2014 CFN Rankings - Week 7

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 7 - Oct. 12

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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. Mississippi State 6-0
Last Week: W, Auburn, 38-23
Why They Should Be Ranked No. 1: Who told you last week that Mississippi State was the No. 1 team in America? No one has a better first-half resume than the Bulldogs, which became the first team since 1983 to beat three straight top 10 opponents. And Mississippi State isn’t just getting by. It knocked off Texas A&M and Auburn by double-digits, and would have done the same to LSU had it not been for a couple of late touchdowns.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It’s a splitting of the hairs at this point, but the Bulldogs need to tighten up a few of their holes in pass defense. And while QB Dak Prescott has been magnificent, he can still be a little erratic as a pocket passer.

2. Ole Miss 6-0
Last Week: W, Texas A&M, 35-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Spearheaded by one of the nation’s best defenses, the Rebels have defeated SEC West powerhouses Alabama and Texas A&M in consecutive weeks. It represents the first time in Ole Miss history that the team has beaten AP Top 25 opponents in back-to-back games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offense can still be a little shaky, pending what kind of a day it is for QB Bo Wallace. The Rebels were outgained in each of the last two weeks, only managing 338 total yards and 2-of-10 on third-down conversions against the Aggies.

3. Auburn 5-1
Last Week: L, Mississippi State, 38-23
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: At the start of the weekend, the Tigers had outscored opponents by an average of 42-14, with quality wins coming over Arkansas, Kansas State and LSU. There’s no shame in losing to Mississippi State, the top-ranked team, in Starkville.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: For the second time this season, someone seemed to have an answer for Gus Malzahn’s vaunted attack. First Kansas State, and now Mississippi State. Much of the progress made by the Tiger D grinded to a halt, as the Bulldogs amassed 469 yards and was 8-of-17 on third downs.

4. Oregon 5-1
Last Week: W, UCLA, 42-30
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Isn’t it amazing what a healthier O line can do? Tackle Jake Fisher was back, Marcus Mariota had time, and … boom. Oregon went into the Rose Bowl, easily handled the Bruins and established itself as the Pac-12’s team to beat. The Ducks have beaten one-loss Michigan State, and their only loss came against Arizona in a game that could have gone either way.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Sure, the Wildcats have surprised just about everyone, but falling to them in Eugene won’t earn any pats on the back from the committee. The Ducks also had a close call with Washington State, which now stands at 2-5.

5. Notre Dame 6-0
Last Week: W, North Carolina, 50-43
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: As the number of unbeaten teams continued to dwindle, the Irish remained unblemished with a gut-check win over the Heels. The offense enjoyed its best game of 2014, setting the table for a pivotal three-game road trip. ND has also beaten what could be the Pac-12’s toughest team, Stanford.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Struggling to handle 2-4 Carolina feeds into the perception that the Irish are overrated and just waiting to be picked off. The team’s bedrock defense allowed 510 yards, while missing a bunch of tackles in the open field on Saturday.

6. Florida State 6-0
Last Week: W, Syracuse, 38-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Seminoles have now won 22 straight games, easily handling the Orange on the road and the week before the Notre Dame game. Florida State has also beaten teams from Oklahoma State and Clemson that have played well lately.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: If this was anyone else but the unbeaten defending national champs, it would probably be a few spots down. Florida State has had its share of struggles this fall, and has yet to deliver a truly complete effort against a quality opponent. Even against Syracuse, it yielded more than 400 yards to an Orange team playing without its starting quarterback.

7. Alabama5-1
Last Week: W, Arkansas, 14-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It’s rarely easy winning road conference games, but the Tide did just that in Fayetteville. ‘Bama’s one loss came against an outstanding Ole Miss team—in Oxford—in a game it led in the fourth quarter.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Tide haven’t played well over the last two weekends, making far too many mistakes, the likes of which have Nick Saban enraged. Alabama barely escaped a Razorback team that’s lost 15 straight SEC games, and the schedule is back-loaded with challenging games.

