Baylor and Oregon’s on-field losses turned into Clemson and Auburn’s poll gain.
Clemson and Auburn each moved up two spots and into the Top Five of the USA Today coaches’ poll, the former to No. 4 and the latter to No. 5. The ACC Tigers are back in the Top Five for the first time since their Week 8 loss to Florida State, while the SEC Tigers are back in that group for the first time since winning the BCS title following the 2010 season.
Those two teams were on a bye (Auburn) and beat an FCS team (Citadel) and moved up a pair of spots apiece. Oklahoma State beat the No. 3 team in the country by 32 points and moved up the same two spots, from No. 9 to No. 7. For a reason why such a win didn’t carry more weight than a weekend off and a glorified scrimmage, you’d have to ask the
football support staff sports information department coaches.
The slotting of the Cowboys is particularly curious when you consider the team they blew out, Baylor, dropped just five and into the No. 8 spot right behind OSU. Oregon, though, took a serious hit for the egg they laid against Arizona, exiting Week 13 at No. 12 after entering it No. 5.
The first three teams remain unchanged from a week ago: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Florida State and No. 3 Ohio State. The first-place votes remained the same from last week as well, with the Tide claiming 56 and the Seminoles the other six. The Buckeyes actually gained ground on the ‘Noles, closing the gap between second and third from 83 points after Week 12 to 60 after Week 13. Barring an FSU loss, however, it’s inconceivable OSU would leapfrog them into the No. 2 hole prior to the release of the final BCS standings early next month.
The remainder of the Top 10 consists of No. 6 Missouri, No. 9 South Carolina and No. 10 Stanford, all up two positions from their standing a week ago.
Fresno State received a boost to its BCS-busting hopes, climbing deeper into the Top 16 to No. 13 (from No. 16) and on the verge of a Top-12 spot that, if it’s mirrored by the final BCS rankings, would guarantee the Bulldogs a BCS bowl. Fellow BCS buster hopeful Northern Illinois inched up a spot to No. 20. Along with the top three teams in the coaches’ poll, those two teams are the only remaining unbeatens at the FBS level.
UCF is No. 19, the lowest-ranked of the projected winners of the six automatic-qualifying conferences. If UCF remains outside the Top 16, the highest-ranked non-AQ school inside that number would receive a BCS berth without having to worry about a Top-12 placement.
LSU and Arizona State are the biggest upward movers of the week, with each climbing four positions. The Tigers are now at No. 15 and the Sun Devils at No. 18.
LSU is also the highest-ranked three-loss team, while South Carolina is the highest-ranked two-loss squad.
An SEC team, though, also took the biggest hit of the week. Texas A&M, No. 10 a week ago, took a precipitous drop to No. 21. UCLA was another big rankings loser, going from No. 14 to No. 22.
Cincinnati is the only new addition to the coaches’ Top 25, coming in at No. 25. Minnesota, which debuted last week at No. 23, dropped out.