College Football Rankings: Who Got Screwed in Week 12 Coaches' and AP Polls?
Every poll released at this point in the NCAA football season carries great importance for teams vying for prime bowl positioning.
At this late juncture, teams' margins of victory are more important than ever, as are the fates of previous opponents, making scoreboard watching and point accumulation necessities for teams with national title hopes.
Each week the AP and Coaches' Polls warrant close examination, and each week there are some teams that have legitimate gripes about their positioning in the polls, whether it's teams still being punished for early-season defeats against tough opponents, or teams slipping because previous opponents were knocked off by lesser teams.
Here we'll present 10 cases of teams that were screwed by the national pollsters. It's highly subjective, but it's a sampling nonetheless of teams that could complain about their positioning ahead of Week 12.
Definitely chime in with your own stances on how the polls should have shaken out.
TCU Horned Frogs (No. 4 In Both AP and Coaches' Polls)
TCU had to hold on for a hard-fought and oftentimes dicey victory over San Diego State, a game in which the Horned Frogs fell behind early, then rallied to a commanding lead, only to see it almost evaporate in the second half.
The near-loss at home, combined with the beating that their Week 10 opponent Utah took at the hands of unranked and mediocre Notre Dame, opened the door for Boise State to jump over TCU and into third in the AP and Coaches' Polls.
TCU struggled, yes, but they've still posted impressive victories over quality opponents in Baylor, Oregon State and Utah, while largely dominating the other lesser teams on their schedule.
Boise State deserves to be positioned high in the polls, but not at the expense of a still-successful TCU team.
Stanford Cardinal (No. 7 AP, No. 8 Coaches' Poll)
I rate Stanford above both of the Big Ten's top two teams, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Wisconsin jumped over Stanford in the AP poll presumably because of their demolition of Indiana this week, compounded by their undeniably impressive year-long campaign.
Their only loss came at the hands of the country's top team in Oregon, and they've knocked off all their other Pac-10 opponents in convincing fashion.
They have a Top 10 scoring offense in the country, and I think they deserve to be ranked above Wisconsin at either six, or even more ambitiously, five in the polls.
Alabama Crimson Tide (No. 10 AP, No. 12 Coaches' Poll)
The Iron Bowl is looming and Alabama is still in position to do major damage to both the national picture, as well as in their extremely tough conference.
They've lost tough games to two very competitive and highly-ranked teams in LSU and South Carolina, and at this point I think they should be no lower than 10th in the national rankings, certainly placed above Michigan State.
The Spartans' biggest win is over Wisconsin, while also beating two conference opponents that have hung around the top 25 in Michigan and Northwestern.
Alabama's resume in 2010 is more impressive to this point, and I would argue the Crimson Tide belong above even Nebraska.
The Big 12 has had a good season but the strength of the SEC, and particularly Alabama's schedule, deserves rewarding with a bit higher ranking.
Missouri Tigers (No. 15 AP, No. 16 Coaches' Poll)
Missouri is two spots below Oklahoma in the Coaches' Poll, which is where my beef stems from regarding their ranking.
The deciding factor seems to be each teams' performance against Texas Tech: Missouri lost a shocker, while Oklahoma steamrolled Tech handily.
Oklahoma, however, couldn't stop Texas A&M, a team that Missouri dispatched handily.
So each team has had their ups and downs in the conference, and I think Missouri deserves to be above the Sooners based on the head-to-head result. The coaches need to re-evaluate that one.
South Carolina Gamecocks (No. 17 In Both AP And Coaches' Polls)
The Old Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier, to the uninitiated) has led South Carolina to the top of the SEC East thanks to huge wins against Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Their losses have all been in conference games, in what is arguably the toughest conference in the country to boot.
Losing to Auburn and Arkansas isn't too deadly of a sin, but dropping a game to Kentucky on the road is what seems to be holding South Carolina up from being higher in the standings.
However, I can't understand how they can be ranked in both polls below Virginia Tech, a team that counts a loss to James Madison on their resume and has run the table through a much weaker ACC.
South Carolina deserves to leapfrog the Hokies in both polls.
Nevada Wolf Pack (No. 19 AP, No. 18 Coaches' Poll)
Nevada has been shaky on the road, barely surviving against Fresno State this week and dropping their only game of the year at Hawaii.
Their opposition has been weaker than teams like Texas A&M and South Carolina, but they have nonetheless impressively imposed their will in a number of games and deserve to be up higher than where they stand currently in both polls.
They handily ran over a Cal team that just gave the top team in the nation a run for its money, and they went on the road and won at BYU, a tough game.
I think they should be up above Texas A&M for sure, maybe in the 16 or 17 range.
Mississippi State Bulldogs (No. 22 In Both AP And Coaches' Polls)
Dan Mullen's Mississippi State Bulldogs have lost to arguably three of the best teams in the nation in Auburn, LSU and Alabama.
Losing to the unquestioned cream of the SEC crop is nothing to be ashamed of, and they count quality wins against Florida and Georgia along with being extremely stingy defensively.
They are not a team that should be much higher than where they stand in both polls, but they should most certainly be above both Miami and Iowa.
Iowa is fresh off losing to Northwestern, a much less daunting opponent than any of MSU's losses this year.
The Big Ten has been a very strong conference but I think Mississippi State is a cut above both Iowa and Miami right now, and should be ranked as such.
Northwestern Wildcats (Unranked In AP, No. 25 In Coaches' Poll)
Quality Big Ten wins over Iowa at home, Indiana on the road and Minnesota on the road should push Northwestern into both polls, particularly since Iowa has been ranked for most of the year and has knocked off bigger opponents in the Big Ten.
Their only truly bad loss has been to Purdue at home, a heart breaker that was extremely close at 20-17. Losing to Michigan State and Penn State, two solid schools, is nothing to be ashamed of.
Utah is still ranked and yet they've been blown apart in two straight weeks against their first real opponents in TCU and Notre Dame.
I advocated Utah being more highly-thought of early in the year, but they appear to be a total paper tiger now late into the heart of the season.
Florida State Seminoles (Unranked In Both AP And Coaches' Polls)
The Seminoles' three losses have come at the hands of Oklahoma on the road, North Carolina State on the road and North Carolina in a nail-biter at home.
The ACC is a bit down this year, but Florida State has knocked off one of the conference's big teams in a convincing drubbing of Miami in South Florida on Oct. 9.
Miami has re-entered the national polls this week, and I think the Seminoles deserve it more than the Hurricanes at this point.
The head to head in this instance is the deal breaker for me, I see Florida State as a No. 24- or No. 25- type team, while Miami should just be on the bubble looking in.
Michigan Wolverines (Unranked In Both AP And Coaches' Polls)
The Wolverines vanished from the polls once they suffered a three-game losing streak against Michigan State, Iowa and Penn State, three quality Big Ten opponents.
They should now get a second look in the AP and Coaches' rankings because they have wins over Notre Dame (fresh off beating a top 25 team), Purdue (who have beaten Northwestern, ranked in one of the polls) and Illinois, a team Penn State couldn't beat.
I think Michigan deserves a crack at the top 25, and honestly they've proved more this season than Utah and arguably Miami.