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SEC maintains stranglehold on Top 10 of final coaches’ poll

Jimbo Fisher Reuters

The SEC may have seen its run of BCS titles come to an end Friday night in Pasadena, but the most dominant conference in college football over the past several seasons was still very well represented in the final USA Today coaches’ poll of the 2013 season.

As expected, Florida State capped off its unbeaten season with a unanimous No. 1 ranking while Auburn, which fell just short of a fairytale end to its dream season, was No. 2.  The Seminoles began 2013 ranked No. 12 by the coaches, cracking the Top Five in mid-October and moving into the top spot the first week of December thanks to Alabama’s loss in the Iron Bowl.  The Tigers, on the other hand, received as many preseason votes as I did (none) and didn’t move into the Top Five until the poll after Week 13 and one week prior to its upset of the Tide.

The Tigers were one of four teams from the SEC to finish in the coaches’ Top Ten, joined by No. 4 South Carolina, No. 5 Missouri and No. 8 Alabama.  No. 14 LSU, No. 18 Texas A&M and No. 23 Vanderbilt gave the SEC seven teams in the Top 25, the most of any conference in the country.  The Pac-12 placed five teams in the Top 25, while the Big Ten finished with four.  For the first time since at least 2001, no team from a non-automatic qualifying conference was ranked in the final coaches’ poll.

Below are the highest-rated teams from all six conferences represented:

AAC: UCF (No. 12)
ACC: Florida State (No. 1)
Big Ten Michigan State (No. 3)
Big 12: Oklahoma (No. 6)
Pac-12: Oregon (No. 9)
SEC: Auburn (No. 2)

Baylor took the biggest tumble since the last poll, dropping eight spots to No. 13 thanks to its Fiesta Bowl loss to UCF.  Alabama (No. 8) and Ohio State (T-No. 10) fell five and four spots, respectively coming off their BCS bowl losses.  South Carolina, Missouri, Oklahoma and Clemson (No. 7) each moved up four spots from last month.

Stanford, tied with the Buckeyes at No. 10, is the highest-ranked three-loss team, while A&M at No. 18 is the highest-rated four-loss team.  UCF and Louisville (No. 15), both from the AAC, are the lowest-rated one-loss teams.

Final 2013 Coaches' Poll

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49 Responses to “SEC maintains stranglehold on Top 10 of final coaches’ poll”
  1. mydixienormus says: Jan 7, 2014 11:59 AM

    When will the SEC start playing 9 conference games like the PAC 12?

    Oh ya. Never…

  2. rsoandb says: Jan 7, 2014 12:00 PM

    If Mizzu and SC weren’t in the SEC, they wouldn’t be ranked so high…more SEC bias.

  3. babyfarkmcgeezax says: Jan 7, 2014 12:10 PM

    Not to mention, considering their dominance this season, if Florida State came from the SEC all the media outlets (especially ESPN) would be debating non-stop for the next few days about whether they were the greatest college football team of all time.

    But since patsies from the ACC don’t get ranked in the preseason Top 25 before even stepping on the field like some SEC slouches do, Florida State doesn’t get the benefit of the media calling wins or losses against teams like NC State and Virginia “quality” like what happens in the SEC.

  4. onlyoneleft says: Jan 7, 2014 12:14 PM

    rsoandb says:
    Jan 7, 2014 12:00 PM
    “If Mizzu and SC weren’t in the SEC, they wouldn’t be ranked so high…more SEC bias.”

    Absolutely. SC was beat by two unranked teams, one of which had the snot beaten out of them by
    Oregon.

  5. buckeye1nation says: Jan 7, 2014 12:17 PM

    How does a 2 loss Aurbun team, that lost it’s bowl game,and the other loss was to rank above a 1 loss Michigan State team that won it’s bowl game (over the #10 ranked team)? Oklahoma, which beat the eventual # 8 team is ranked below South Carolina (beat an unranked team) and Missouri (beat the eventual #17 team)?

    Can someone please explain this to me?
    1. FSU
    2. Michigan State
    3.Oklahoma
    4. Missouri
    5. Auburn

  6. onlyoneleft says: Jan 7, 2014 12:20 PM

    buckeye, i agree.

  7. villain612 says: Jan 7, 2014 12:20 PM

    ^Spot on Top 5

    Michigan State should be Number 2.

