

    The Oklahoma defense has struggled in big games this season, allowing a combined 77 points in the team's two losses (Texas, Baylor).

    That type of performance won't cut it against Clint Chelf and the rest of the Cowboys. If this unit can keep the game close, the momentum will swing in Oklahoma's favor.

14. Northern Illinois Huskies

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 17

    Week 14 Result: Win, 33-14, over Western Michigan

    Week 15: vs. Bowling Green, Friday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m. (MAC championship)

    Overall Record: 12-0

    Poll Points: 179

    Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch carried his team to a final regular-season victory Tuesday.

    He broke his own Football Bowl Subdivision record for quarterbacks with 321 rushing yards and became the fifth quarterback to pile up 20 passing and rushing touchdowns in the same season.

    Northern Illinois can surge one step closer to another BCS appearance with a win against Bowling Green in the conference title game. If Lynch continues his torrid pace, the Falcons will struggle to keep up.

13. Clemson Tigers

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    Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 5

    Week 14 Result: Loss, 31-17, to South Carolina

    Week 15: Bye

    Overall Record: 10-2

    Poll Points: 229

    The Tigers coughed up six turnovers, and they ultimately proved costly in a season-ending defeat. Two of them were interceptions of Tajh Boyd, who threw for only 225 yards and no touchdowns.

    The loss killed Clemson's hope for an at-large BCS berth, but it was still an impressive run through the 2013 season.

    Boyd and Sammy Watkins played like the top-flight draft prospects that everyone envisioned, and the team's only other blemish came against Florida State. 

12. Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 12

    Week 14 Result: Win, 58-21, over Arizona

    Week 15: vs. Stanford, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7:45 p.m. (Pac-12 championship)

    Overall Record: 10-2

    Poll Points: 231

    The Sun Devils won their seventh game in a row and will now host the Pac-12 title game.

    Sophomore running back D.J. Foster had easily his best game of the season against the Wildcats, rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns.

    However, he and the other backs will have more difficulty against a brutish Stanford front seven. Taylor Kelly could face his share of pressure in the pocket as well.

11. Oregon Ducks

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 13

    Week 14 Result: Win, 36-35, over Oregon State

    Week 15: Bye

    Overall Record: 10-2

    Poll Points: 235

    In the battle of flashy, neon uniforms for Civil War bragging rights, the Ducks barely squeaked by the Beavers.

    Marcus Mariota hit Josh Huff with a 12-yard touchdown pass with only 29 seconds left to give Oregon the decisive lead.

    All the Ducks can do now is wait for their bowl fate. They will finish second in the Pac-12 North after losing two of their final four games to conclude the season.

10. South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 11

    Week 14 Result: Win, 31-17, over Clemson

    Week 15: Bye

    Overall Record: 10-2

    Poll Points: 293

    Missouri's win kept the Gamecocks from reaching Atlanta, but a victory over a fellow BCS contender is a nice consolation prize.

    Connor Shaw provided the offensive spark, throwing and running for a combined 246 yards and two touchdowns.

    Now, South Carolina is left to wonder what could have been if the loss to Tennessee never happened. Other than that roadblock, the Gamecocks were largely successful throughout the regular season.

9. Michigan State Spartans

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    Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 8

    Week 14 Result: Win, 14-3, over Minnesota

    Week 15: vs. Ohio State, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8:17 p.m. (Big Ten championship)

    Overall Record: 11-1

    Poll Points: 298

    The Spartans offense was less than spectacular, but the defense forced three turnovers in the victory. An early first-quarter touchdown run by Jeremy Langford gave the Spartans all the points they would need.

    However, they will need much more offense next week against Ohio State, which survived a shootout with Michigan.

    With a BCS appearance on the line, quarterback Connor Cook needs to complement Langford by making some big throws in the Big Ten title game. If he does, Michigan State can pull off the upset.

8. Baylor Bears

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 10

    Week 14 Result: Win, 41-38, over TCU

    Week 15: vs. Texas, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 10-1

    Poll Points: 299

    For the second week in a row, the Bears were torched on defense. But this time, their offense scored enough points to come away victorious.

    Bryce Petty accounted for three touchdowns—two through the air and one on the ground—to lead his team to victory. 

    Baylor is still alive in the BCS chase, but a victory against Texas is needed. If the Bears can keep the Longhorns from lighting up the scoreboard, they should finish out the season with a win.  

