The Associated Press has released its Top 25 poll for Week 20. It should come as little surprise that the organization unanimously declared Florida State its national champion.
While crowning the undefeated Seminoles is far from controversial, fans may take umbrage with how the AP ranked the remainder of the teams at the conclusion of bowl season.
Let’s take a look at the updated standings, compare those results to Bleacher Report’s final Top 25 poll and recap the most impactful games that shaped this season-ending list.
|1||Florida State (60)||14-0||1,500||1||1|
FSU clearly deserves the No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 poll and every other sort of college football ranking system under the sun. The team dominated throughout the 2013 campaign and capped off its run with a thrilling victory in the BCS Championship Game against No. 2 Auburn.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston deserves much of the credit for taking his team this far. He delivered a coup de grace in the form of a two-yard touchdown strike with 13 seconds left on the game clock.
Rob Carlin of CSNWashington.com was excited about Kelvin Benjamin’s catch:
What a game!! What a drive by Jameis Winston.. great call, great throw to tall, playmaking WR..— Rob Carlin (@RobCarlinCSN) January 7, 2014
The Tigers put up a strong fight before submitting. Star running back Tre Mason bullied his way to 195 yards rushing and two total touchdowns, including a 37-yard run to put his team ahead with just over a minute left to play.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn heaped praise on his players after the contest, as per Seminoles.com: "I told them in the locker room, we put together the biggest turnaround in the history of college football. We were on the brink of making it one of those magical seasons.”
Unfortunately for the Tigers and their fans, they will have to settle for the No. 2 spot in the final AP poll.
Following the two championship-game teams is No. 3 Michigan State, which narrowly edged No. 11 Stanford in a 24-20 thriller that fittingly took place during the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl. The Spartans finished the year 13-1 and delivered the Cardinal their third loss of the 2013 campaign.
South Carolina comes in at No. 4 in the latest rankings, vaulting up four spots after a convincing win over No. 22 Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl. The Gamecocks' second-half rally allowed them to beat the Badgers by double digits in Orlando.
Missouri rounds out the Top Five, as the SEC runner-up won a shootout against No. 17 Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers had a better-than-expected season and will have much to build on heading into 2014.
Oklahoma jumped up to No. 6, just ahead of the No. 7 Alabama team it beat in the Sugar Bowl. The Sooners took care of business against a sluggish Crimson Tide team, even though they were a major underdog at kickoff.
Does UCF deserve more credit for its win over Baylor?
Clemson takes the No. 8 spot after dispatching a slumping Ohio State squad in the Orange Bowl. The Buckeyes fell to No. 12 and ended their season on a two-game losing streak.
Oregon and UCF round out the Top 10, with the No. 9 Ducks capitalizing on an Alamo Bowl blowout over Texas and the No. 10 Knights proving they belong with a convincing BCS win over Baylor. The Bears dropped to No. 13 after the 10-point loss in the Fiesta Bowl.
It was a thrilling college football campaign and featured outcomes that almost no one would have predicted at the start of the season. 2014 promises to be even more exciting, but first fans must survive the long offseason.
At least they will have something to debate in the form of this final, Week 20 Associated Press Top 25 poll.