Football.com Power Dozen: ACC Gets Mad Love
Thanks to Stanford's win against a good Washington team and Georgia's near-loss, the gap between the Top 5 and the rest is larger than ever. Only 10 poll points separate Clemson at No. 3 and Stanford at No. 5. Then it's a gap of 40 back to Georgia and Florida State.
Speaking of the Seminoles, they are the most likely team to shake up that Top 5 as they have two weeks to prep for a showdown at Clemson. The ACC is getting a lot of respect, with the Tigers rising up the polls seemingly a few points each week. Even Miami leapfrogged South Carolina and crept right behind UCLA thanks to one seventh-place vote.
It's inexplicable to me how Ohio State could beat Wisconsin and then Northwestern on the road, both ranked teams — the latter in dominating fashion if not for multiple turnovers — and still lose ground to Clemson, who hasn't played anyone since beating South Carolina more than a month ago. Call me crazy, but I can't penalize a team for handling ranked opponents.
Nonetheless, Clemson and Florida State give the SEC, Pac-12 and ACC two teams each in the top half of our Power Dozen (the Seminoles tied Georgia for sixth). All three pairs may play. Alabama and Georgia wouldn't meet until the SEC championship game, a precarious projection considering Georgia is missing at least four of its top offensive weapons. But Oregon-Stanford and Clemson-Florida State will happen.
Methodology: First-place votes equate to zero points. Voters rank their Top 13 to help differentiate marginal teams. Teams ranked 2-13 get a point total equivalent to their rank. If a team is not ranked in a person's Top 13, they are automatically assigned 15 points. The lowest aggregate score is ranked No. 1, second-lowest No. 2 and so forth.
|3||Clemson||5-0||54||+16||vs. Boston College||4|
|4||Ohio State||6-0||56||+2||vs. Iowa (Oct. 19)||3|
|T6||Florida State||5-0||104||—||at No. 3 Clemson (Oct. 19)||8|
|8||Louisville||5-0||122||+18||vs. Rutgers (Thursday)||7|
|9||Texas A&M||4-1||136||+14||at Ole Miss||9|
Less Than Max Score Of 225: Miami (196), South Carolina (210), Baylor (217), Michigan (222).
Dropped Out: None.
Power Dozen Scuttlebutt
|1||Alabama||Tide gets break from sneaky tough early sked (VT, A&M, Ole Miss).|
|2||Oregon||Baylor to Ducks: Only 56 points? Slackers! How lazy.|
|3||Clemson||Bizarre steady rise despite no competition in a month.|
|4||Ohio State||Back-to-back wins against ranked teams, the latter on the road.|
|5||Stanford||Downfield passing game proved a fraud. D, run game still elite.|
|6||Georgia||Aaron Murray better watch his back. All of his skill players are hurt.|
|7||Florida State||Handed Maryland worst loss by Top-25 team ever (63 points).|
|8||Louisville||Slip again through no fault of their own. Must play vulture.|
|9||Texas A&M||Aggies get another chance to play with their food against Rebels.|
|10||LSU||Needed Fast & Furious style NOS button in fourth quarter.|
|11||Oklahoma||Can the Sooners put Texas coach Mack Brown out of his misery?|
|12||UCLA||Can hide behind Oregon, Stanford one more week in loaded Pac-12.|
The Top 5 is a tightly-packed bunch. One voter ranked Florida State fifth over Stanford, otherwise the Oregon-Clemson-Ohio State-Stanford group is interchangeable at No. 2-5 on every ballot. A lot of the vote this week feels like splitting hairs with the top dozen teams holding steady. Which is more valuable, a big win against a weak team, a close win against a good one, or something in between (see: LSU)? Voters faced a lot of judgment calls. It's hard to find a split larger than four, though. Texas A&M and LSU, at five, each got there based on a single outlier (one voter slotted the Tigers in the plus-one spot just outside their Power Dozen). Even Oklahoma (10/—), which also got a plus-one on a single ballot, otherwise fell between 10 and 12. UCLA perhaps is the biggest divider, getting included by eight of 14 voters.
Voters: Christopher Smith, David Seigerman, Joe Coughlin, Joe Jenkins, Dan Harralson, Chris Wuensch, Ken Pomponio, Matt Natali, Jon Coffey, Veair Green, Bill Gelman, Chris Stephens, Henry McKenna, Eric Russell.