2014 CFN Rankings - Week Ten

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 8-0
Last Week: W, Arkansas, 17-10
Why They Should Be Ranked No. 1: Two unbeaten Power Five teams left, and one of them resides in Starkville. The Bulldogs have outscored both SEC West Tigers, LSU and Auburn, the latter by 15 points over a team that got to 7-1 with Saturday’s win at Ole Miss.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Mississippi State has begun showing signs of vulnerability. Last week, it got tested by Kentucky, which is now 5-4. And Saturday, the Bulldogs needed a red-zone stop to hold off 4-5 Arkansas, which has dropped 17 straight league games.

2. Auburn 7-1
Last Week: W, Ole Miss, 35-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After pulling out a thriller Saturday night in Oxford, the Tigers have beaten Ole Miss and Kansas State on the road, while torching LSU by 34. Their only loss of the season came in Starkville to Mississippi State, one of the two remaining unbeaten Power Five programs.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Auburn became a little shaky following the LSU rout, losing by 15 to the Bulldogs, and nearly falling to a bad South Carolina team last week. UAB, LSU, Kentucky and Arkansas lost by fewer points to Mississippi State than Auburn did on Oct. 11.

3. Florida State 8-0
Last Week: W, Louisville, 42-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In what was dubbed FSU’s toughest remaining game, the team spotted the Cards a 21-0 lead before rallying for a crucial road win. The Seminoles have now survived four tests with opponents that have been ranked at one point this season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The ‘Noles continue to unveil weaknesses against opponents that don’t match their overall talent level. In five of eight games this fall, Florida State has been on the ropes in the second half.

4. Oregon 8-1
Last Week: W, Stanford, 45-16
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Ducks have now won their three most important games to date, jetting past Michigan State, UCLA and now arch-nemesis Stanford on Saturday night. Their lone loss came to ranked Arizona on a night when pivotal LT Jake Fisher was sidelined with an injury.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Okay, the Wildcats have soared past expectations, and Fisher was missed, but Oregon should not lose a game to Arizona in Eugene. The Ducks also beat Wazzu by just a touchdown, and yielded 560 yards of offense to Cal a week ago.

5. LSU 7-2
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers have rebounded with three straight wins, capped by an upset of previously-unbeaten Ole Miss two weeks ago. They’ve also handled a solid Wisconsin team, and their only losses of 2014 came to title contenders, unbeaten Mississippi State and one-loss Auburn. The Florida win – don’t scoff – looks even better now.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Not all losses can be treated equally. The Tigers got thoroughly outclassed by both Mississippi State and Auburn, bowing to the latter, 41-7. LSU is a work-in-progress, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

6. Michigan State 7-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Since losing to Oregon, the Spartans have won six straight, displaying a high-powered offense to go along with the bare-knuckle D. Michigan State owns a quality win over Nebraska, the only team other than the Ducks to come within two touchdowns of it.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The schedule has been undeniably soft. Sure, the Spartans played one solid quarter in Eugene, and defeated the Huskers by five, but the rest of their games were against a spate of overmatched and unranked lightweights.

7. Ole Miss 7-2
Last Week: L, Auburn, 35-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Rebels are the only team so far this season to defeat Alabama, winning on Oct. 4, 23-17. And while they have lost twice, they were against LSU and Auburn by seven combined points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Good teams earn moral victories. The truly elite ones find a way to pull through at the end of close games. In back-to-back weeks, turnovers at crucial moments in the fourth have kept Ole Miss from winning games that could have swung in either direction.

8. Alabama7-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It’s probably the best team in America, but it just can’t be ranked above Ole Miss – yet. It’s coming. The Crimson Tide have reeled off three straight wins since falling to then-unbeaten Ole Miss in Oxford. Alabama has flexed its muscles against Texas A&M, 59-0, and the opening day win over West Virginia keeps getting better as the Mountaineers have surged into Big 12 contention and the Top 25.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: What does it say about ‘Bama’s schedule that its best win of the year so far came two months ago versus the Mountaineers? That loss to the Rebels isn’t quite as digestible now that the Rebels have dropped back-to-back games.

9. Kansas State 7-1
Last Week: W, Oklahoma State, 48-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats had no problems with Oklahoma State, thanks to the play of QB Jake Waters, the special teams and the D. Kansas State has won five in a row, with its only loss coming to 7-1 Auburn by six points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The ‘Cats caught a break in the Oct. 18 win over Oklahoma game, when Sooner PK Michael Hunnicutt contracted a rare case of the yips. It’s their only victory over a ranked opponent, making upcoming games with TCU, West Virginia and Baylor critical for the playoff drive.

10. Notre Dame 7-1
Last Week: W, Navy, 49-39
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Irish came within a questionable pass interference call from being the only team to defeat Florida State this season. That effort—in Tallahassee—provided proof that Notre Dame can hang with one of the premier teams in the county.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: At one point in the second half Saturday night, the Irish trailed Navy, a sub-.500 service academy. Furthermore, who has Notre Dame defeated this fall? Its best win came over Stanford, which is now an unranked four-loss program.

