It took 15 weeks worth of games and 16 polls, but there’s finally some unanimity among coaches as to who is the best team in the country in 2013.
In the penultimate USA Today coaches’ poll released Sunday afternoon, Florida State, the only remaining undefeated team at the FBS level, was ranked No. 1 on all 62 of the ballots cast by the coaches involved in this year’s poll. The Seminoles claimed 58 first-place votes last week, Ohio State four.
With a loss that snapped its winning streak at 24 straight, the Buckeyes dropped four to No. 6. That’s OSU’s lowest showing of the 2013 season, which began with the Buckeyes ranked No. 2 in both the coaches’ and Associated Press‘ polls behind No. 1 Alabama. The Tide moved up to No. 3 from No. 4 thanks to the Buckeyes’ loss.
As expected, one-loss Auburn, which claimed its first SEC title since 2010 Saturday a week after its stunning last-second win over season-long No. 1 ‘Bama, slid into both the No. 2 slot and an unofficial spot in the BCS championship game. Missouri, which came into the SEC title game No. 5, exited at No. 9.
After handing the Buckeyes its first loss since the 2011 postseason, Michigan State jumped four spots to No. 4. That tied for the second-biggest upward climb of the week along with Texas A&M (No. 25 to No. 21). Oklahoma, coming off a road win over Oklahoma State that could very well put it in a BCS bowl, jumped from No. 15 to No. 10. The Cowboys fell seven to No. 13 after the loss, the biggest tumble of the weekend.
The rest of the Top Ten consists of Baylor (No. 5, from No. 7), Stanford (No. 7, from No. 10) and South Carolina (No. 8, from No. 7).
Since an Oct. 18 win over then-unbeaten Louisville, UCF — whose only loss this season was to the Gamecocks — has been consistently ranked behind the Cardinals in the coaches’ Top 25 despite the head-to-head win and both carrying just a single loss. Magically, the Knights leapfrogged the Cardinals in the final poll of the regular season. Better late than never on the accountability front, I guess.
Georgia (No. 24) and Miami (No. 25) are the only new entrants after Week 15, replacing No. 23 Cincinnati and No. 24 Texas.
Of course, the SEC led all conferences with seven teams in the Top 25, with the ACC and Pac-12 next with four apiece. The Big Ten and Big 12 each had three teams represented.