    Oklahoma won their conference and put a beat down on Alabama – how are they not higher than 6th?

  8. Deb says: Jan 7, 2014 12:23 PM

    ROFLOL … the whining in here is almost deafening. :D

    Shout-out to my alma mater Mizzou for a great showing this year. Disappointing season for my Tide, but glad to see we still finished in the top 10. Congrats to Auburn on an amazing turnaround from last season, and to the Ol’ Ball Coach for a great season and just for being the most entertaining guy in the business (along with Mike Leach). Kudos to Vandy!

  9. fatcamper says: Jan 7, 2014 12:27 PM

    UCF’s fans suck, the campus is disgusting, the stadium is a joke, and their uniforms are ugly.

    That said, the team deserved a final ranking in the top ten. Baylor beat up on OU like it was their job back in November, and UCF won a shoot out with Baylor. As much respect as we all have for ‘Bama, I can’t see a good reason why they and OU are ahead of UCF. UCF had a great year and Bortles played fantastically.

    signed: Jealous USF fan

  10. buckeye1nation says: Jan 7, 2014 12:32 PM

    @Deb–I don’t really think it is whining, I think it genuine questioning of the rankings. I would love to hear the logic behind your feelings that the Top 5 is accurate.

  11. midtec2005 says: Jan 7, 2014 12:39 PM

    Lets start where the OU fans left off…

    OVERRATED… OVERRATED…

    Oh yeah, Mich St. should be #2. With that defense they might just have beaten FSU too.

  12. thekingdave says: Jan 7, 2014 12:49 PM

    Lol @Deb

    Yes, because the moment Missouri had the SEC patch sewn on their jersey they instantly transformed from a consistent middle of the pack Big 12 team into an SEC power. Right…

  13. oldforester says: Jan 7, 2014 12:54 PM

    Are all of you tired of the “story lines” created by ESPN and other sports network departments like I am? It’s the same story over and over and over, like that damned Seminole chant or USC’s band playing continuously.

    To the talking heads this: There is little if any difference among the top teams of the top conferences. Alabama just lost two straight. Michigan State and Stanford both played equally. Auburn was beaten by the ACC. Jameis Winston is not Jesus, for God’s sake!!

    For all the testosterone in football, when these ex-jock talking heads get behind that ESPN desk they dish out the corporate story lines like a pharmaceutical rep selling Viagra. For you ex jocks, from an ex corporate world exec., remember that most of the time your marketing people know very little of what is important going on in the “trenches”. They are vested in selling the story they developed, not the real ones. Pick up the ball and give us something better!!

  14. jbaxt says: Jan 7, 2014 12:54 PM

    Mizzou lost to #2 and #4, they aren’t deserving of #5? They beat everyone else and a FG away from beating #4. Speaking if biased, look in the mirror.

  15. Deb says: Jan 7, 2014 1:05 PM

    @buckeye1nation …

    My comment on whining doesn’t apply to those who pose genuine questions based on an individual team’s win/loss record, but to those ranting about the SEC. Conspiracy theories undermine credibility. Whatever financial stake ESPN may or may not have in the SEC, ESPN does not have a role in deciding the rankings for the coaches poll. People who are determined to negate the accomplishments of any team in the Southeastern Conference simply because they want to believe the conference is overhyped are being as ridiculous as those who may be overhyping the conference. Usually the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    These rankings aren’t based on total wins and losses. They’re based on what’s happened since the last rankings were issued prior to the bowl games. So what teams did early in the season is irrelevant. We all know–or should by now–that early-season losses are often forgiven and forgotten by season’s end.

    After an early loss at LSU, by season’s end, Auburn was ranked #2, a powerhouse defeating all comers. They lost in the final minute, by three points, to a highly favored #1 in the title game. Of course, the Tigers are ranked #2–and would be regardless of conference. Michigan State’s #3 ranking is self-explanatory.

    Why is South Carolina ranked #4 while Baylor is ranked #13 when both have two losses? The main reason is that SC won their bowl game while Baylor went down in flames to UCF. But strength of schedule also played a role. Georgia was ranked at the time South Carolina lost to them.

