2014 CFN Rankings - Week 5

You must rank teams based on how good you believe they are at the moment. That's the point when it comes to putting the teams in some order. However, once the year is complete, it's only fair to take the subjectivity out of it and go by what actually happened on the field.


CFN Rankings - 2014

Week 5 - Sept. 28

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You must rank teams based on how good you believe they are at the moment. That's the point when it comes to putting the teams in some order. However, once the year is complete, it's only fair to take the subjectivity out of it and go by what actually happened on the field.

1. Alabama 4-0
Last Week: Idle
Why They Should Be Ranked No. 1: The Tide is improving with each passing week, culminating with a 21-point demolition of Florida heading into the break. Bama’s evolution has been especially evident on offense, where coordinator Lane Kiffin is maximizing his skill position talent.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Bama has some things to clean up before resuming play, like turnovers and penalties. The team has yet to play a true road game … or an opponent that’s going to finish the year ranked in the Top 25.

2. Oregon 4-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Eugene is home to one of the best offenses and one of the premier players, QB Marcus Mariota. The Ducks will score on anyone, as they proved with their Week 2 comeback win over stingy Michigan State, 46-27.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: A close call with Washington State two weeks ago uncovered a number of flaws in Oregon’s game. The defense must improve in the open field, but the O-line is an even bigger red flag. Banged-up and reshuffled, the unit yielded seven sacks to the Cougs.

3. Oklahoma 4-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners have won their first four games by an average score of 45-16, while making statement in recent wins over Tennessee and West Virginia. OU went into Morgantown, weathered the storm and discovered a young star, rookie RB Samaje Perine.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The D had trouble stopping Clint Trickett and the West Virginia passing game in Week 4, which is going to be an issue in the pass-happy Big 12. Since Oklahoma doesn’t play a ranked opponent until at least the middle of October, it’ll be a while before this team is tested by a fellow heavyweight.

4. Texas A&M 5-0
Last Week: W, Arkansas, 35-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Aggies showed a champion’s mettle in Arlington, rallying from two touchdowns down in the fourth quarter to beat the Hogs in overtime. Kenny Hill and Mark Snyder’s defense stepped up in a big way to help keep A&M unbeaten.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Aggie offense can be held in check, which the Razorbacks showed for more than 45 minutes. And the defense got exposed as well. This was a game that Arkansas lost more than Texas A&M won.

5. Michigan State 3-1
Last Week: W, Wyoming, 56-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The defense is a given in East Lansing, but now the offense is flexing its muscles around QB Connor Cook as well. Michigan State’s lone came against one of the best teams in the country, Oregon, in its home stadium.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: No quality wins. There’s only so much that can be gained from a moral victory against the Ducks. But there’s only so high Michigan State can ascend by beating up on Jacksonville State, Eastern Michigan and Wyoming.

6. Auburn 4-0
Last Week: W, Louisiana Tech, 45-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After starting slowly, the Tigers finally put away the Bulldogs for good with three fourth-quarter touchdowns. Auburn now owns two quality wins over Kansas State and the same Arkansas team that nearly shocked Texas A&M in Week 5.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: This is not the same offense as a season ago. Sure, the passing game has a little more pop than usual, but the Wildcats proved in Manhattan that it’s possible to contain QB Nick Marshall & Co.

7. Baylor 4-0
Last Week: W, Iowa State, 49-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Just like a year ago, the Bears are burying their early-season opponents, winning the first three by a combined score of 227-55. And they lead the country in scoring, despite being without Antwan Goodley prior to this week’s trip to Ames.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Who’d you face, Baylor? It’s the same old story with the Bears’ non-conference schedule. Annihilating SMU, Northwestern State, Buffalo and Iowa State could wind up being be a mild smokescreen for when the Big 12 slate really gets cranking with next Saturday’s trip to Austin.

8. Florida State 4-0
Last Week: W, NC State, 56-41
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The ‘Noles are getting every opponent’s best effort, yet they continue to find ways to win. After falling behind in Raleigh on Saturday, they stormed back with seven offensive touchdowns over the final three quarters.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Each week provides a new reason why the Seminoles won’t repeat this season. The defense was atrocious by anyone’s standard, especially FSU’s, and the team has now been challenged by everyone except The Citadel.

9. Mississippi State 3-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: By beating LSU … in Baton Rouge … at night, the Bulldogs made a statement that they’re ready to compete in the SEC West. And Mississippi State didn’t just win a game; it dominated the Tigers by amassing 570 yards of offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Now that Mississippi State is closing in on the high-rent district, it must prove it can remain there. The pass defense flashed lapses in games with UAB and LSU, which raises concerns with Texas A&M and Auburn up next.

10. Arkansas 3-2
Last Week: L, Texas A&M, 35-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Until the latter stages, the Razorbacks outplayed a Texas A&M team that had looked unbeatable during the first month of the season. Arkansas’ other loss was to another top 10 opponent outside of Fayetteville, Auburn.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Hogs’ two wins over FBS teams were Texas Tech and Northern Illinois, neither of whom are Top 25 timber. And they didn’t just lose to Auburn; they lost by 24 points after failing to sustain a fast start.

