2014 CFN Rankings - Week 8

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 8 - Oct. 19

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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: Idle
Why They Should Be Ranked No. 1: No one compiled a better first-half resume than the Bulldogs, who became the first team since 1983 to beat three straight top 10 opponents. And Mississippi State isn’t just eking by. It’s winning by an average margin of 42-20, waxed Texas A&M and Auburn by at least two touchdowns, and handled LSU much easier than the 34-29 score indicates.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: LSU, Texas A&M and even Auburn aren’t quite what most thought they’d be back in September. There’s room for improvement with the Bulldog pass defense, which ranks last in the SEC, and is allowing a few too many long balls.

2. Ole Miss 7-0
Last Week: W, Tennessee, 34-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Rebels showed no let-up in their suffocation of Tennessee, lowering their defensive scoring average to 10 points per game. Off to its best start since 1962, Ole Miss is the only team to defeat Alabama this season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: ‘Bama? Impressive. But who else have the Rebels conquered? Tennessee is under .500, Texas A&M turned out to be a mirage and the non-conference schedule was rather soft.

3. Auburn 5-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers’ only loss of the year came against top-ranked Mississippi State … in front of the cow bell cacophony of Starkville. Auburn has blown out Arkansas and LSU, while surviving an underrated Kansas State team in Manhattan.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: What’s with Gus Malzahn’s vaunted offense? Unstoppable a year ago, the Tigers were corralled twice in the first half. K-State held Auburn to just 20 points, and the Tigers turned the ball over four times in the 38-23 loss to Mississippi State.

4. Alabama 6-1
Last Week: W, Texas A&M, 59-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Crimson Tide dispatched the statement that many were seeking, absolutely destroying ranked A&M in all phases. ‘Bama held the nation’s fourth-ranked offense to no points and less than 200 total yards. The Tide’s only loss was to unbeaten Ole Miss in Oxford.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: In the two weeks leading up to Saturday’s game, Alabama had blown a late lead to the Rebels and narrowly escaped Arkansas, 14-13. Auburn and Georgia have already beaten the Hogs by double-digits this season.

5. Oregon 6-1
Last Week: W, Washington, 45-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The old Ducks are back. Oregon has shaken off its lone loss to ranked Arizona to easily handle UCLA and Washington in consecutive weeks. The Huskies were confident entering Eugene, but got wrecked by the backfield combination of QB Marcus Mariota and RB Royce Freeman.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oregon should never, ever lose at home to Arizona, a team that’s struggled with lesser opponents all year. The Ducks were also pushed to the brink by Washington State, which now rests at 2-5.

6. Florida State 7-0
Last Week: W, Notre Dame, 31-27
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Seminoles stood tall in the face of their toughest test of the year so far, holding off top 10 Notre Dame in an epic clash. Florida State has now found a way to defeat three quality opponents, Oklahoma State, Clemson and the Irish, in games decided by no more than six points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Wins? Yes. Style points? No. The Seminoles continue to look shaky on film, from breakdowns in blocking assignments to surprisingly sloppy defensive play. Florida State is more vulnerable to being picked off than the top teams in the SEC.

7. Notre Dame 6-1
Last Week: W, Florida State, 31-27
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Irish earned a ton of respect with their effort in Tallahassee, actually ending the Seminoles’ 22-game winning streak before a penalty nullified an Everett Golson touchdown pass. By hanging with Florida State for all 60 minutes, ND validated its spot as one of the nation’s premier teams.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower:ND’s signature win of the season lost some of its luster when Stanford fell meekly to Arizona State in Week 8. The Irish have had their share of struggles against lesser opponents, like North Carolina and Purdue, this fall.

8. Michigan State 6-1
Last Week: W, Indiana, 56-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Spartans shook off a slow start to torch the Hoosiers with six unanswered touchdowns to close out the game. Their only loss of the season was way back on Sept. 6 at Oregon, the highest ranked of the Pac-12 teams.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Michigan State played 15 minutes of good football versus the Ducks, and defeated Nebraska. Beyond those two efforts, the Spartans have faced a steady stream of overmatched speed bags.

9. Ohio State 5-1
Last Week: W, Rutgers, 56-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Scarlet Knights arrived in Columbus with a spiffy 5-1 record. They left realizing they’re nowhere near the Buckeyes’ class. Ohio State has scored at least 50 points in each of the last four games, all wins by at least three touchdowns.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Ohio State’s long loss of the year is a bad one. The Buckeyes fell to Virginia Tech, which has gone 2-3 since that point. And their best win of 2014 has come versus the unranked Big Ten newcomers, Maryland and Rutgers.