    And look at UCF’s overall strength of schedule compared with Alabama’s and Oklahoma’s. UCF was ranked #15 (BCS) going into the bowl. Alabama was ranked #3, Oklahoma #11. After going undefeated all season, Alabama lost to Auburn on a fluke play in the closing second. The Tide lost to Oklahoma on a turnover in the closing minute. Oklahoma was boosted by the force of its defensive performance over the then #3 Tide. Coaches would consider that more impressive than UCF beating Baylor.

    Mizzou was the last undefeated team in the SEC East and gave Auburn a good game in the SEC Championship. The Tigers were ranked #8 (BCS) coming into the bowl and beat #13 Oklahoma State in a thriller.

    These coaches are from all across the nation. It’s ridiculous to think they have an SEC bias. You’ll probably see slightly different rankings in the AP and BCS polls. But the rankings are based on strength of schedule and late-season performance.

  16. longtallsam says: Jan 7, 2014 1:10 PM

    villain612 says: Jan 7, 2014 12:20 PM
    Oklahoma won their conference and put a beat down on Alabama – how are they not higher than 6th?

    Hmm…I thought Baylor won that conference? To finish 6th after finishing 2nd in a ten team conference is pretty good. And OK moved up four spots. I don’t think anyone moved up more than that.

  17. dgbk says: Jan 7, 2014 1:11 PM

    Mich. st should be number 2 but let’s not act like they’re ranked number 7. To be honest it doesn’t mean much FSU is number 1 everyone else is number 2 this yr. these rankings won’t matter much come next fall.

    Fans of non sec schools whine when sec teams win whine when sec teams lose. Sheesh give it a rest auburn lost your prayers have finally after 7 yrs been answered.

  18. pastabelly says: Jan 7, 2014 1:20 PM

    There seems to be more parity in college football among schools in the BCS conferences. Somehow that seems to hurt SEC fans feelings. It’s good for college football fans though.

  19. thraiderskin says: Jan 7, 2014 1:28 PM

    I think Bama should be flipped with Clemson and MSU should be tied for 2 with Auburn.

  20. dryzzt23 says: Jan 7, 2014 1:40 PM

    SEC sucks, and it’s about time they were exposed as frauds.

  21. timmons94 says: Jan 7, 2014 1:52 PM

    It took Missouri moving to sec for pinkel to finally beat Oklahoma state. Pinkel is an awful coach. Mizzou will be back to 8-4 soon. 4-0 vs their 4 normal cupcakes

  22. longtallsam says: Jan 7, 2014 1:53 PM

    dryzzt23 says: Jan 7, 2014 1:40 PM
    SEC sucks, and it’s about time they were exposed as frauds.

    No one was happier than me that FSU beat Auburn, I only wish it could have been Bama they were playing and beating.

    But to say the SEC sucks and they are frauds, is a bit much. No one can really deny that, over the past seven or eight years they have been the dominant conference. Their record in the NC game and all the BCS game over the past eight years, proves that.

    And although their two teams in the BCS games this year got beat, they still had the best overall bowl record.

    So, you may argue they were somewhat overrated this year(especially Bama), but they are certainly not frauds.

  23. longtallsam says: Jan 7, 2014 1:59 PM

    thraiderskin says: Jan 7, 2014 1:28 PM
    I think Bama should be flipped with Clemson and MSU should be tied for 2 with Auburn.

    Even as a Clemson fan, I wouldn’t agrue a lot with that, but Bama did lose their last game decisively and deserved to drop several spots; whereas, Clemson defeated the previously 6th ranked team and deserved to move up.

  24. longtallsam says: Jan 7, 2014 2:12 PM

    onlyoneleft says: Jan 7, 2014 12:14 PM
    rsoandb says:
    Jan 7, 2014 12:00 PM
    “If Mizzu and SC weren’t in the SEC, they wouldn’t be ranked so high…more SEC bias.”
    Absolutely. SC was beat by two unranked teams, one of which had the snot beaten out of them by
    Oregon.

    At the time of USC’s loss to UGA, UGA was ranked 5th or 6th, before they had an unbelievable run of injuries.

    USC played six teams that went to bowls, and those teams went 6-0 in the bowls, including 2-0 in BCS games. UCF’s only loss all year was to USC, and Missouri’s only regular season loss was to USC.

    It would be hard to argue that USC wasn’t the best two-loss team, after Auburn.

