Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks ran into a stout defensive front. Unable to break away from Stanford, the nation’s number two fell in overtime (Getty/ Dykes)
Tailgater Top 25 Rankings, Week 12
What in the heck did we just see? For one unbeaten to fall would have been surprise and chaos, but two? Nearly three? Ohio State outplayed Wisconsin for most of the game but needed overtime to preserve the win and clinch the Big Ten Leaders Division. It’s as much success as the sanctioned Buckeyes can hope for this season, outside of an always-meaningful win over Michigan.
Kansas State and Oregon? Victory slipped away for those contenders. One early. One late.
The Wildcats looked completely disjointed and out of rhythm all night long. Collin Klein had an off night, seeing his chances for the Heisman Trophy evaporate as quickly as his team’s shot at the National Championship. Baylor looked like an unstoppable juggernaut, offensively, as Nick Florence overcame a pair of interceptions to dominate the KSU defense.
Oregon’s offense was stymied by a Stanford front seven that played as well as any defensive front has all year. The 21-14 upset marked the first time that Oregon had been held scoreless in the first quarter; coming into the game, the Ducks were averaging 19 points per game in the opening frame. It marked the first time Oregon went into halftime without a lead. The first Oregon overtime. And, obviously, the first Oregon loss.
Those who watched the game end to end know that the Cardinal could and should have won by a larger margin. Opportunities were missed repeatedly. Dropped balls by receivers and linebackers alike gave the Ducks more life than they should have had, but in the end that Stanford D prevailed, rising up for an OT stop that forced a missed field goal.
My personal rankings have become a war of attrition; I don’t have a true number one so much as I have survivors with the fewest wounds. Let’s see what the rest of the crew has to say.
Here are our updated college football rankings for week 12.
1. Notre Dame
2. Ohio State
6. Kansas State
7. Texas A&M
9. Florida State
11. Kent State
13. Oregon State
16. Northern Illinois
21. Utah State
23. Louisiana Tech
25. Boise State
1. Notre Dame
2. Ohio State
6. Florida State
8. Kansas State
10. Texas A&M
13. South Carolina
18. Oregon State
21. Oklahoma State
22. Kent State
23. Northern Illinios
24. Utah State
1. Ohio State
3. Notre Dame
6. Kansas State
9. Texas A&M
12. Florida State
14. South Carolina
16. Oregon State
18. Kent State
22. Oklahoma State
23. Utah State
25. Northern Illinois
1-10: The luck of the Irish moved Touchdown Jesus into the top spot after upsets above them. Ohio State won’t go bowling, but they’re #2 here. Bama lucks out, the king of backdoor championships. But Oregon stays ahead on my ballot after a tough OT loss to Stanford. (As the Mad Hatter would say, they’re undefeated in regulation.) The Tide and Bulldogs are on a collision course for Atlanta. K-State drops further after getting exposed by 4-5 Baylor. Giant-killers A&M and Stanford are just ahead of the ACC’s top two teams.
11-20: Louisiana Tech blew its BCS Buster hopes, so everyone moves up this week a spot. There were no appreciable upsets otherwise in this 11-20 zone to justify additional shifting, as everyone here took care of business. So, heading into the final weeks of the regular season, things remain the same — but with several of these teams playing one another, or other top 25 teams, there’s bound to be more shakeups over the next fortnight.
21-25: The Aggies killed the WAC’s chances of landing one last BCS berth for old time’s sake when they prevailed over Louisiana Tech in OT. Texas now has to face a K-State team bitter about losing their #1 spot. The Bulldogs, despite losing a second game, is still a top 25 team. Northwestern finally held on in a tight game, returning to my ballot again this season. And the Broncos round out the hopefuls as they kept hopes alive for a Mountain West crown before they leave for the Big “East” next year.
