College football viewer, you might have seen nothing impressive in Alabama's defeat of Western Carolina. But the voters in the USA Today coaches poll saw it as the sign of a true champion. At least, a larger minority than last week saw it as the sign of a true champion. Or maybe they saw Florida State being one errant kick away from overtime against Boston College and thought that wasn't the sign of a true champion. Yeah, it might be the latter.
|1||Florida State (37)
||2||Florida State (30)
|3||Oregon (2)||3||Oregon (6)
|4||Mississippi State||4||Mississippi State||4|
|7||Ohio State||7||Ohio State||7|
|11||Kansas State||12||Kansas State||11|
|13||Arizona State||13||Arizona State||14|
|21||Colorado State||22||Colorado State||23|
|25||Boise State||NR||Boise State||NR|
For a composite Top 25, visit SBNation.com
All together now, Alabama fans: "We're No. 1! In one of the polls! Sorta!" Sure, it's an unwieldy chant, but at least it's got full disclosure attached to it. Florida State lost nine first-place votes, eight of which apparently went to Alabama and another of which appears to belong to a coach who forgot to vote this week. Pollsters!
The gap between Bama and FSU is 12 points, which along with the fact that Florida State has more first-place votes suggests that either a sizable faction of voters have a small difference of more than one between the Tide and the Seminoles or a small faction of voters has a sizable difference of more than one between the Tide and Seminoles. My guess is the former, but who knows? FSU lost six first-place voters in the AP, with Alabama netting five and Oregon picking up one, but Florida State is still on top in that ranking.
There are 11 consensus positions and several other teams that are only one or so apart on the polls, because the season gets clearer and clearer as we go along. There's a little more difference in the Top 10 than there was last week, largely because of the Alabama jump in the coaches' poll and because the AP finally came to its senses on Baylor-TCU, but the teams are precisely the same. The order is the only thing that's rearranged from survey to survey.
Your big loser, as might be expected, is Ole Miss -- which plunges 10 spots in the AP poll and 11 places among the coaches after getting waxed by Arkansas on Saturday. Nebraska, Utah, Southern Cal and Duke all fell out of the rankings entirely, but the highest ranking any of those teams had last week was Nebraska's 19th-place showing in the coaches' poll, so the dubious honor goes to Ole Miss.
Mississippi State stays at fourth in both polls, which could indicate good things for Tuesday night's release of the college football playoff rankings, but we're still working off of a rather small sample size when it comes to comparing the polls and the committee. Georgia moves up a spot in both surveys, but that probably has more to do with Ole Miss' fall than the Dawgs demolishing Charleston Southern on Saturday. Same for Auburn's modest uptick in both polls. Georgia is kind of getting to the point in the polls where you have to wonder what impact a win or a loss might have in the SEC Championship Game if they can get there -- but let's put that on hold until we know who will win the division.
Missouri moves up to 17th in both polls, a bump of two among the sportswriters and three among the coaches, probably because of a mixture of the Tigers beating a favored Tennessee team on the road and the performance of some teams above them. Ole Miss closes out the SEC, which remains at a half-dozen ranked teams in both rankings. Also of interest: All the ACC opponents for the SEC East teams next week are ranked.
Elsewhere, the most significant aspect of these rankings are the drop by Marshall and the appearance of Boise State. Remember: It's the top-ranked conference champion from the Group of 5 that has the automatic bid to one of the playoff-aligned bowls. If Boise State beats Utah State on Saturday, then the Broncos will go to the Mountain West Championship Game -- not Colorado State. If, on the other hand, Boise loses to Utah State and Colorado State wins at Air Force, then the Rams will have a shot at the Mountain West title.
Marshall already wasn't appearing in the committee's Top 25 (nor were the other G-5 teams) -- so if the narrow win / moral loss to UAB knocked the Herd down among the pollsters, it's a safe bet that Marshall also won't show up in the committee's list this week. But if Boise State or even Colorado State does, that could spell trouble for the Herd. If none of the teams appear at the end of the season, we're basically in "trust us" mode with the committee.