7. Stanford Cardinal

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    Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 9

    Week 14 Result: Win, 27-20, over Notre Dame

    Week 15: at Arizona State, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7:45 p.m. (Pac-12 championship)

    Overall Record: 10-2

    Poll Points: 300

    The Cardinal couldn't pull away from Notre Dame until the final quarter, when two Tommy Rees interceptions ended any chance of a comeback.

    Tyler Gaffney was sensational again and rushed for a game-high 189 yards.

    Stanford is now one victory away from another Rose Bowl. It will have to come Saturday against Arizona State, which will host the game after defeating Arizona. 

6. Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 7

    Week 14 Result: Bye

    Week 15: vs. Oklahoma, Saturday, Dec. 7, at noon

    Overall Record: 10-1

    Poll Points: 312

    It doesn't get much simpler for the Cowboys. If they beat the Sooners, they will take the Big 12 crown.

    Their key to success has been a stingy defense that has held Baylor and Texas to a combined 30 points in their past two games.

    If they can stop Brennan Clay, who erupted for 200 yards against Kansas State, and the rest of the Sooners ground attack, they should have the upper hand.

5. Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Previous Rank: No. 1

    Week 14 Result: Loss, 34-28, to Auburn

    Week 15: Bye

    Overall Record: 11-1

    Poll Points: 356

    Alabama's run for a third straight straight BCS title came to a crashing halt in the Iron Bowl. Nick Saban elected to kick a 57-yard field goal with one second remaining in a tie game instead of throwing to the end zone, and the decision cost him. 

    The kick ended up being short and was returned for a game-winning touchdown by the Tigers' Chris Davis.

    The Crimson Tide are still in a great position for an at-large BCS berth. Although they won't compete for the national championship, what the team has accomplished the past three years is something to marvel at. 

4. Missouri Tigers

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 6

    Week 14 Result: Win, 28-21, over Texas A&M

    Week 15: vs. Auburn, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m. (SEC championship)

    Overall Record: 11-1

    Poll Points: 363

    In one of the unlikeliest developments of the 2013 season, the Tigers punched their ticket to Atlanta with a victory over the Aggies.

    Henry Josey dashed for a 57-yard touchdown with only 3:34 left in the fourth quarter to put Missouri ahead for good. The win sets up what should be an excellent tilt between the two Tigers in the SEC title game.

    Missouri's defense will have a tough time defending Auburn's offensive weapons, but it just shut down Johnny Manziel, so maybe that won't be as difficult as it seems.

3. Auburn Tigers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 4

    Week 14 Result: Win, 34-28, over Alabama

    Week 15: vs. Missouri, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m. (SEC championship)

    Overall Record: 11-1

    Poll Points: 396

    The Iron Bowl certainly lived up to all of the hype, and the ending was one for the ages. 

    A late touchdown pass by Nick Marshall tied the game with 32 seconds left, and Chris Davis provided the dramatic final blow by returning a missed field goal the length of the field after the clock had run out.

    Now, the Tigers are off to the SEC title game. The win puts an exclamation point on what has been a dramatic turnaround from a disastrous 3-9 season in 2012.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 3

    Week 14 Result: Win, 42-41, over Michigan

    Week 15: vs. Michigan State, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8:17 p.m. (Big Ten championship)

    Overall Record: 12-0

    Poll Points: 400 (1)

    The Buckeyes held off a late Wolverines charge when Tyvis Powell intercepted a Devin Gardner two-point conversion that would have put Michigan ahead by one with 32 seconds remaining. Carlos Hyde was a monster on the ground, rushing for 226 yards and a touchdown. 

    Ohio State's offense will have its hands full coming up, as the Spartans allow 11.8 points per game—fourth in the country. 

    If Hyde and Braxton Miller can string together a few big plays, the Buckeyes can do their part to raise that number and come away with a win.

1. Florida State Seminoles

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    Previous Rank: No. 2

    Week 14 Result: Win, 37-7, over Florida

    Week 15: vs. Duke, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. (ACC championship)

    Overall Record: 12-0

    Poll Points: 424 (16)

    As most expected, the Seminoles bowled past the sputtering Gators. After an early first-quarter interception, Jameis Winston rallied to throw three touchdown passes, all to Kelvin Benjamin.

    They can punch their ticket to the national title game by defeating Duke in Charlotte.

    Florida State is clearly a deeper and more talented team than the Blue Devils, which means a victory should be easy as long as both the offense and defense executes.