11. Notre Dame 4-0
Last Week: W, Syracuse, 31-15
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Irish have outscored their first four opponents by a margin of 35-11. They’re winning with a combination of steady defense and the crisp passing of Everett Golson, who’s putting the offense on his shoulders.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Notre Dame still needs more from the running game to complement Golson’s heroics. An imbalanced offense could be overcome against Rice, Michigan, Purdue and Syracuse, but the October slate brings games with Stanford and Florida State.

12. Ole Miss 4-0
Last Week: W, Memphis, 24-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Possibly looking ahead to next week’s showdown with Alabama, Ole Miss was sluggish, yet found a way to dispose of a feisty Memphis team. The Rebels are only giving up eight points a game so far in 2014.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Rebels haven’t faced anyone yet this season. Even Boise State, which looked as if it might be a quality opponent in the opener, fell this past weekend to a middling Air Force squad.

13. Nebraska 5-0
Last Week: W, Illinois, 45-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers have caught fire since beating McNeese State by only a touchdown in Week 2. They’ve routed the last three opponents behind the dynamic running of Ameer Abdullah, and are outscoring opponents by an average margin of 45-19.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Who’s Nebraska beaten? They’ve yet to face a ranked opponent, or even one that’s close to being ranked. The Huskers’ best win has come over a two-loss Miami team still trying to find its way.

14. Missouri 3-1
Last Week: W, South Carolina, 21-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Now that the Tigers have upset South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium, they’re the only SEC East team without a loss. Mizzou showed an enormous amount of resiliency to bounce back from a loss and win this game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: That Tiger loss came at home to Indiana. Yup, that’s the same Hoosier team that’s already lost to Bowling Green and Maryland this past weekend in a lopsided 37-15 affair.

15. South Carolina 3-2
Last Week: L, Missouri, 21-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Since losing the opener, the Gamecocks have beaten ranked East Carolina and Georgia, and fallen by a point to Mizzou. The defense has come a long way in a short time since the disaster with Texas A&M.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Mizzou team the Gamecocks lost to at home fell to Indiana just a week earlier. Arkansas played Texas A&M far better than South Carolina did in a 52-28 blowout on opening night.

16. Georgia 3-1
Last Week: W, Tennessee, 35-32
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Dawgs rallied from an early deficit to get past rival Tennessee. Their only loss was by three points on the road at South Carolina, and that opening day win over Clemson will gain in value as the Tigers regroup.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: This is a one-man gang, Todd Gurley, in Athens. The junior back has been phenomenal, but he’s going to need more help along the way. Georgia had too many problems, especially on defense, with a Vol team that lost to Oklahoma by 24 points in its previous game.

17. Clemson 2-2
Last Week: W, North Carolina, 50-35
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: A star was born in Death Valley Saturday night, as true freshman QB Deshaun Watson threw a school-record six touchdown passes. The Tigers’ two losses have come on the road against playoff contenders, Florida State and Georgia.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: For the second time this season, the talented Clemson defense failed to play up to its potential, giving up four touchdown passes to Marquise Williams. In the loss to the ‘Noles, Jameis Winston didn’t play, and the Tigers blew opportunities to win a key ACC game.

18. LSU 4-1
Last Week: W, New Mexico State, 63-7
Why The Ranking Should be Higher: The Tigers regained a little confidence with a rout of New Mexico State. An impressive all-around performance from rookie QB Brandon Harris bodes well for the offense for the balance of the season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: More than just a loss two weeks ago, the Tigers were soundly defeated in Baton Rouge by a Mississippi State that began the year unranked. LSU is young and flawed, with more regular-season losses likely coming.

19. UCLA 4-0
Last Week: W, Arizona State, 62-27
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In their toughest assignment of the season so far, the Bruins finally made a statement by routing ASU in Tempe. UCLA delivered back-breaking plays in all three phases, and QB Brett Hundley was on point in his return from an elbow injury.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Bruins could be a team that shows up in the biggest spots, which could leave them vulnerable against lesser opponents. The defense gave up 626 yards to a team led by a backup quarterback, and is still having problems consistently getting to the quarterback.

20. BYU 4-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cougars have efficiently knocked off each opponent with a combination of timely defense and the all-around heroics of QB Taysom Hill. And they haven’t feasted on FCS teams, facing two schools from the American, one from the Big 12 and one from the ACC.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense bears a close watch after it was beaten for 519 yards by a sporadic Virginia attack. And back-to-back eight-point wins over Houston and the Cavaliers won’t earn much-needed style points for a program lacking the thorny schedule needed to impress skeptics.

21. Tennessee 2-2
Last Week: L, Georgia, 35-32
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Sure, the Vols are a .500 team, but who wouldn’t be after playing at Oklahoma and Georgia in consecutive weeks? Tennessee is growing up quickly under Butch Jones, giving the Bulldogs all they could handle in Athens.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Right direction, sure. But the Volunteers still have a long way to go. The team is very young, and the defense isn’t ready to stop quality offensive skill players. UT’s best win of the year so far was over Utah State in the opener.