1-10:I don’t think Notre Dame is the best team in the country, but I can’t rank anyone ahead of them as they are the only eligible undefeated team in the country, and it isn’t like they have played a particularly easy schedule. Ohio State is 2nd, but Alabama and Georgia at 3 and 4 control their own destiny due to the Buckeyes being ineligible for postseason play. The Tide and Bulldogs will meet in Atlanta in two weeks with a spot in the National Championship on the line. Oregon falls to 5 and all it would take is a Notre Dame loss to USC for them to be back in the Championship hunt despite their loss to Stanford. Florida State and Florida follow, with Kansas State falling all the way down to 8th after they were beaten soundly by .500 Baylor. LSU and Texas A&M round out the Top-10.
11-20: Stanford is right outside the Top-10 after an impressive victory in Eugene keyed by an excellent defensive performance. Clemson and South Carolina come in at 12 and 13 with their position in the standings being determined when the two meet on the gridiron this weekend. UCLA won the battle of Los Angeles and clinched a spot in the Pac-12 Title game. Oklahoma falls a spot despite winning because they looked quite unimpressive in their one point win over West Virginia. Nebraska will wrap up the Legends Division with a win over Iowa this weekend. Texas was off, and the luster of their date with Kansas State in two weeks was lost after the Wildcats lost to Baylor. Oregon State dominated Cal, and the best of the Big East in Rutgers and Louisville round out the Top-20.
21-25: Oklahoma State stomped Texas Tech and their inclusion in the Top-25 is probably a week too late. Kent State and Northern Illinois are both 10-1 MAC teams and they will meet for the conference championship in two weeks. Utah State jumps into the poll this week on the heels of their win over Louisiana Tech, who I considered the best non-AQ team in the nation before last week’s game. Michigan is back into the Top-25 after dominating Iowa to get to 8-3, and the Wolverines will try to prevent Urban Meyer from going 12-0 in his first season as head coach of Ohio State.
1-10: As I said above, the top 5 is a resultof attrition rather than success. Thanks to a favorable schedule and an 11-0 record, the Buckeyes slip into first. It doesn’t mean much with regard to the nation title, but OSU did clinch their division (and will be recognized by the Big Ten for that) even as their vanquished foes the Wisconsin Badgers “earned” a spot in the Big Ten Championship. I still think Alabama’s body of work is better than Notre Dame’s; their respective wins over powerhouses Western Carolina and Wake Forest did nothing to change my mind. After that come the rest of the elite one-loss teams. Oregon’s overtime loss was less harmful than K-State’s blowout defeat for numerous reasons, and Georgia now has an outside chance at the National Championship even if the Dawgs beating the Tide is an unlikely scenario. Stanford’s big win vaults the Cardinal into my top 10 and makes me wish that the refs hadn’t botched the Stepfan Taylor touchdown in South Bend.
11-20: Kent State had a nice win over rival Bowling Green, sewing up the MAC North and climbing a bit in my rankings. Texas is no longer the potential spoiler it might have been now that Kansas State lost, but the ‘Horns can still finish strong with a win against the Wildcats. UCLA had a monster win against USC, and the Bruins’ reward could be back-to-back meetings with Stanford unless they win their season finale. Oklahoma and Rutgers round things out here, although I gave serious thought to tossing the Sooners entirely after their putrid win in Morgantown. The lack of defense was pathetic.
21-25: As I expected, Utah State knocked off Louisana Tech to climb into my top 25. The Aggies are a play or two away from being a true BCS buster…the Wisconsin loss, in particular, is rife with “what-ifs” because a win over the Badgers would look mighty god on paper right about now. USC falls out of the poll after losing to UCLA and losing Matt Barkley. Did that injury hand Notre Dame a ticket to the NC game? And I have to let Michigan back in as well, with two of the Wolverines’ three losses coming against teams not in the top 3. Michigan will have a chance to prove whether or not I’m underestimating it in The Game this Saturday. It’s still college football’s best rivalry, Ohio State’s punishment be damned.