Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
  Tailgater Top 25 Rankings, Week 14 With the final week of the season complete and the bowls set, the debating can begin in earnest.  What BCS flaws have been or will be exposed this year?  Who was snubbed?  Which team got more than it deserved?  One thing that is hard to debate is the title matchup itself.  Notre Dame is the nation’s only eligible undefeated team.  Their spot in the title game makes perfect sense. Alabama is clearly the best one-loss team in the country after winning the SEC on Saturday.  They too have earned their chance as a championship.  As for the SEC Championship Game itself, some media outlets would have us believe that it was an incredibly close game, and while the final margin of victory was anything but comfortable for the Tide, ‘Bama did outplay UGA by a fair margin.  A blown call on third down led to a swing of ten points or more.  A pass interference foul on the Georgia defense was nullified by a supposed tip at the line of scrimmage, though replays showed that the thrown ball never changed course.  Instead of a first down and ten at the UGA 17 yardline, Alabama was forced to try a field goal.  The kick was blocked and returned by Georgia for a touchdown. That errant call led to a 21-10 game.  had Alabama continued its drive form the 17, it would have very likely scored at least three points if not a touchdown; down 14-10 at the time, ‘Bama might have tightened that to 14-13 or gone up by three. In the end, the officials’ mistake didn’t cost Alabama anything more than a successful cover, but such errors are still unacceptable.  There were no major upsets this weekend.  Louisville upended Rutgers to earn a Sugar Bowl berth, Baylor bested Oklahoma State, and Wisconsin decimated Nebraska.  That last one was probably the most surprising game if only because of its one-sided nature. Wisconsin now goes to the Rose Bowl as a five-loss team.  The Badgers are, without a doubt, the worst team ever selected to the BCS given the full set of circumstances.  Wisconsin “won” the Big Ten on Saturday but finished third in the Leaders Division behind Ohio State and Penn State.  The Badgers went 4-4 in a weak Big Ten.  Only the total lack of foresight on the part of the BCS allowed them to represent the conference.  Surely there should have been a rule regarding teams that finish behind ineligible programs.  Numerous schools would have better at large selections, including Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Clemson. Wisconsin joins Connecticut as the only unranked programs to be selected to a BCS bowl, and UConn was, at least, an actual conference champion. But perhaps it’s fitting that the Badgers got in.  After all, their selection highlights the gross inadequacies of this system.  The 2013 BCS bowls will feature: A fundamentally flawed Florida State team that hasn’t looked particularly good since beating Clemson earlier this year; A two-loss Louisville team, from a weak Big East, that barely survived the likes of Southern Miss, South Florida, and FIU; An NIU team whose strength of schedule ranked 211th in FBS and FCS according to the NCAA, and that lost to a bad Iowa squad; and The five-loss Badgers, boasting the most defeats of any BCS team in history.    Here are our updated college football rankings for week 14. Zach Bigalke John Mitchell Matt Strobl 1. Notre Dame 2. Alabama 3. Ohio State 4. Stanford 5. Oregon 6. Kansas State 7. Georgia 8. Florida 9. Northern Illinois 10. Texas A&M 11. Oklahoma 12. LSU 13. Utah State 14. Florida State 15. Kent State 16. Boise State 17. South Carolina 18. Oregon State 19. Louisville 20. Clemson 21. Northwestern 22. Tulsa 23. San Jose State 24. Arkansas State 25. Wisconsin 1. Notre Dame 2. Alabama 3. Ohio State 4. Florida 5. Oregon 6. Georgia 7. Kansas State 8. LSU 9. Stanford 10. Texas A&M 11. South Carolina 12. Oklahoma 13. Florida State 14. Clemson 15. Northern Illinois 16. Oregon State 17. Utah State 18. Northwestern 19. Louisville 20. UCLA 21. Michigan 22. Vanderbilt 23. San Jose State 24. Nebraska 25. Kent State 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Notre Dame 4. Florida 5. Oregon 6. Kansas State 7. LSU 8. Georgia 9. Stanford 10. Texas A&M 11. South Carolina 12. Florida State 13. Clemson 14. Oklahoma 15. Northern Illinois 16. Oregon State 17. Utah State 18. San Jose State 19. Louisville 20. Vanderbilt 21. UCLA 22. Nebraska 23. Michigan 24. Northwestern 25. Penn State Bigalke: 1-10: Time for final assessments before the bowls. Notre Dame, eligible and undefeated, claims my top spot. Alabama moves to #2 on my ballot after winning the SEC. Ohio State, undefeated but ineligible, isn’t quite these two teams’ caliber. Pac-12 champion Stanford moves ahead of the team they beat, Oregon. Kansas State claims the Big XII’s Fiesta Bowl bid by beating Texas. Georgia slides two spots from last week after losing to Tide. They’re just ahead of Florida, who they beat head-to-head. MAC champ Northern Illinois is a legit top-ten team, and SHOULD be BCS bound (though it likely won’t happen) [Editor's note- NIU was selected to the Orange Bowl]. Rounding out the top ten is Texas A&M, among the hottest teams of November in their first SEC season. 