Week 14 of the 2013 college football season featured an absolutely epic slate of contests that completely altered the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll.
As a result of so many wild finishes over the holiday weekend, the Week 15 rankings are drastically different from last Sunday’s offering.
Let’s take a look at the Week 15 AP Top 25 poll, compare the results to Bleacher Report’s weekly official poll and recap the action that brought us to this point.
|1||Florida State (58)||12-0||1,498||2||1|
Auburn’s win over Alabama is obviously the top story of the weekend. The Tigers gutted out a thrilling game against the top-ranked Crimson Tide, culminating in a return of a missed field goal for 100 yards and a score to earn the victory.
No. 3 Auburn is now headed to Atlanta for the SEC championship game, while No. 4 Alabama’s regular season is over and its dreams of a third straight national title have all but vanished.
Tigers offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee was ecstatic about the win on Saturday night, telling Phillip Marshall of AuburnTigers.com:
It’s a great honor to get to go to the SEC championship game and represent the West. Our guys have won big games this year and they’ve responded. Every time we’ve asked our guys to do something, they’ve responded. We are really going to enjoy this one tonight and go back to work Sunday.
Florida State now occupies the top spot in the AP poll, with the Seminoles handling their business against rival Florida. FSU must take out No. 20 Duke in the ACC championship game to advance to the BCS National Championship Game.
Ohio State polished off a second consecutive undefeated regular season with a win over rival Michigan to move up to No. 2 in the AP poll. The Buckeyes were fortunate to intercept the Wolverines’ last-second two-point conversion attempt to come out on top and now seem poised to challenge the ‘Noles for the crystal trophy.
No. 5 Missouri is a dark horse for that title game, though, after holding on for a win over Texas A&M on Saturday night. Mizzou will match up with Auburn in the conference championship and could ruffle a lot of feathers if it wins in the Georgia Dome.
South Carolina moved up a few pegs to No. 8 after its impressive performance in the Battle of the Palmetto State. The Gamecocks knocked out now-No. 13 Clemson with a strong defensive performance, holding quarterback Tajh Boyd to just 225 yards passing, zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
Rounding out the Top 10 this week is No. 7 Stanford—which will play Arizona State for the Pac-12 title—No. 9 Baylor and No. 10 Michigan State.
Penn State upset Wisconsin in the regular-season finale, with the Nittany Lions avoiding turnovers on the way to a 31-24 win. The Badgers dropped seven spots to No. 21.
Fresno State also fell down the rankings, from No. 16 all the way to No. 24. The Bulldogs couldn’t navigate past the San Jose State Spartans and suffered their first loss of 2013. Spartans quarterback David Fales was unstoppable, passing for 547 yards and six touchdowns while adding a rushing touchdown as well. It capped off a great season for the senior signal-caller.
Which team most deserves to play Florida State in the championship game?
UCLA won the battle for Los Angeles by knocking rival USC out of the rankings. The Bruins finished the season 9-3 and ranked 17th, while the Trojans dropped to 9-4.
Texas and Georgia reappeared in the Top 25 this week after both up-and-down squads picked up a win in Week 14.
Make sure you tune in this weekend to the upcoming slate of college games. A number of conference championships will be decided in Week 15, making it a must-watch for everyone from hardcore fans to casual observers.
If this coming week is anything like the past one, you can expect even more drastic changes in the next Associated Press Top 25 poll.