10. Georgia 6-1
Last Week: W, Arkansas, 45-32
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Dawgs have one loss, by just three points to South Carolina in Columbia. Georgia led Arkansas at the half, 38-6, before tapping on the brakes. Those are the same Hogs that took Texas A&M to overtime, and fell by a point to Alabama.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Georgia lost to a South Carolina squad that’s just 3-3 versus FBS opponents this year. Since that Week 2 defeat, the Bulldogs have yet to take down a team that qualifies as Top 25 timber.

11. Kansas State 5-1
Last Week: W, Oklahoma, 31-30
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats probably knocked the Sooners out of Big 12 contention with a key upset in Norman. Not only does K-State reside atop a very deep conference, but its only loss came by six points to a formidable Auburn team.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The ‘Cats certainly needed their Week 8 upset of Oklahoma, because the schedule was pretty soft up to this point in the season. Before Saturday, Kansas State’s best win had come over sub-.500 Iowa State or Texas Tech.

12. Nebraska 6-1
Last Week: W, Northwestern, 38-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers earned an important Big Ten West victory Saturday night, easily beating the Wildcats in Evanston. Nebraska has just one loss, and it came in East Lansing by only five points to Michigan State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Nebraska will face a hard ceiling until it can beat a ranked opponent, which has yet to happen in 2014. 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 a mediocre 4-3 Miami team.

13. West Virginia 5-2
Last Week: W, Baylor, 41-27
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Mountaineers have won three consecutive games, capped by a signature win over the unbeaten and No. 4 Bears. West Virginia’s only losses have come to Alabama and Oklahoma, power programs that began the year with playoff aspirations.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: West Virginia won’t be a complete team until it can operate with more defensive consistency; it’s yielded at least 30 points in four of six games with FBS opponents. The Sooners have fallen twice since beating the ‘eers on Sept. 20.

14. Baylor 6-1
Last Week: L, West Virginia, 41-27
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bears can score on anyone in the country … and fast. They proved it a week ago with an epic rally to knock off top 10 TCU by scoring two dozen unanswered points over the final 10 minutes.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Baylor has gotten exposed over the last two weekends, allowing 99 points to the Horned Frogs and the Mountaineers. The Bear defense isn’t Top 25-caliber, the team commits way too many penalties and the offense has been mortal in October.

15. TCU 5-1
Last Week: W, Oklahoma State, 42-9
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Horned Frogs are a three-point loss to Baylor—in Waco—from being perfect in the first half of the season. TCU couldn’t have rebounded much better in Week 8, schooling an Oklahoma State team that hung with Florida State earlier in the year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The collapse to the Bears, which included a blown three-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, was bad. It got even worse, however, after Baylor fell to unranked West Virginia on Saturday.

16. Oklahoma 5-2
Last Week: L, Kansas State, 31-30
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It turns out that the Sooners were overrated throughout the preseason. The team has lost twice in the last three weeks to fall behind in the Big 12 race, its defense failing to live up to lofty expectations.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oklahoma has bowed by five combined points to a pair of ranked teams, TCU and Kansas State, in games it could have won. The Sooners also went on the road to beat West Virginia, which handed Baylor its first loss today.

17. UCLA 5-2
Last Week: W, Cal, 36-34
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bruins rebounded with a road win in conference play, outplaying the Bears in a game that was more one-sided than the score indicates. UCLA has outclassed Arizona State, with its losses coming to ranked opponents, Utah and Oregon.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: UCLA has generally played to the level of the competition this season, with the Oregon game being an exception. The Bruins never threatened the Ducks, trailing 42-10 before hanging up three window dressing touchdowns.

18. Arizona State 5-1
Last Week: W, Stanford, 26-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: At least for now, the Sun Devils have taken control of the Pac-12 South with an impressive win over the Cardinal. ASU has now beaten Stanford and USC in back-to-back games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Arizona State required a Mike Bercovici heave to defeat the Trojans in Week 5, so it’s not as if it ever had that game in hand. And not all losses are created equal. The Devils didn’t just stumble to two-loss UCLA on Sept. 25, they were obliterated, 62-27.

19. USC 5-2
Last Week: W, Colorado, 56-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans exploded on offense for the first time since the opener behind a school-record seven Cody Kessler touchdown passes. USC has notable wins over Stanford and Arizona, and its loss to Arizona State came on a Hail Mary.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: One of the Trojans’ two losses was a brutal one, to a 4-3 Boston College team that’s lost to Pitt and Colorado State. The only times USC seems to display sustained excellence is when facing second-rate competition.