  25. thraiderskin says: Jan 7, 2014 2:29 PM

    U can’t use “this team beat that team, so that team would lose to this team.” Its faulty logic and ignores the very nature of football. There is a reason you play the games and its the same reason why Texas beat USC or why Ohio State beat Miami or why Florida beat Ohio State. Is anyone going to make the argument that Baylor would crush FSU because they pounded OU, who beat Bama, who barely lost to Auburn, who barely lost to FSU? All these teams can do is play the games in front of them, they do that with the least amount of losses, they deserve a shot at the NC. FSU is the best team in the country, because they did what they had to do.

  26. babyfarkmcgeezax says: Jan 7, 2014 2:30 PM

    “At the time of USC’s loss to UGA, UGA was ranked 5th or 6th, before they had an unbelievable run of injuries.”

    Who cares where UGA was ranked at the time, they have proven to be not that great, certainly not the 5th or 6th best team in the nation, so obviously that ranking was inflated.

  27. thraiderskin says: Jan 7, 2014 2:36 PM

    Good point longtallsam, that is a very reasonable argument. Of course we are talking one spot and out of the top 5.

  28. irishdodger says: Jan 7, 2014 2:42 PM

    Who did TAMU & Vandy beat? And please enough of the injury excuses for Georgia &/or Florida. EVERY team deals with them. Plus, most of UGA’s injuries were on the offensive side of the ball…which wasn’t their problem. Their problem has always been stopping the run which they haven’t done the last two years despite NFL talent.

  29. babyfarkmcgeezax says: Jan 7, 2014 3:33 PM

    Basically the entire SEC gets ranked in the preseason polls, so when a team like SC beats Kentucky or Mississippi State early in the season, they can say “look – we beat a ranked team!!!” even if that team blows. Or if they get upset by one of those lesser teams they can pull out the convenient “quality loss” excuse. Then they can show their might by playing home games against The Citadel and Furman in the weeks they’re not taking on their “gauntlet” of “ranked” conference powerhouses like Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.

  30. microbrewuga says: Jan 7, 2014 3:38 PM

    Irishdodger, I take offense at your comment regarding my Dawgs inability in stopping the run. In actuality, we can’t stop the run OR the pass.

  31. pike573 says: Jan 7, 2014 3:50 PM

    Atleast get the facts straight about Mizzou people. I keep reading on the here “middle of the pack Big 12 team”…

    Mizz’s end of season divisional finishes and final rankings the last 7 years….

    Big 12 North 1st, #4
    B12N 1st, #19
    B12N 2nd, NR
    B12N 1st, #18
    B12N 5th, NR
    SEC East 4th, NR
    SECE 1st, #5

    That “middle of the pack” thing may have been true once but it hasn’t been a reality for a while. They are 85-44 in the last decade and 65-28 with four top 20 finishes and two top 5 finishes over the last seven seasons.

  32. rolltide510 says: Jan 7, 2014 4:42 PM

    It’s amazing how sensitive people get when their football teams keep getting stomped by rednecks.

    I mean, seriously — arguing over an end of season poll that means absolutely nothing, and doing it because you think there’s a conspiracy in place to pump up a conference?

    I thought Big 10 fans had perfected their compensation mechanism of being better people who “do things the right way”. Is that not enough anymore?

  33. longtallsam says: Jan 7, 2014 5:02 PM

    babyfarkmcgeezax says: Jan 7, 2014 2:30 PM
    Who cares where UGA was ranked at the time, they have proven to be not that great, certainly not the 5th or 6th best team in the nation, so obviously that ranking was inflated.

    To not think that injuries, to the extent UGA had them this year, don’t play a major role in a team’s success, or lack of, is just being ignorant.

  34. Deb says: Jan 7, 2014 5:13 PM

    @thraiderskin …

    Based on overall performance this season, I’d agree about switching Clemson and Bama. But Clemson won their bowl game and Bama didn’t. When you’re heavily favored and blow your last public appearance before the final polls are released … you tend to drop in the rankings. No one to blame but ourselves.

  35. suprdok says: Jan 7, 2014 5:14 PM

    At this point who cares. It’s over for another year. There’s a reason it’s been called a mythical championship! And next year it will be a “Faux playoff”! Sort of like ” faux news”!