8. Baylor 6-0
Last Week: W, TCU, 61-58
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bears showed a ton of mettle and heart in Week 7, rallying from 21 down in the fourth quarter to beat the TCU team that upset Oklahoma a week earlier. When Baylor needed to score, it was unstoppable versus Gary Patterson’s kids, finishing with 782 total yards.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It took an epic comeback to pull off the win – there are holes. Baylor didn’t give up 58 points to the Dallas Cowboys. It was TCU, a team with an improved offense, but hardly a juggernaut. Facing a ranked opponent for the first time in 2014, the Bears exposed serious holes in their defense and special teams.

9. TCU 4-1
Last Week: L, Baylor, 61-58
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Horned Frogs went into Waco and rung up touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams. For more than three quarters, TCU outclassed the nation’s No. 5 team, a week after beating Oklahoma, then the nation’s No. 4 program.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Even against Baylor, frittering away a 21-point fourth-quarter cushion is inexcusable. The TCU offense is vastly improved this fall, but there’s been a trade-off. The D might be at its weakest point of the Gary Patterson era, as evidenced by Saturday’s late-game collapse.

10. Oklahoma 5-1
Last Week: W, Texas, 31-26
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: On a day when the offense was hamstrung, the Sooners found a way to beat their chief rival in Dallas. Oklahoma’s one loss was on the road against a TCU team that’s turning out to be far better than most thought in the preseason.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: OU has gotten exposed over the last two weekends. Both sides of the ball have been victimized, and ballyhooed QB Trevor Knight has been unable to provide proper support in the passing game to the running of Samaje Perine.

11. Kansas State 4-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: No one put a first-half scare into Auburn the way Kansas State did, holding the Tigers well below their usual scoring average before falling, 20-14. In so doing, the Wildcats showed that they can hang with top-flight opponents, and compete for a Big 12 title.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: You want to ascend higher in the rankings, K-State? Go out and earn a quality win. The Wildcats’ best victory so far came over sub-.500 Iowa State in a thriller that required a Jake Waters touchdown run with 1:30 left.

12. Michigan State 5-1
Last Week: W, Purdue, 45-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Spartans’ only loss of the season came on the road at Oregon, which just battered UCLA in Pasadena. Since that Week 2 game in Eugene, Michigan State has won four in a row to solidify its status as the Big Ten’s premier team.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Is there cause for concern regarding the vaunted Spartan D? Over the last five quarters, it’s given up 50 points. The Boilermakers got way too close on Saturday, pulling to within a touchdown late in the fourth. Notable wins will be scarce for MSU this fall.

13. Ohio State 4-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Ohio State has caught firing since losing for the only time back on Sept. 6, averaging 56 points the last three games. The Buckeyes rocked Maryland in College Park two weeks ago, 52-24, behind another solid outing from emerging young QB J.T. Barrett.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: That lone loss to middling Virginia Tech was an unsightly one that’ll have a lingering effect. Ohio State hasn’t beaten anyone of national significance in 2014, and won’t have an opportunity to do so until traveling to East Lansing Nov.8.

14. Texas A&M 5-2
Last Week: L, Ole Miss, 35-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The only things standing in the way of a perfect start for the Aggies are the nation’s top two teams, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. A&M has a pair of SEC wins over South Carolina, a blowout, and feisty Arkansas.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: When was the last time the Aggies impressed? The opener with a Gamecock team that has since slipped back to .500? If not for a rally to beat the Hogs in Arlington, A&M would be riding a three-game losing streak.

15. Arkansas 3-3
Last Week: L, Alabama, 14-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The record isn’t indicative of how well the Hogs have played this season. They’ve fallen to three ranked teams, Auburn, Texas A&M and Alabama, the last two by only eight points combined.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Razorbacks’ two wins over FBS opponent came against Texas Tech and Northern Illinois, neither of whom will be remotely near the Top 25. Right now, Arkansas is good in spurts, but not quite good enough to close the deal against quality opponents. For the Hogs to be ranked, they need to begin by snapping their 15-game conference losing streak.

