College Football Rankings: SEC Teams Move Up; FSU Cuts Gap; UCF Still Can't Get Justice

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

There's not much to see here when it comes to the SEC -- just some modest improvement in the rankings -- but there's plenty to talk about when it comes to FSU vs. Oregon and UCF vs. Louisville -- which was sort of decided by a game. We thought

This stood to be a good week in the polls for a few of the SEC teams -- not because any of the games with ranked teams were a surprise, but because they weren't. Combine that with losses by teams like MIami, and you have the potential for upward movement.

We will start, as is our custom, with the AP poll. Why? Because i like to show what rational human beings do before going onto the coaches poll.

Rank Team Record Votes Previous
1 Alabama (52) 8-0 1,491 1
2 Oregon (2) 8-0 1,418 2
3 Florida State (6) 8-0 1,409 3
4 Ohio State 9-0 1,315 4
5 Baylor 7-0 1,234 5
6 Stanford 7-1 1,214 6
7 Auburn 8-1 1,082 8
8 Clemson 8-1 1,059 9
9 Missouri 8-1 956 10
10 LSU 7-2 863 11
11 Texas A&M 7-2 861 12
12 Oklahoma 7-1 816 13
13 South Carolina 7-2 769 14
14 Miami (FL) 7-1 737 7
15 Oklahoma State 7-1 662 18
16 UCLA 6-2 515 17
17 Fresno State 8-0 493 16
18 Michigan State 8-1 478 24
19 UCF 6-1 472 19
20 Louisville 7-1 385 20
21 Wisconsin 6-2 342 22
22 Northern Illinois 9-0 322 21
23 Arizona State 6-2 197 25
24 Notre Dame 7-2 164 NR
25 Texas Tech 7-2 102 15
Others Receiving Votes: Texas 34, Georgia 32, Brigham Young 28, Mississippi 17, Houston 9, Minnesota 7, Michigan 6, Washington 6, Ball State 4, Duke 1

Florida State steals some first-place votes here from Alabama and Oregon, which would be important if the coaches and Harris polls follow suit. (We'll talk in a moment about the coaches, but the Harris poll is still not out yet, so we have to read tea leaves.) Remember, the BCS standings aren't a straight-up averaging of the positions. The human component is based on how many points you get from the human voters, so anything that gives the Seminoles more points vis a vis Oregon helps in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 race. However, Oregon still has most of its chances to impress the humans and the computers ahead of it, so the edge in the race for the second spot in the BCS title game goes to the Ducks until they lose.

As for the SEC, we're back to four teams in the Top 10 thanks to Miami dropping out and bumping LSU back into the rankings. That sets up Alabama-LSU as a Top 10 matchup, which restores a little of the luster that the game could lose given that the Bayou Bengals are a third wheel in the SEC West race. Texas A&M and South Carolina also move a little bit closer as the Hurricanes fall seven spots for losing by about what everyone expected them to lose by.

Notre Dame is your only new entry here, which means that Georgia and Ole Miss are still on the outside looking in. And Georgia is behind Texas, because, WHEEE SHINY OBJECTS AND WE ALL LOVE MACK BROWN FOR NO REAL REASON! Florida, in a move that should surprise no one, drops completely out of the list of teams receiving votes.

Now, the coaches. Put on your not-thinking caps if you really want to understand them.

RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS FIRST PLACE VOTES PREVIOUS RANK CHANGE HI/LOW
1 Alabama
Crimson Tide
8-0 1540 54 1 1/1
2 Oregon
Ducks
8-0 1475 5 2 2/3
3 Florida State
Seminoles
8-0 1436 3 3 3/12
4 Ohio State
Buckeyes
9-0 1369 0 4 2/4
5 Baylor
Bears
7-0 1299 0 5 5/NR
6 Stanford
Cardinal
7-1 1222 0 7 1 4/13
7 Clemson
Tigers
8-1 1121 0 8 1 4/10
8 Oklahoma
Sooners
7-1 971 0 9 1 8/18
9 Missouri
Tigers
8-1 961 0 10 1 7/NR
10 Auburn
Tigers
8-1 959 0 11 1 10/NR
11 Oklahoma State
Cowboys
7-1 864 0 12 1 11/20
12 LSU
Tigers
7-2 835 0 13 1 6/13
13 Texas A&M
Aggies
7-2 800 0 14 1 6/15
14 Miami
Hurricanes
7-1 747 0 6 -8 6/NR
15 South Carolina
Gamecocks
7-2 722 0 16 1 6/20
16 Louisville
Cardinals
7-1 569 0 17 1 6/17
17 Fresno State
Bulldogs
8-0 567 0 18 1 17/NR
18 UCLA
Bruins
6-2 494 0 19 1 10/21
19 Michigan State
Spartans
8-1 446 0 24 5 19/NR
20 Northern Illinois
Huskies
9-0 409 0 20 20/NR
21 Central Florida
Knights
6-1 340 0 22 1 21/NR
22 Wisconsin
Badgers
6-2 333 0 23 1 18/NR
23 Texas Tech
Red Raiders
7-2 217 0 15 -8 9/NR
24 Arizona State
Sun Devils
6-2 130 0 NR 23/NR
25 Notre Dame
Fighting Irish
7-2 108 0 25 11/NR

Here, the Seminoles pick up three first-place votes -- they had none last week -- and take a net of one from the Ducks. Brad Edwards reportedly told ESPN last night that Florida State could pass Oregon again in this week's BCS standings. I'm generally inclined to listen to Edwards more than other BCS gurus, and after seeing these numbers, I'm really inclined to agree with him. But, overall, the year-end rankings should favor the Ducks more.

LSU is still stuck just outside the Top 10 here. I'm not going to complain too much about Oklahoma State staying ahead of them, because the Cowboys did beat a Texas Tech team that is ranked, even if it shouldn't be, while LSU had a bye. But the Oklahoma ranking strikes me as a bit curious. They beat Texas Tech by less than Oklahoma State, beat Notre Dame by 14 and lost by 16 to Texas. I'm not sure I see that as No. 8-worthy. Texas A&M and South Carolina inch up, with the Miami fall just short enough to keep the Gamecocks from moving up two places. But they're back in the Top 15.

And Louisville remains five spots ahead of Central Florida, for no discernible reason. It makes no sense. The strength of schedule is probably in UCF's favor, especially since their road non-conference win against a BCS AQ team came against a team not named "Kentucky." Their home loss is to South Carolina by three. Louisville's home loss is also by three -- but it's against UCF. And for that, Louisville is not just ahead of Central Florida, but it's clear by five full spots. We're no longer talking here about whether or not the coaches or sports information directors are watching games other than their own, we're talking about whether they're even aware of what's going on this year in college football. Fortunately, UCF's place in the BCS will be determined entirely by whether it wins its conference, which is unlikely to be a matter of the polls. But when it comes to other teams that depend on an informed coaches poll electorate, they should all be worried.

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