NCAA Football Rankings: Predicting the Top 25 After Week 15

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2013

Auburn won the SEC Championship, and an Ohio State loss will allow the Tigers to play for a national title.
Auburn won the SEC Championship, and an Ohio State loss will allow the Tigers to play for a national title.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Conference championship weekend showcased eight of the nation's Top 10 teams, including six key games between ranked schools.

But first, let's observe a moment of silence to remember the 2013 NCAA regular season.

OK. Moving forward.

Sixth-ranked Oklahoma State was upended by rival No. 18 Oklahoma, 33-24, in an exciting matchup to kick off a thrilling Saturday slate of games. Shaking off a slow start, ninth-ranked Baylor beat No. 23 Texas, 30-10, and clinched the Big 12 Championship.

Meanwhile, in the SEC, No. 3 Auburn gashed fifth-ranked Missouri for 545 rushing yards en route to a 59-42 victory.

Anchored by its powerful offensive line, No. 7 Stanford dismantled a Marion Grice-less No. 11 Arizona State team, 38-14, to win the Pac-12.

In the Big Ten, second-ranked Ohio State overcame a 17-point deficit, but 10th-ranked Michigan State toppled the Buckeyes, 34-24.

Top-ranked Florida State took down No. 20 Duke, 45-7, and will be headed to its first title game since 2000. The national championship picture was not perfectly clear heading into the weekend, but Ohio State's loss will allow Auburn to take on the Seminoles in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 6, 2014.

Notes: Previous rankings based on Week 15 AP Top 25. This is an AP projection, not BCS.

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


Fun Facts

With seven ranked teams, the SEC leads the projections. The ACC and Pac-12 each list four schools in the polls, while the Big Ten and Big 12 have three ranked programs.

A variety of teams have been ranked for the entirety of a season for at least three years in a row. Alabama holds the longest streak, having been ranked in every AP poll since the beginning of the 2008 campaign.

LSU has achieved this each season since 2009, while Oregon and Oklahoma have both accomplished this since 2010. Capping it off, Stanford and South Carolina have earned weekly Top 25 appearances since the 2011 campaign.

If Michigan State jumps to the No. 4 spot, it will only be the Spartans' second appearance as a Top Five team since 1999.

Georgia will be ranked for the 519th time in school history, but it will be the first time the Bulldogs have made three separate appearances in the Top 25, falling out of and rising into the polls twice this season.


Rising: Stanford Cardinal

Dec 7, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Stanford Cardinal head coach David Shaw celebrates with roses after the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Stanford defeated Arizona State 38-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford left no doubt as to which Pac-12 division champion was superior in its 24-point win, outgaining Arizona State 517 yards to 311.

Tyler Gaffney tallied 133 yards and three scores on the ground, and Kevin Hogan completed 12 of 18 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown.

Versatile wide receiver Ty Montgomery caught five passes for 69 yards and one touchdown while adding a 22-yard touchdown on a reverse.

The Cardinal improved to 11-2 and will appear in the Rose Bowl Game for the second consecutive season.


Falling: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Dec 7, 2013; Stillwater, OK, USA;  Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf (10) is tackled by Oklahoma Sooners defensive end Charles Tapper (91) during the fourth quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 edition of the Bedlam Series was dramatic to say the least.

Oklahoma State scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Oklahoma's Blake Bell on Jalen Saunders connected for the game-winning score with 19 seconds left. The Sooners added another touchdown as time expired when the Cowboys' miracle lateral attempts failed.

Clint Chelf threw for 202 yards, while Desmond Roland added 144 yards and two scores, but Oklahoma won the thrilling rivalry game, 33-24.

Oklahoma State dropped its second game of the season, but it cost the Pokes a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Mike Gundy's team could still head to a BCS bowl, but OSU must be selected as an at-large team.


Rising: Baylor Bears

WACO, TX - DECEMBER 07:  Bryce Petty #14 of the Baylor Bears celebrates a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns at Floyd Casey Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Baylor was flat-out dominated by Oklahoma State two weeks ago, and the Bears' BCS hopes took a major hit.

But the Cowboys lost, and Baylor capitalized on its opportunity, knocking off Texas, 30-10.

Though the score was just 3-3 at halftime, Bryce Petty tossed two touchdowns and Glasco Martin added one more on the ground.

The Bears set a new school record with 11 wins and locked up a spot in the Fiesta Bowl, likely against Blake Bortles and Central Florida.


Falling: Ohio State Buckeyes

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 07:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks down during the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Michigan State Spartans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ohio State needed just one more win to practically lock up its spot in the national championship.

After Michigan State scored 17 straight points to open the game, Ohio State tallied the next 24. However, the Spartans scored the final 17, and MSU handed the Buckeyes their first loss since the 2011 season.

A decent Ohio State defense struggled to contain the Spartans offense, allowing Connor Cook to throw for three touchdowns and a career-high 304 yards.

The Buckeyes fall to 12-1 and will almost certainly be chosen as an at-large BCS team, but Ohio State wanted a shot at Florida State—one it will not get.


Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.


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