20. Arizona 5-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats are a missed chip-shot field goal from being the Pac-12’s only undefeated team. Arizona is the proud owner of the league’s best win of 2014 so far, knocking off Oregon in Eugene, 31-24, on Oct. 2.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Arizona had the one big splash against the Ducks, but has been rather mediocre otherwise. The Wildcats struggled with UTSA and Nevada in September, and needed a Hail Mary at the end of regulation to escape Cal in Tucson on Sept. 20.

21. Texas A&M 5-3
Last Week: L, Alabama, 59-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Aggies’ losses have come versus three of the nation’s premier teams, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama. A&M owns a couple of SEC wins over South Carolina, 52-28, and underrated Arkansas.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Three straight losses, none of which were competitive late, and the latest one was a complete embarrassment. Losing by 59 to anything less than an NFL opponent disqualifies a team from being ranked.

22. Arkansas 3-4
Last Week: L, Georgia, 45-32
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: All four of the Razorbacks’ losses this season came against teams that were ranked at the time they played. A one-point loss to Alabama last week is an indication of Arkansas’ potential.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: At some point, you have to beat a decent opponent to validate a ranking. The Hogs were no match for the Bulldogs in Week 8, and their two wins over FBS opponents came against Texas Tech and Northern Illinois.

23. Clemson 5-2
Last Week: W, Boston College, 17-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers won for the fourth straight time, surviving a scare in the building that witnessed an upset of USC on Sept. 13. In its first game without injured QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson won by shutting down the vaunted BC ground game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It’s already clear that the Clemson attack isn’t the same without Watson at the controls. The Tigers are getting more credit for losses to Georgia and Florida State than for any impressive wins so far on the 2014 resume.

24. Washington 5-2
Last Week: W, Oregon, 45-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskies’ losses came against two of the Pac-12’s premier teams, Stanford and Oregon. Against the Cardinal on Sept. 27, Washington only allowed 20 points and lost by a touchdown.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: U-Dub got drubbed—again—by Oregon on Saturday. Washington State and Arizona put up better fights against the Ducks. The Huskies haven’t beaten anyone better than Cal this fall.

25. Duke 6-1
Last Week: W, Virginia, 20-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: For the third consecutive season, Duke is bowl-eligible. The Blue Devils have won back-to-back games over Georgia Tech and Virginia to seize control of the ACC Coastal Division.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Blue Devils have yet to defeat a ranked opponent. Their non-conference schedule included four patsies, Elon, Troy, Kansas and Tulane. And their one loss was a sloppy affair with 4-3 Miami.

26. East Carolina 5-1
27. Missouri 5-2
28. Stanford 4-3
29. Utah 5-1
30. Oklahoma State 5-2

31. Minnesota 6-1
32. Georgia Tech 5-2
33. LSU 6-2
34. Florida 3-3
35. Kentucky 5-2
36. Tennessee 3-4
37. UCF 4-2
38. South Carolina 4-3
39. Pittsburgh 4-3
40. Boston College 4-3

41. Virginia Tech 4-3
42. Northwestern 3-4
43. Wisconsin 4-2
44. California 4-3
45. Virginia 4-3
46. Louisville 6-2
47. Maryland 5-2
48. Boise State 5-2
49. Colorado State 6-1
50. Texas 3-4

51. Purdue 3-5
52. Nevada 4-3
53. Washington State 2-5
54. Iowa State 2-5
55. Iowa 5-2
56. Miami 4-3
57. Michigan 3-4
58. Penn State 4-2
59. Rutgers 5-2
60. Marshall 7-0

61. Texas Tech 3-4
62. Oregon State 4-2
63. Colorado 2-5
64. Arkansas State 4-2
65. Utah State 4-3
66. BYU 4-3
67. Houston 4-3
68. Memphis 3-3
69. Middle Tennessee 5-3
70. UAB 4-3

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

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

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

101. Hawaii 2-5
102. Wyoming 3-4
103. Florida International 3-5
104. Florida Atlantic 3-4
105. Western Kentucky 2-4
106. Vanderbilt 2-5
107. New Mexico 2-5
108. UL Lafayette 3-3
109. Army 2-5
110. Ball State 2-5

111. UTSA 2-5
112. Texas State 3-3
113. South Alabama 4-2
114. Tulsa 1-6
115. Tulane 2-5
116. Connecticut 1-5
117. Massachusetts 2-6
118. Miami Univ. 1-7
119. Southern Miss 3-4
120. Eastern Michigan 2-5

121. Buffalo 3-4
122. Kent State 1-6
123. Appalachian State 2-5
124. Idaho 1-6
125. SMU 0-6
126. Troy 1-6
127. New Mexico State 2-6
128. Georgia State 1-6


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