16. Nebraska 5-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Before going on a bye week, the Huskers showcased their heart and potential by rallying from a 27-3 deficit to nearly defeat Big Ten favorite Michigan State in East Lansing. In jumping out to a 5-0 start, Big Red defeated its opponents by an average score of 45-19.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Nebraska will face a hard ceiling until it can beat a quality opponent. A moral victory in the face of Michigan State will only get a team so far. And right now, the Huskers haven’t taken down anyone better than an average Miami team.

17. Georgia 5-1
Last Week: W, Missouri, 34-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Sans RB Todd Gurley, the Dawgs played their best game of the season, blanking a ranked opponent on the road for the first time in school history. Georgia has also beaten Clemson, which has turned things around since that opening day loss.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Dawgs lost to a South Carolina team that’s 3-3 following last week’s loss to Kentucky. Sure, Mizzou was ranked at kickoff, but Mizzou also fell to a bad Indiana team in September.

18. UCLA 4-2
Last Week: L, Oregon, 42-30
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In the wide-open Pac-12 South Division, the Bruins own a pivotal rout of Arizona State, which has defeated USC. Early UCLA wins over Virginia and Memphis now look a little more impressive than when they occurred.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Yeah, fine, so you could reasonably make a case that Utah should be here instead. The Bruins have been exposed as vastly overrated the last two weeks, losing to unranked Utah and getting bombarded at home by the Ducks. In six tries, UCLA has played one decent game all year, the 62-27 win over the Sun Devils.

19. Arizona State 4-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sun Devils rebounded from their only loss of the year to defeat USC at the Coliseum two weeks ago. That’s the same USC team that went into Tucson to beat 5-0 Arizona late Saturday night.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: ASU needed a Mike Bercovici heave to defeat the Trojans in Week 5, so it’s not as if it had the game in hand. And not all losses are created equal. The Sun Devils didn’t just lose to UCLA on Sept. 25, they were obliterated, 62-27.

20. USC 4-2
Last Week: W, Arizona, 28-26
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans took down Arizona, the last unbeaten Pac-12 team, and the school that beat Oregon a week earlier. Troy’s two losses are by 10 points combined, and included a Hail Mary loss at the hands of Arizona State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: They’re a missed kick away from being well out of the top 25. One of the Trojans’ losses was a bad one, to an average Boston College team. USC has lacked consistency and the ability to finish, which haunted it in last week’s devastating last-second loss to the Sun Devils.

21. Arizona 5-1
Last Week: L, USC, 28-26
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardiac ‘Cats are a missed field goal on Saturday night from being the Pac-12’s only undefeated team and, probably, somewhere in the top ten. They own the league’s best win of 2014 so far, beating Oregon in Eugene, 31-24.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Arizona had the one big moment against the Ducks, but has been mediocre otherwise. The Wildcats struggled with UTSA and Nevada in September, and needed a prayer at the end of regulation to escape Cal in Tucson.

22. Oklahoma State 5-1
Last Week: W, Kansas, 27-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It wasn’t pretty, but it was a conference victory on the road, and the Cowboys’ fifth straight win overall. Oklahoma State’s only defeat of the year came in the opener by six points to top-ranked Florida State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oklahoma State is living on the edge, playing erratically in just about every game of the winning streak. Had Iowa State and Kansas not been on the other sideline the last two weeks, the Cowboys could have easily dropped both games.

23. Clemson 4-2
Last Week: W, Louisville, 23-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers lost their rising star quarterback, Deshaun Watson, yet still won a key ACC Atlantic showdown with Louisville. Clemson has taken three straight, and both of its losses were to ranked opponents, Georgia and Florida State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: If Watson is out for a significant period of time, this isn’t a top 25 team. Clemson should be ranked, but moving much higher will require beating a fellow ranked team. The Tigers had cracks at the Dawgs and the ‘Noles, yet let those slip away. The O-line played poorly, and the offense sputtered when Cole Stoudt took over the offense.

