NCAA Football Rankings 2013: Predicting the Top 25 After Week 14

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2013

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 30:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts in the fourth quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Week 14 turned into one of the greatest rivalry weeks college football has ever seen, and the turmoil in the upcoming polls is sure to reflect that.

Overall, a whopping seven teams in the AP Top 25 took losses this weekend, ranging all the way from No. 1 to No. 25.

Top-ranked Alabama, which had been deadlocked at No. 1 since the preseason, took its first loss of the year, a 34-28 heartbreaker to No. 4 Auburn in the Iron Bowl that ended up being one of the greatest college football games ever.

Clemson lost in its rivalry game to South Carolina, its second black mark of the year. Wisconsin fell to Penn State, ending the Badgers' six-game win streak.

One of the more devastating losses of the week came in San Jose, as San Jose State upended the previously undefeated Fresno State Bulldogs. Fresno State was vying for an automatic berth into a BCS bowl, but the Bulldogs' loss will almost undoubtedly remove them from contention.

Texas A&M, USC and Notre Dame all lost to ranked teams, Missouri, UCLA and Stanford respectively, to round out a wild week of action.

With that, check out Bleacher Report's projection of what Week 15's AP Poll should look like.

Notes: Previous rankings based on Week 14's AP Top 25. This is an AP projection, not BCS.

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

 Fun Facts

  • 14 teams are projected to either rise up in the rankings or go from being unranked to ranked.
  • Four teams are projected to stay stagnant in the rankings despite winning games.
  • Baylor is the only team that won a game that is projected to drop in the rankings.
  • Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Louisville are all projected to rise in the rankings despite having a bye week.
  • With Georgia's win over Georgia Tech, the SEC's number of ranked teams rises from six to seven. The Pac-12 has five representatives, while the Big Ten has four, the Big 12 and ACC have three and the American has two.


Rising: Florida State and Ohio State

And then there were two. 

The Florida State Seminoles and the Ohio State Buckeyes are now the only two remaining undefeated BCS automatic qualifying (AQ) conference teams. Should each team win its conference championship, these two teams will likely be the representatives in the BCS National Championship Game. 

Florida State dominated in-state rival Florida on Saturday afternoon 37-7. However, it took a failed two-point conversion in the game's final minute for the Buckeyes to upend archrival Michigan. It was the first time since a Sept. 28 meeting against Wisconsin that Ohio State won by less than double digits.


Falling: Fresno State's BCS Dreams

It's not easy to win when you give up 62 points. In fact, it's almost impossible. 

Nov 29, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr (4) stands on the field against the San Jose State Spartans in the third quarter at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Bulldogs 62-52. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-U
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The previously undefeated Fresno State Bulldogs found that out the hard way as they lost their regular-season finale to the San Jose State Spartans 62-52. The loss ended Fresno State's hopes for an automatic berth into a BCS bowl game, which were looking bright heading into the game.

For a non-AQ BCS conference team to earn an automatic berth, the team must finish in the top 16 of the BCS standings and finish ahead of an automatic qualifying team. The Bulldogs went into the game ranked 16th, behind Northern Illinois and ahead of UCF in the standings.

However, the poor showing on Friday afternoon ended the Bulldogs' hope of reaching one of the nation's elite bowl games. Nonetheless, Fresno State will still play for a Mountain West title next week against Utah State.


Rising: The Duke Blue Devils

When December hits, fans in North Carolina have usually forgotten all about Duke's football team and shifted their attention to the hardwood.

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 30:  Jamison Crowder #3 of the Duke Blue Devils encourages the crowd during a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Duke won 27-25.  (Photo by Grant Halve
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Not so fast. With Saturday's win over archrival North Carolina, the Blue Devils secured the ACC Coastal Division title and a date with Florida State in the ACC title game.

Duke will almost surely be heavy underdogs heading into its matchup with what will probably the nation's top-ranked team. But for the Blue Devils to be relevant this late into the football season is a true testament to how David Cutcliffe has turned around the program.


Falling: Clemson's BCS at-large Chances

The Clemson Tigers took a tough loss to South Carolina on Saturday by a score of 31-17.

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 30:  Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers walks off the field during their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Get
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

What took the biggest hit, though, was Clemson's chances at an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game. With two losses, albeit both to top-10 teams, it will be hard for the BCS bowl committees to pick the Tigers over teams like Alabama, South Carolina, or even Baylor, Stanford or Arizona State.

Clemson's regular season is over as they won't play in the ACC title game. So their BCS fate rests solely in the hands of other teams around the country. The best they can hope for is for Florida State to take care of Duke. Should Duke pull off the upset, there is almost no way that the Seminoles won't get an at-large bid, thus knocking the Tigers out of contention.



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