Tailgater Top 25 Rankings, Week 8
Collin Klein and the Kansas State Wildcats have emerged as legitimate title contenders, both for the Big 12 and the National Championship (Icon/ SMI)
Yikes, West Virginia. I think your fans were hoping that you’d prove week 7′s loss in Lubbock to be a fluke. A single stumble. Instead, that lopsided defeat at Texas Tech proved to be the better of your two losses. South Carolina also followed its first failure with another, more spectacular flop as Florida’s dominion over the SEC East was all but solidified in The Swamp. Oregon and Alabama continued to steamroll opponents, giving us as clear-cut a top 4 as we could possibly want.
After that, however, things get a bit hazy.
For the second straight week the Buckeyes and Irish could have, perhaps should have lost to far weaker foes. BYU played surprisingly well in South Bend while Purdue controlled Ohio State for 58 minutes and change. Not to be outdone, Louisville did its level best to lose to South Florida before escaping with a two-point margin. Were those narrow victories superior to Oregon State’s more convincing win over Utah? Or Rutgers’ second-half demolition of Temple? And what about Mississippi State, not all that highly regarded but still unbeaten after topping MTSU?
Then of course we have the best of the one-loss teams, with Oklahoma pounding Kansas and LSU overcoming an awfu first quarter to handle Texas A&M on the road. Clemson crushed Virginia Tech with the help of a few favorable calls, USC demolished the lowly Buffs, and Texas Tech won what was perhaps the most exciting game of the week in triple overtime against TCU.
All of this makes for a rather jumbled picture in terms of both the polls and BCS standings; after we get past the few elite teams, things are pretty confusing. Good thing there’s plenty of football left to sort it all out.
Here are our updated rankings for week 8.
3. Kansas State
4. Oregon State
6. Notre Dame
8. Ohio State
10. Mississippi State
14. Florida State
17. Texas Tech
18. Louisiana Tech
19. Boise State
25. Northern Illinois
4. Kansas State
5. Oregon State
6. Notre Dame
7. Ohio State
10. Mississippi State
14. Texas Tech
15. Florida State
19. South Carolina
20. Texas A&M
21. Louisiana Tech
22. Boise State
25. Penn State
3. Kansas State
5. Oregon State
6. Ohio State
7. Notre Dame
10. Texas Tech
12. Mississippi State
16. Florida State
18. Boise State
19. Texas A&M
22. Louisiana Tech
24. South Carolina
1-10: The teams stay the same, but the order shuffles a bit. Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State remain the class of college football after all three earned convincing victories. Into the #4 and #5 spots go Oregon State and Florida, who also won big and displaced Notre Dame and Louisville. The Irish and Cardinals could easily have lost their respective games yesterday; thus they drop, as does Ohio State a spot after needing overtime to beat Purdue. USC and Mississippi State remain the last two in the top ten after the Trojans routed Colorado and the Bulldogs knocked off Middle Tennessee.
11-20: Rutgers might just be the best team in the Big East. Ohio benefited on its bye week by moving up a few spots thanks to the attrition above them. LSU moves up after taking care of Texas A&M on the road; they jump Florida State, who stays at #14 after beating rival Miami but starting shaky in doing so. They stay ahead of Clemson, who they beat earlier this season in ACC play. Same goes for Oklahoma/Texas Tech. Louisiana Tech got back to winning ways against Idaho, Boise State did the same against UNLV, and Georgia jumped back in by improving to 6-1 at Kentucky.
21-25: Toledo ended Cincinnati’s undefeated season and moved to 7-1 themselves. Tulsa had a tough time of things against Rice, but they remain in the top 25 after surviving the matchup. Duke thrilled their way to a late comeback victory over rival UNC, earning a sixth win and bowl eligibility for the first time in 18 years. Stanford took care of business in the Big Game against Cal, keeping pace with the Ducks and Beavers in the Pac-12 North. Finishing the top 25 this week is Northern Illinois, who stayed tied with Toledo after beating Akron by 30.
1-10: Only one small change in the Top-5 this week with Oregon State leapfrogging Notre Dame to #5. Alabama, Oregon, Florida, and Kansas State remain the same although I did give some thought to moving Florida to #2 after their impressive win over South Carolina. As for Notre Dame, the Irish fall to #6 after looking unimpressive once again. They struggled to put away a team that Oregon State dispatched with a backup QB. We’ll find out about the Irish next week in Norman. Ohio State holds steady at #7 after they overcame the loss of Braxton Miller to defeat Purdue. LSU looks like the best one loss team and they get their crack at #1 Alabama in two weeks. Oklahoma sits at 9th ahead of their showdown with the Irish, and Mississippi State will get their chance to prove their legitimacy in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
11-20: Louisville and Rutgers are 11 and 12 as the class of the Big East. USC hammered a hapless Colorado team as they gear up for Arizona next week before their big date with Oregon. Texas Tech earned a nice road win in triple overtime over TCU to follow up their blowout of West Virginia and the Red Raiders look like legitimate contenders in the Big 12. Florida State and Clemson at 15 and 16 as the top teams in the ACC. Georgia takes a bit of a slide to #17 after struggling against Kentucky. Ohio moves up after their bye week. South Carolina tumbles to #19 but they stay in the poll because their is no shame in road losses to LSU and Florida. Texas A&M has a pair of losses, but just like South Carolina they came against Florida and LSU.
21-25: Louisiana Tech moved to 6-1 after throttling Idaho and that is likely to continue as they run through the WAC. Boise State has now won six in a row after their season opening loss to Michigan State. Toledo moves into the poll for the first time after their win over previously undefeated Cincinnati. Their lone loss came in overtime in the season opener to Arizona. Stanford moves back into the poll at #24 thanks mainly to all the attrition at the bottom of the rankings. Penn State gets my vote at #25 because nobody has had to overcome as much as they have this year after winning dominating Iowa for their fifth straight win.
1-10: The top 5 continues to separate itself with strong performances. Those continuing to elevate Notre Dame over Oregon State obviously haven’t been watching the Irish; only their trademark luck has saved them in consecutive weeks. A trip to Norman next week should prove enlightening. The best of the one-loss teams are lurking, waiting for one of the unbeatens to make a mistake. Despite its near-total lack of a passing game, LSU is looking good again while Oklahoma and Texas Tech aren’t giving K-State much Big 12 breathing room.
11-20: Rutgers, Mississippi State and Louisville remain on the cusp of the top 10, although Louisville has had some ghastly moments this year. After that, another batch of one-loss power programs, including the cream of the ACC crop. I didn’t have the heart to drop Texas A&M or TCU out of the top 20 given the strength of their resepctive losses. Though both fell at home, the games could have gone either way.
21-25: Here’s where it gets tricky. I had to decide between some small conference teams toting only a single loss each, or programs like the Cardinal and Gamecocks. Obviously I went with the latter. Remember that Stanford was robbed of a chance to tie in overtime at Notre Dame, and could easily be 6-1. Plus, that win over USC is still looking good. South Carolina was rolled in Gainesville, but that two-point loss at LSU is nothing to sneer at. Cincinnati’s loss at Toledo swaps those two teams, and the Bobcats and Bulldogs are hanging around as non-AQ conference reps.