24. Stanford 4-2
Last Week: W, Washington State, 34-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinal are a pair of three-point losses to ranked USC and Notre Dame away from being unbeaten this season. Stanford is the only team to hand a loss to Washington so far in 2014.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense is championship-caliber, but the offense is hardly bowl-eligible. Stanford scored just 24 points in those losses to the Irish and the Trojans, and it has yet to beat a truly formidable team this season.

25. Washington 5-1
Last Week: W, Cal, 31-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskies just clamped down on a Cal team that began the weekend averaging almost 50 points per game. Their only loss was by a touchdown to Stanford, which is six points from being unbeaten.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: U-Dub has beaten no one yet this year, with the ‘signature’ win coming over unranked Cal. The Huskies have also had their share of struggles with Hawaii, Eastern Washington and Georgia State earlier in the year.

26. East Carolina 5-1
27. Missouri 4-2
28. West Virginia 4-2
29. Minnesota 5-1
30. Duke 5-1

31. Georgia Tech 5-1
32. LSU 5-2
33. Florida 3-2
34. Kentucky 5-1
35. Tennessee 3-3
36. UCF 3-2
37. South Carolina 3-3
38. Utah 4-1
39. Boston College 4-2
40. Virginia Tech 4-2

41. Northwestern 3-3
42. Wisconsin 4-2
43. California 4-2
44. Virginia 4-2
45. Louisville 5-2
46. Maryland 4-2
47. Boise State 4-2
48. Colorado State 5-1
49. Nevada 3-3
50. Washington State 2-5

51. Iowa State 2-4
52. Iowa 5-1
53. Miami 4-3
54. Michigan 3-4
55. Penn State 4-2
56. Rutgers 5-1
57. Marshall 6-0
58. Akron 4-2
59. Pittsburgh 3-3
60. Texas Tech 2-4

61. Oregon State 4-1
62. Colorado 2-4
63. Arkansas State 4-2
64. Utah State 4-2
65. BYU 4-2
66. Houston 3-3
67. Memphis 3-3
68. UAB 4-2
69. Middle Tennessee 4-3
70. Western Kentucky 2-3

71. Bowling Green 5-2
72. Indiana 3-3
73. Texas 2-4
74. Cincinnati 2-3
75. North Carolina 2-4
76. Air Force 4-2
77. Navy 3-4
78. NC State 4-3
79. Toledo 4-3
80. Kansas 2-4

81. Central Michigan 4-3
82. Purdue 3-4
83. Illinois 3-4
84. Northern Illinois 4-2
85. Syracuse 2-4
86. Temple 4-1
87. South Florida 2-4
88. San Jose State 2-3
89. UNLV 2-5
90. Fresno State 3-4

91. San Diego State 3-3
92. Louisiana Tech 3-3
93. Georgia Southern 5-2
94. UTEP 3-3
95. North Texas 2-4
96. Old Dominion 3-4
97. ULM 3-3
98. Wake Forest 2-4
99. Rice 3-3
100. Hawaii 2-4

101. Wyoming 3-3
102. Army 2-4
103. Vanderbilt 2-5
104. New Mexico 2-4
105. UL Lafayette 2-3
106. UTSA 2-4
107. Florida International 3-4
108. Florida Atlantic 2-4
109. Ohio 3-4
110. Western Michigan 3-3

111. Ball State 1-5
112. Texas State 3-2
113. South Alabama 3-2
114. Tulsa 1-5
115. Tulane 2-4
116. Connecticut 1-5
117. Miami Univ. 1-6
118. Southern Miss 2-4
119. Eastern Michigan 2-4
120. Buffalo 3-4

121. Massachusetts 1-6
122. SMU 0-5
123. New Mexico State 2-5
124. Troy 1-5
125. Idaho 0-6
126. Kent State 0-6
127. Appalachian State 1-5
128. Georgia State 1-5

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