  36. qckappa says: Jan 7, 2014 5:42 PM

    This ranking reflects the usual bs, if you didn’t win your bowl game you shouldn’t be in the top 10. We need an 8 game playoff, now! That’s only four weeks, the month of 12/05-1/05 as an example. That would be the top 16 and eliminate most biases and include the easily the best and good teams. Stop the bs madness! Do the best and right thing.

  37. rsoandb says: Jan 7, 2014 5:46 PM

    villain612 says:
    Jan 7, 2014 12:20 PM
    ^Spot on Top 5

    Michigan State should be Number 2.

    Oklahoma won their conference and put a beat down on Alabama – how are they not higher than 6th?
    _______________

    OU didn’t win Big12 (Baylor did). Otherwise, they would’ve played UCF in the Fiesta.

  38. rsoandb says: Jan 7, 2014 5:56 PM

    fatcamper says:
    Jan 7, 2014 12:27 PM
    UCF’s fans suck, the campus is disgusting, the stadium is a joke, and their uniforms are ugly.

    That said, the team deserved a final ranking in the top ten. Baylor beat up on OU like it was their job back in November, and UCF won a shoot out with Baylor. As much respect as we all have for ‘Bama, I can’t see a good reason why they and OU are ahead of UCF. UCF had a great year and Bortles played fantastically.

    signed: Jealous USF fan
    __________

    I watched UCF manhandle Baylor and was duly impressed. And yet Baylor falls eight spots while UCF climbs only 3. Sort of implies that Baylor just “had an off day”. This is just more media bias toward teams that are less than “top tier”. Boise State, in spite of having not so good of a season this year, had to beat the crap out of everybody for years before they got a sniff of recognition.

  39. rsoandb says: Jan 7, 2014 6:03 PM

    longtallsam says:
    Jan 7, 2014 1:10 PM
    villain612 says: Jan 7, 2014 12:20 PM
    Oklahoma won their conference and put a beat down on Alabama – how are they not higher than 6th?

    Hmm…I thought Baylor won that conference? To finish 6th after finishing 2nd in a ten team conference is pretty good. And OK moved up four spots. I don’t think anyone moved up more than that.
    ____________

    Given the media’s rant about OU’s win being the biggest upset in the history of college football, OU should’ve won the f$$king NC by default…

  40. rsoandb says: Jan 7, 2014 6:15 PM

    The NCAA today announced a change in the rankings format for determining the national champion. When you lose, you don’t get to play anymore. The last team to lose WINS!! Simple.

  41. rsoandb says: Jan 7, 2014 6:17 PM

    Make that the last team NOT to lose WINS!!

  42. timmons94 says: Jan 7, 2014 6:29 PM

    pike573…

    lololololol

    great stats- ZERO TITLES
    Kansas is kansas, Iowa st stinks, Kansas st went thru Prince years, Huskers went thru tough stretch, Colorado faded into oblivion..
    a lot of hype every year in Columbia, get to Big 12 champ game, and get absolutely spanked…

    look at top 15..sec teams- Auburn-loss, S Carolina- gagging loss, Alabama- didn’t play, LSU-didn’t play…
    u guys beat cupcakes like at Kentucky, Tenn at home, Flor at home, at Ole Miss who is ok, A and M at home, at Georgia who let’s face it, stunk. Vandy on road…wow….and your normal 3 high school teams and your big test- Indiana…wow…
    Mizzou stinks. as long as DUI Pinkel is there, not going to change

  43. mvktr2 says: Jan 7, 2014 6:54 PM

    Second place is a kind way of saying 1st loser. Quit bickering over that which doesn’t matter.

    Hats off to FSU, played with a champions heart and along with Auburn gave the BCS era a fitting farewell!

    Roll Tide! (Bama should struggle by Bama standards next year but will look to win it all in 2015)

  44. ladymcduff says: Jan 7, 2014 10:31 PM

    What team in the top ten beat three 10 win teams (wins at end of regular season) that are all in the top ten after the bowl games.

    Yeah– it was South Carolina! Name at least one other team that did that. I bet you can’t. Oh by the way–all three of those teams won their bowl games.

  45. klownboy says: Jan 7, 2014 10:46 PM

    As big of an ACC guy that I am (NC State grad Class of ’97), I have to admit that the SEC is still the best conference in the land – even if I think the ACC is on the “come up”…

    http://wp.me/p1gCK6-NR

  46. longborer69 says: Jan 8, 2014 7:01 AM

    I get all the arguments. I do. I respect much that South Carolina accomplished this year, particularly their win at Missouri, that’s a big time win on the road against an indisputable top ten team.

