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.