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2012 College Football Rankings: Week 15 BCS, AP and USA Today Polls

In this day and age of sports media hyping up every big outing as the Game of the Millennium, most highly anticipated showdowns fail to live up to expectations. This Saturday’s war between Alabama and Georgia was everything folks thought it had the potential to be, and then ten times more.

When it was all said and done, Alabama prevailed because it was just that much better than Georgia. Nine seconds, five yards and four points better. If Mark Richt or Aaron Murray had the presence of mind to take two shots into the end zone at the end of the game rather than committing to an ill-fated broken play, they might have emerged as the SEC’s National Championship Game representatives. Alas, that was not the case.

Behind 344 combined yards from Eddie Lacy (9.1 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns) and T.J. Yeldon (6.1 yards per carry, 1 touchdown), the Crimson Tide ended up winning the SEC title exactly the way they had won their first 11 games of the season. The offensive line was amazing. A.J. McCarron (162 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception) made key plays when they mattered. And the defense, despite lacking the sort of pro-caliber superstars that Georgia boasts on that side of the ball, was able to withstand a big day from Todd Gurley (122 yards, 2 touchdowns) and a solid one from Murray (265 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception).

For better or worse, the BCS Championship Game will feature two squads that should be there based on how college football seeding works at this point in time. Nobody got robbed.

Stanford and UCLA put on a fantastic show this past Friday night. Oregon understandably soaked up most of the attention that came the Pac-12’s way in 2012, however, it is worth noting now that this conference, as a whole, was really solid. Stanford, UCLA, Oregon State – those three teams -- plus Oregon -- could beat the four best teams from any conference in college football aside from the SEC.

Friday’s Pac-12 battle was a rematch of a game that had taken place six days earlier. In that one, Stanford obliterated UCLA 35-17. After the fact, Los Angeles Times writer T.J. Simers accused Jim Mora Jr. of tanking because doing so would ensure a rematch less than a week later. Mora was insulted at the suggestion, and some morons bought the act.

A very different Bruins team showed up to play for a place in the Rose Bowl this week. That’s all I’m going to say.

When it was all said and done, despite 277 yards on the ground from Johnathan Franklin (194 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Brett Hundley (83 yards, 1 touchdown), UCLA fell 27-24. The game was just as close as the final score indicates. All of the Bruins’ detractors believed that the thing separating them from Stanford was being able to stop the run. That the Cardinal could stop their opponents’ running attacks, but that the Bruins couldn’t do the same. Well, yeah, that was wrong. Stanford couldn’t stop UCLA’s rushing game, and UCLA completely stifled Stepfan Taylor (78 total yards; 3.4 yards per carry). The difference in this one ultimately proved to be Kevin Hogan (155 yards, 1 touchdown) being just a little bit better than Hundley (177 yards, 1 interception).

Any which way you want to look at it, though, this was a great year for both of these programs. UCLA put itself on the college football map; Stanford was a botched ruling in the Notre Dame game away from finishing top five in the nation.

Over in the Big Ten, Wisconsin whipped Nebraska’s butt 70-31. The Badgers, despite being 8-5 on the year, are headed to the Rose Bowl. It is what it is. Everyone knows Wisconsin, at best, is the third best team in the Big Ten. Along the same lines, anyone who watched Big Ten football this year knows that Nebraska was not as good as its 10 total victories would indicate. This game was a  fitting conclusion to a very embarrassing year for a conference that had one of its worst runs in recent memory.

(Side Note: After Urban Meyer showed one and all in the Big Ten how much good coaching matters, it may be time for Nebraska brass to reevaluate whether Bo Pelini is really the guy to lead this program into the future.)

Kansas State, Florida State and Boise State emerged from this weekend victorious, too. Oklahoma barely squeaked out a victory over TCU in one of Saturday’s better outings. South Florida embarrassed itself versus Pitt, and Skip Holtz predictably got shown the door.

Check out the fallout from this weekend’s action in the rankings below, and then check out a full breakdown of what bowls everyone is going to here


1. Notre Dame

2. Alabama

3. Florida

4. Oregon

5. Kansas State

6. Stanford

7. Georgia

8. LSU

9. Texas A&M

10. South Carolina

11. Oklahoma

12. Florida State

13. Oregon State

14. Clemson

15. Northern Illinois

16. Nebraska

17. UCLA

18. Michigan

19. Boise State

20. Northwestern

21. Louisville

22. Utah State

23. Texas

24. San Jose State

25. Kent State


1. Notre Dame

2. Alabama

3. Ohio State

4. Florida

5. Oregon

6. Georgia

7. Kansas State

8. Stanford

9. LSU

10. Texas A&M

11. South Carolina

12. Oklahoma State

13. Florida State

14. Clemson

15. Oregon State

16. Northern Illinois

17. UCLA

18. Utah State

19. Michigan

20. Boise State

21. Northwestern

22. Louisville

23. Nebraska

24. San Jose State

25. Kent State

USA Today

1. Notre Dame

2. Alabama

3. Oregon

4. Florida

5. Georgia

6. Kansas State

7. LSU

8. Stanford

9. Texas A&M

10. South Carolina

11. Oklahoma

12. Florida State

13. Clemson

14. Oregon State

15. Boise State

16. Northern Illinois

17. Northwestern

18. Louisville

19. UCLA

20. Utah State

21. Nebraska

22. Michigan

23. Wisconsin

24. San Jose State

25. Texas

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