    But I saw Oregon absolutely dismantle Tennessee. It was 59-7 after three quarters, Oregon’s starters left halfway through the third.

    Sorry, but I can’t consider any team that lost to Tennessee to be #4, unless you think the team that trampled Tennessee is top five.

    Nor is it easy to believe a team that got thrashed by Texas is really #6, even if they played exceptionally in their bowl game.

    Texas got outscored by Oregon’s DEFENSE. You know, the defense that people like to say is so horrible. But Texas beat Oklahoma. (Oklahoma, of course, also was deconstructed by Baylor, who was exposed in their bowl game).

  47. chillyphil73 says: Jan 8, 2014 4:49 PM

    I find many of the “arguments” on here anything but factual, and quite funny to boot. Guys, the SEC is the best conference still because we went 7-3 in bowl games. Georgia lost to Nebraska, Alabama lost to Oklahoma, and of course, Auburn lsot to Florida St. Anybody who has watched football for at least 5 years or more should be able to acknowledge that injuries can decimate a team over the course of a season. Take Georgia, for instance. They started the season as a legitimate national title contender. They played Clemson in Death Valley and barely lost in the final minute or so 35-38. Go back and watch that game if you think I’m lying. They then beat two very quality schools in the Top Ten in LSU and South Carolina. They suffered numerous injuries though, throughout the first 5 weeks and by the time they beat USC, they were extremely depleted on their offense and defense. It only got worse as the season wore on, because they were playing backups and reserves who normally would have spelled the starters during games, so their was no one to relieve them during games. You can’t tell me that the team that lost to Nebraska in a bowl game was the same one who barely lost to Clemson in Death Valley. As for Alabama, it’s really quite simple- lack of motivation! You’re talking about a school that was poised to make history (possibly) by going for a third Nat’l Championship in a row, only to loose in a most unbelieveable manner. Their hearts just weren’t in that game. A clear indicator of this was the interceptions by A.J. McCarron. He threw 7 interceptions all season up to the SEC Championship game. Then he goes and throws 2 in the Sugar Bowl alone, and probably should’ve had a couple more picked off. This happened to Alabama after the 2008 season in the 2009 Sugar Bowl loss to Utah 31-17. They just plain didn’t show up! auburn lost to FSU, and yet they were in it until the end. A couple of miscues on defense on that last FSU drive may have sealed tehir fate. Letting Williams of FSU split the two defenders on a quick slant for 48 yds to me was the key play of that drive. However, they lost to a SLIGHTLY better FSU team. Period! Considering that Auburn wasn’t that much better, if at all than: Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, or TAMU, to me indicates the depth of the SEC week in and week out. To say that FSU would’ve gone undefeated in the SEC, let alone dominated the way they did in the ACC is ludicrous. Those of you who feel the SEC is overrated, just aren’t looking at the facts. And, is it the SEC’s faught that other schools when given the chance to play in the BCS title game have come up whoafully short like OSU this year, USC and Oklahoma a few years back! When you look at the number of players the SEC has put in the NFL since 2000 compared to any other league, it isn’t even close. You look at the recruiting blogs, and the SEC usually has 2 or 3 in the Top 5, 5 or 6 in the Top 12, and 9 or 10 in the Top 25. Year, after year, after year. The high school kids want to go where the best talent is to see where they stack up, and where they need to improve to make it to the NFL. Just saying!

  48. longtallsam says: Jan 9, 2014 2:23 AM

    The one team that should really complain about their final ranking is UCF. Their only loss was by three to 4th ranked USC, they handed Louisville their only loss, and whipped up on Baylor, the Big 12 champ, in their bowl game. For all this, they couldn’t crack the top 10. That is ludicrous.

  49. longtallsam says: Jan 9, 2014 2:38 AM

    qckappa says: Jan 7, 2014 5:42 PM
    This ranking reflects the usual bs, if you didn’t win your bowl game you shouldn’t be in the top 10.

    Hmm…so Auburn, who barely lost to FSU in the NC game, should drop completely out of the top ten because of that loss? That’s pretty harsh!

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