22. East Carolina 3-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: If the Pirates were in the ACC, they’d probably be the league’s third or fourth best team. Over the last three weeks, East Carolina has nearly upset South Carolina in Columbia, stunned Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and annihilated Carolina, 70-41.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While ECU has no doubt been impressive, it’s yet to defeat an elite program. The Hokies have also lost at home to Georgia Tech, while the Tar Heels had to rally at home in Week 2 to hold off San Diego State.

23. Ohio State 3-1
Last Week: W, Cincinnati, 50-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Look out, Big Ten. QB J.T. Barrett and the offense are beginning to heat up. The Buckeyes have scored 116 points the past two weeks, with the redshirt freshman throwing 10 touchdown passes.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Saturday’s win over Cincinnati was Ohio State’s best of the season so far. And the two-touchdown home loss to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6 keeps getting as the Hokies continue to play poorly.

24. Kansas State 3-1
Last Week: W, UTEP, 58-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats had a short memory in Week 5, bouncing back from a loss to top 10 Auburn to dominate an underrated Miner team that had been playing well. In the Tiger loss a week ago, Kansas State essentially shut down one of the nation’s most potent attacks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: K-State fumbled away an opportunity against Auburn, creating doubt about its ability to close out quality opponents. Plus, the ‘Cats labored to put away Iowa State, and haven’t beaten a top 50 team in 2014.

25. Oklahoma State 3-1
Last Week: W, Texas Tech, 45-35
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cowboys only loss was to top-ranked Florida State by just six points. Since that opener in Arlington, Tex., Oklahoma State has scored at least 40 points in three straight games, despite losing starting QB J.W. Walsh.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oklahoma State has yet to beat a quality opponent, or played a true road game. In Thursday night’s win over the Red Raiders, the D was too soft in pass coverage and on third downs.

26. Wisconsin 3-1
27. NC State 4-1
28. USC 3-1
29. Stanford 3-1
30. Arizona State 3-1

31. West Virginia 2-2
32. Georgia Tech 4-0
33. Virginia Tech 3-2
34. Washington 4-1
35. Florida 2-1
36. Arizona 4-0
37. TCU 3-0
38. California 3-1
39. Kentucky 3-1
40. Virginia 3-2

41. Louisville 4-1
42. Maryland 4-1
43. Nevada 3-1
44. Washington State 2-3
45. Utah 3-1
46. Iowa State 1-3
47. Iowa 4-1
48. Miami 3-2
49. Boston College 3-2
50. Texas Tech 2-2

51. Minnesota 4-1
52. Northern Illinois 3-1
53. Northwestern 2-2
54. Penn State 4-1
55. Illinois 3-2
56. Memphis 2-2
57. Western Kentucky 2-2
58. Bowling Green 3-2
59. Cincinnati 2-1
60. Indiana 2-2

61. Oregon State 3-1
62. UCF 1-3
63. Texas 2-2
64. Duke 4-1
65. Akron 2-2
66. Pittsburgh 3-2
67. Michigan 2-3
68. Air Force 3-1
69. Boise State 3-2
70. Colorado State 3-1

71. Colorado 2-3
72. North Carolina 2-2
73. Rutgers 4-1
74. Navy 2-3
75. Syracuse 2-2
76. Marshall 4-0
77. Toledo 3-2
78. San Diego State 2-2
79. Middle Tennessee 3-2
80. UTEP 2-2

81. Fresno State 2-3
82. North Texas 2-2
83. Temple 3-1
84. Vanderbilt 1-4
85. South Florida 2-3
86. Georgia Southern 3-2
87. Louisiana Tech 2-3
88. Wyoming 3-2
89. Florida Atlantic2-3
90. UTSA 1-3

91. Army 1-3
92. San Jose State 1-3
93. Central Michigan 2-3
94. Purdue 2-3
95. Houston 2-2
96. Arkansas State 2-2
97. Wake Forest 2-3
98. Utah State 2-2
99. Old Dominion 3-2
100. UNLV 1-4

101. Western Michigan 2-2
102. Rice 1-3
103. Ball State 1-3
104. UAB 2-2
105. Connecticut 1-4
106. Ohio 3-2
107. Kansas 2-2
108. Buffalo 3-2
109. ULM 3-1
110. Texas State 2-2

111. South Alabama 2-2
112. Tulsa 1-3
113. Tulane 1-4
114. UL Lafayette 1-3
115. New Mexico 1-3
116. Florida International 2-3
117. Hawaii 1-3
118. Southern Miss 2-3
119. Appalachian State 1-3
120. Massachusetts 0-4

121. Miami Univ. 0-4
122. Kent State 0-3
123. New Mexico State 2-3
124. Georgia State 1-3
125. SMU 0-3
126. Idaho 0-4
127. Troy 0-5
128. Eastern Michigan 1-3


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