11. TCU 7-1
Last Week: W, West Virginia, 31-30
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Frogs went into hostile Morgantown, trailed throughout and yet captured a win over a ranked opponent for the second time this season. TCU’s only loss was a three-pointer to Baylor in Waco in a game it led throughout.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The loss to the Bears is going to haunt the Horned Frogs like a bad nightmare. They blew a three-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter to a team that would go on to fall to the Mountaineers a week later.

12. Nebraska 8-1
Last Week: W, Purdue, 35-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers are rolling. Seven of their eight wins have been by double-digits, including the last three over Purdue, Rutgers and Northwestern. And Big Red’s only defeat of 2014 was a five-pointer at Michigan State in East Lansing.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Marquee wins, anyone? Nebraska’s calling card came in the loss to the Spartans, a game it trailed, 27-3, at the start of the final quarter. The Huskers can hang their hat on beating Miami, which was struggling in September, for only so long.

13. Oklahoma 6-2
Last Week: W, Iowa State, 59-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners own a 45-33 victory over West Virginia, which has turned out to be far more impressive than it appeared back on Sept. 20. And while they’ve lost a pair of games, both of those defeats came to surging Big 12 foes, TCU and Kansas State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Thank goodness for the ascent of the Mountaineers, or else the Sooners would have no quality wins in 2014. Oklahoma’s loss to the Wildcats was in Norman, and it played poorly in the Red River Rivalry with Texas.

14. West Virginia 6-3
Last Week: L, TCU, 31-30
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Mountaineers came within a walk-off field goal from beating a top 10 team for the second time in the last three games. They’ve got three losses, but to three very good teams, Alabama, Oklahoma and now TCU.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: West Virginia turned the ball over five times, sloppily squandering a chance to win a fifth straight game. The team has also struggled with unranked Maryland and sub-.500 Texas Tech by a field goal apiece.

15. Baylor 7-1
Last Week: W, Kansas, 60-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bears bounced back from their only loss, in Morgantown to West Virginia, to pound the Jayhawks. Baylor is the only team in 2014 to beat TCU, which is surging in the rankings.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Baylor has played a tissue-soft schedule, with the only quality win coming against the Horned Frogs in a game it trailed throughout and allowed 58 points. That lone defeat looks slightly less acceptable now that West Virginia has lost for the third time.

16. Ohio State 7-1
Last Week: W, Illinois, 55-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Since losing on Sept. 6, the Buckeyes have run the table, routing most of their opponents during a six-game winning streak. The offense is geared up for next week’s showdown with Michigan State, averaging 45 points per game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Ohio State has built its resume on a litany of lightweights, none of whom are even remotely close to the Top 25. The Buckeyes only chance for significant gains will come from upsetting the Spartans in East Lansing next weekend.

17. UCLA 7-2
Last Week: W, Arizona, 17-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bruins remained in the hunt for the Pac-12 South with a critical win over Arizona, their second victory this season over a ranked conference team. UCLA also battered division-leader Arizona State, 62-27, for the Sun Devils’ only loss this season.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It’s been rare for the Bruins to pass the eye test this season. They’ve survived by eight points or fewer to five unranked opponents, including Virginia, Colorado and Cal.

18. Arizona State 7-1
Last Week: W, Utah, 19-16
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: It wasn’t their best effort of 2014, but the Sun Devils survived to beat the Utes and remain atop the Pac-12 South. ASU’s lone loss was to ranked UCLA in a game that starting quarterback Taylor Kelly was unavailable to play.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It took a Hail Mary to beat USC on Oct. 4 in a game that ASU was outplayed throughout. Arizona States didn’t just fall to UCLA on Sept. 25. They were crushed, 62-27, by a Bruin team that saw far tougher challenges from the likes of Virginia, Memphis and Colorado.

19. Arizona 6-2
Last Week: L, UCLA, 17-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Oregon team that’s ascending toward the top of the rankings? Yeah, the Wildcats beat it back on Oct. 2 … in Autzen Stadium. Arizona has fallen to two pretty good Los Angeles schools, USC and UCLA, by an average of only six points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The ‘Cats are coming off their worst effort of the 2014 campaign, stumbling on offense to a UCLA D that’s had problems all fall. Besides the Ducks, they’ve beaten a handful of pushovers and Group of Five lightweights.

20. Utah 6-2
Last Week: L, Arizona State, 19-16
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Utes are just six points away from being undefeated. If not for some uncharacteristically erratic placekicking from Andy Phillips, they’d have stunned Arizona State in Tempe Saturday night to take over the Pac-12 South lead.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Utah’s other loss is an unforgivable one, at Rice-Eccles Stadium to a Washington State team that’s now 2-7. It’s already obvious that the Utah offense will not be the same without the threat of Dres Anderson on the outside.

21. Duke 7-1
Last Week: W, Pittsburgh, 51-48
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Blue Devils remained atop the ACC Coastal with a gut-check win over Pitt at Heinz Field. Duke has won three in a row, with their only loss coming at a surging Miami team that’s now 6-3.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Duke was gashed by the Panthers, specifically RB James Conner. Had it not been for a hooked Chris Blewitt field goal, the Blue Devils would never have gotten Saturday’s game to overtime. Duke has yet to face a ranked opponent this year.