11-20: Oklahoma claimed a share of the Big XII title and will either get BCS at-large berth… or get BCS Busted by the Huskies. LSU sits in the #12 spot, right ahead of WAC champion Utah State. Florida State hung on to win a weird ACC championship and are headed to the Orange Bowl. Kent State falls six spots after losing to NIU, but they are still one of the 15 best this year. I’ve got MWC co-champion Boise State ahead of South Carolina after the Broncos survived Nevada. Oregon State beat Nicholls State to set up a potential 10-win season, Louisville claimed the Big East’s BCS berth, and Clemson enjoyed another season of double-digit victories to complete the top 20. 21-25: Northwestern celebrates another strong season and should get a nice warm-weather bowl berth. Tulsa beat UCF for the second time in three weeks for the C-USA crown on Saturday. San Jose State finished strong in their final WAC season, and Arkansas State crushed Middle Tennessee for the Sun Belt title. Rounding out the top 25 is a Wisconsin team that crushed Nebraska for the Big Ten title to book their third straight trip to Pasadena.   Mitchell: 1-10: Alabama survived an SEC Championship thriller for the ages in Atlanta as they beat Georgia 32-28 to advance to the National Championship game. There isn’t much of a change this week in the Top 10. I struggled with the Florida or Georgia comparison on which team should be ranked ahead of the other and get the conference’s 2nd BCS bid. I see both sides of it. Georgia won the head-to-head meeting at a neutral site, and it is hard to penalize them for having to play an extra game. But, head-to-head only means so much, and the Gators have the best resume of any one loss team in the country. 11-20: I’m pretty disgusted with Florida State right now, as they barely beat 6-7 Georgia Tech to advance to the Orange Bowl, and they drop a spot because of it. Oklahoma jumps up to the 12, but they miss out on a BCS Bowl game as Northern Illinois busts the BCS from the MAC. The Huskies survived an overtime thriller in the MAC Title game over Kent State. Another non-BCS team, Utah State, slides in two spots behind Northern Illinois separated by Oregon State. Louisville took the Big East with a win over Rutgers led by a gritty performance from Teddy Bridgewater, and UCLA lost to Stanford again, but the Bruins came up just short in their bid for the Rose Bowl. 21-25: Nebraska was flat out embarrassed by Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, allowing the Badgers to run up 70 points on them. I really struggled with keeping them in, but they barely hang on to a spot in the Top-25 at #24. Michigan, Vanderbilt, and San Jose State benefit from the Huskers struggles. Kent State hangs on to a spot in the Top-25 despite losing to Northern Illinois. The Flashes proved they were among the 25 best in the nation even though they came up just short in getting to a BCS Bowl. Strobl: 1-10: Alabama proved itself on the field and earned my number one slot, bumping the banned Buckeyes to second.  Notre Dame comes in third but will get a chance to play for a title in a game I don’t think will be close.  Oregon and Florida finish off a strong top five with Kansas State on their heels.  The Wildcats won the Big 12 with a rebound game against Texas.  The best of the SEC and the Pac 12 champs Stanford complete the top ten.   11-20: South Carolina still starts this second group.  The best of the ACC, which really isn’t saying much at all given the state of that league, follow the Gamecocks and precede Big 12 runner up Oklahoma.  MAC champion Northern Illinois hasn’t lost since a one-point loss to Iowa in week one.  The Beavers and the best of the WAC are next and Louisville and a surprising Vandy team finish the top 20.   21-25: UCLA finishes its season with two straight losses to Stanford, though there’s no shame in that.  The Cardinal proved to be a very good team and are still my biggest what-if of the season after that screw job in South Bend.  The Big Ten sneaks in at the end here.  It was a weak year for the conference, and the BCS gets exactly what it deserves with five-loss Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.  Nebraska had the opportunity, but gave perhaps the worst showing in ‘Husker history in Indy.
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