College Football Rankings, Week 12: The AP Remains Slightly Rational, the Coaches Poll Remains a Disgrace

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

I don't know what to say about the coaches poll anymore, except that it is almost bad enough to say that it's undermining the sport

Surprising no one, Florida State has now become the team to beat in the polls for those who are telling everyone that "WE WANT BAMA." (Note: This did not go well for Oregon.) Beyond that, it's Ohio State and then Baylor, and then a lot of teams that have no chance unless all of them take a loss.

First, the AP poll, because it is not an insult to the idea that human beings are capable of rational thought.

Rank Team Record Votes Previous
1 Alabama (56) 9-0 1,472 1
2 Florida State (3) 9-0 1,418 3
3 Ohio State 9-0 1,310 4
4 Baylor 8-0 1,303 5
5 Stanford 8-1 1,272 6
6 Oregon 8-1 1,139 2
7 Auburn 9-1 1,109 7
8 Clemson 8-1 1,049 8
9 Missouri 9-1 1,012 9
10 Texas A&M 8-2 909 11
11 South Carolina 7-2 857 13
12 Oklahoma State 8-1 780 15
13 UCLA 7-2 669 16
14 Michigan State 8-1 633 18
15 UCF 7-1 596 19
16 Fresno State 9-0 588 17
17 Wisconsin 7-2 503 21
18 LSU 7-3 470 10
19 Louisville 8-1 467 20
20 Northern Illinois 9-0 396 22
21 Arizona State 7-2 362 23
22 Oklahoma 7-2 285 12
23 Texas 7-2 185 NR
24 Miami (FL) 7-2 121 14
25 Georgia 6-3 78 NR
Others Receiving Votes: Mississippi 68, Minnesota 60, Nebraska 16, Duke 11, USC 10, Washington 9, Ball State 7, Virginia Tech 5, Brigham Young 3, Notre Dame 2, Houston 1

Ooh, Georgia, you decided to rejoin us. That puts the SEC back at seven teams in the Top 25, or half the league being among the best fifth (give or take) of teams in the country. That's also well more than any other conference in the nation, with the Big 12 claiming four spots, the Pac-12 taking four, the ACC getting three, the B1G with three, and everyone else with two or fewer ranked teams. Also, Ole Miss looks like the next team in, but it might simply replace Georgia if the Dawgs lose to Auburn.

In the Top 10, there are now four SEC teams, with the only real difference being that Texas A&M takes the spot being vacated by LSU. Barring another loss by Clemson or Oregon, that might be as high as the SEC can get right now. Otherwise, the only way South Carolina gets into the Top 10 is with a loss by Mizzou or A&M, which is just a one-for-one swap. (That's likely to take care of itself one way or the other, with either Missouri or Texas A&M bound to lose the last week of the season while South Carolina plays Clemson.)

There's not too much notably bad here. UCF is now four spots ahead of Louisville, which is as it should be. Oklahoma and Texas are ranked -- hahahahahahahahahaha -- but that will take care of itself in Texas' case when (not if) the Longhorns start to lose again. Oklahoma also has to go to Kansas State and Oklahoma State, so my guess is that the Sooners will have a hard time remaining ranked as well.

Now, it's time for our annual trip to the land where people ignore football while pretending to pay attention to it, the coaches poll. Which has become an embarrassment to the sport.

RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS FIRST PLACE VOTES PREVIOUS RANK CHANGE HI/LOW
1 Alabama
Crimson Tide
9-0 1546 58 1 1/1
2 Florida State
Seminoles
9-0 1485 4 3 1 2/12
3 Ohio State
Buckeyes
9-0 1401 0 4 1 2/4
4 Baylor
Bears
8-0 1376 0 5 1 4/NR
5 Stanford
Cardinal
8-1 1307 0 6 1 4/13
6 Clemson
Tigers
8-1 1164 0 7 1 4/10
7 Oregon
Ducks
8-1 1162 0 2 -5 2/7
8 Missouri
Tigers
9-1 1083 0 9 1 7/NR
9 Auburn
Tigers
9-1 1069 0 10 1 9/NR
10 Oklahoma State
Cowboys
8-1 965 0 11 1 10/20
11 Texas A&M
Aggies
8-2 898 0 13 2 6/15
12 South Carolina
Gamecocks
7-2 830 0 15 3 6/20
13 Louisville
Cardinals
8-1 653 0 16 3 6/17
14 Fresno State
Bulldogs
9-0 646 0 17 3 14/NR
15 UCLA
Bruins
7-2 641 0 18 3 10/21
16 Michigan State
Spartans
8-1 620 0 19 3 16/NR
17 Oklahoma
Sooners
7-2 510 0 8 -9 8/18
18 LSU
Tigers
7-3 476 0 12 -6 6/18
19 Central Florida
Knights
7-1 468 0 21 2 19/NR
20 Wisconsin
Badgers
7-2 460 0 22 2 18/NR
21 Northern Illinois
Huskies
9-0 445 0 20 -1 20/NR
22 Arizona State
Sun Devils
7-2 262 0 24 2 22/NR
23 Miami
Hurricanes
7-2 228 0 14 -9 6/NR
24 Texas
Longhorns
7-2 176 0 NR 15/NR
25 Minnesota
Golden Gophers
8-2 91 0 NR 25/NR

If I were a beat reporter right now and the coach I was covering voted in the poll, I would have two questions for them every week: Did you put Louisville ahead of UCF on your ballot this week? And if so, what does Central Florida have to do to convince you that they deserve to be ranked ahead of the Cardinals?

Because there is no rationale that I can come up with to justify keeping Louisville ahead of UCF at this point. If you're a resume voter, UCF's resume is stronger than Louisville's. If you're a power poll voter, UCF beat Louisville at Louisville, and its only other loss is by one score to a team (South Carolina) that is ranked higher than Louisville. Again, I don't disagree with the idea that you can rank a team behind a team it beat if there's a reason to do so -- but with UCF-Louisville, there is simply no reason to do so.

And this counts. The credibility of the polls in general and the coaches poll in particular counts this year, because it still factors into the BCS, and even in the BCS-less future, because the polls help set the narrative for the season for casual fans. And yet some of the coaches are apparently treating this like it's a joke. But then, perhaps this is just par for the course at this point.

Moving along. The SEC has just three teams in the Top 10 here, with Texas A&M joining South Carolina in teams failing to make the cut. (Though if South Carolina scheduling a bye week is worth two spots in the AP poll and three in the coaches survey, perhaps the Gamecocks should schedule more byes.) And the conference is at six teams in the poll overall. But at least the Texas team that needed overtime to beat West Virginia is ranked, because it would be a tragedy if it wasn't.

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