22. Wisconsin 6-2
Last Week: W, Rutgers, 37-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Badgers continue to hang with the rest of the pack in the Big Ten West, comfortably winning the last three games. That four-point, neutral-field loss to LSU in the opener continues to look better as the Tigers surge in the polls.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: No quality wins, let alone one over a ranked opponent. None. And Wisconsin’s other defeat came at the hands of a 3-5 Northwestern team that was obliterated by Iowa, 48-7, in Week 10.

23. USC 6-3
Last Week: W, Washington State, 44-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans moved to 5-2 in the deep and competitive Pac-12 South, just a game in the loss column behind Arizona State. They’ve beaten Arizona in Tucson, and all of their losses were by no more than six points.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Troy has defeated a bunch of bad or overrated teams, such as Stanford, an outcome not nearly as impressive as it seemed in Week 2. USC has not only fallen three times, but one of those defeats was to Boston College, in which it allowed 452 rushing yards.

24. Miami 6-3
Last Week: W, North Carolina, 47-20
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The ‘Canes are one of the ACC’s hottest teams. They’ve captured their last three games by at least three touchdowns, and they’re the only program this season to defeat 7-1 Duke.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Miami has fallen three times by double-digits, to Louisville, Nebraska and Georgia Tech. Beating the Blue Devils was nice, but the Hurricanes have otherwise feasted on a lot of second-rate and fading opponents.

25. Georgia Tech 7-2
Last Week: W, Virginia, 35-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The surprising Yellow Jackets remained in the divisional hunt by routing a fellow Coastal member for a second straight weekend. Tech has also defeated Miami, which is now the hottest thing in the ACC this side of Tallahassee.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: There’s the Miami win … and not a whole lot else on the resume. The Yellow Jackets lost to Duke on the Flats, and bowed to North Carolina, which slipped back under .500 in Week 10.

26. Georgia 6-2
27. Texas A&M 6-3
28. Clemson 6-2
29. Arkansas 4-5
30. Louisville 6-3
31. Washington 6-3
32. Iowa 6-2
33. Missouri 7-2
34. Stanford 5-4
35. Oklahoma State 5-4
36. Minnesota 6-2
37. Florida 4-3
38. Tennessee 4-5
39. Kentucky 5-4
40. South Carolina 4-5
41. California 5-4
42. UCF 5-3
43. Pittsburgh 4-5
44. Boston College 6-3
45. Northwestern 3-5
46. Virginia 4-5
47. Maryland 6-3
48. Boise State 6-2
49. Colorado State 8-1
50. East Carolina 6-2
51. Virginia Tech 4-5
52. North Carolina 4-5
53. Texas 4-5
54. Purdue 3-6
55. Nevada 6-3
56. Washington State 2-7
57. Marshall 8-0
58. Michigan 4-5
59. Penn State 4-4
60. Rutgers 5-4
61. Oregon State 4-4
62. Colorado 2-7
63. Illinois 4-5
64. Texas Tech 3-6
65. BYU 5-4
66. Houston 5-3
67. Memphis 5-3
68. Iowa State 2-6
69. Middle Tennessee 5-4
70. Western Michigan 6-3
71. UAB 5-4
72. Bowling Green 5-3
73. Indiana 3-5
74. Toledo 5-3
75. Cincinnati 5-3
76. Air Force 6-2
77. Navy 3-5
78. NC State 5-4
79. UL Lafayette 5-3
80. Arkansas State 5-3
81. Utah State 6-3
82. Vanderbilt 3-6
83. Georgia Southern 7-2
84. Kansas 2-6
85. Temple 5-3
86. Ball State 3-5
87. Central Michigan 6-4
88. Ohio 4-5
89. Northern Illinois 6-2
90. Syracuse 3-6
91. Louisiana Tech 6-3
92. South Florida 3-6
93. San Jose State 3-5
94. Akron 4-4
95. San Diego State 4-4
96. Rice 5-3
97. UTEP 5-3
98. New Mexico 3-5
99. North Texas 2-6
100. Old Dominion 3-6
101. ULM 3-5
102. UNLV 2-7
103. Wake Forest 2-6
104. Hawaii 2-7
105. Wyoming 4-5
106. Fresno State 3-6
107. Florida International 3-6
108. Florida Atlantic 3-6
109. Connecticut 2-6
110. Western Kentucky 3-5
111. Texas State 5-3
112. Army 2-6
113. South Alabama 5-3
114. UTSA 2-6
115. Tulsa 1-7
116. Tulane 2-6
117. Massachusetts 2-7
118. Miami Univ. 2-8
119. Southern Miss 3-6
120. Eastern Michigan 2-7
121. Buffalo 3-5
122. Kent State 1-7
123. Appalachian State 3-5
124. Idaho 1-7
125. SMU 0-7
126. Troy 1-8
127. New Mexico State 2-7
128. Georgia State 1-8

Scout CFB Top Stories