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College Football Rankings: Oregon Takes Top Spot In Week 12 USA Today Poll

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College Football Rankings: The Winners And Losers Of The Week 12 Polls

The best part of the college football polls every week is the discussion they bring. With that in mind, a rundown of the winners and losers from this week's rankings.

Winners

Boise State is the big winner in this week's polls. The Broncos were the only unbeaten team to move up and benefited from a close win by TCU, sliding up to third in both the AP and USA Today polls. This puts Boise State in pole position to claim the automatic BCS bid as the highest-ranking team from a non-automatic qualifier conference and play in the Rose Bowl come January. If they hold on to that spot, the Boise State athletic department should send some roses to San Diego State.

Stanford and Oklahoma State are also winners, moving up past idle teams by beating conference foes. It doesn't do much but improve BCS positioning for each team, but they got to climb without other teams losing, which is rare.

And congratulations are due to Northwestern, which sneaks into the USA Today top 25 just in time for College GameDay to come to town for the Wildcats' Wrigley Field game against Illinois.

Losers

For the second straight week, Utah leads this category. Losing to Notre Dame will do that. The Utes, who could have been the leading non-BCS conference team with a win over TCU two weeks ago, now find themselves barely clinging to their spots in the final five teams of both the USA Today and AP polls.

TCU is obviously smarting, too, moving from third to fourth in both polls and falling behind Boise State in a race for the Rose Bowl.

Michigan State takes a beating in both polls, falling behind Oklahoma State in the USA Today poll and behind Alabama in the AP Poll. That's especially painful because it looks like the Big Ten championship will be decided by the final BCS standings.

Happily, the coaches are back to making very little sense this week. Wisconsin six spots ahead of the Michigan State team it lost to? Oklahoma two slots ahead of the Missouri team that upset it? Michigan still receiving votes? Yes, yes, and yes.

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College Football Rankings: Big East Shut Out Of Week 12 USA Today Poll

The Big East is terrible. We all know this.

No Big East teams are ranked in the USA Today coaches poll for Week 12, and the only one even receiving votes is Syracuse.

Syracuse, in turn, is highly unlikely to win the Big East and the automatic BCS berth that comes with a conference championship, despite being one of just three currently bowl-eligible BCS teams. That's the consequence of a 45-14 loss to Pittsburgh earlier this season.

The smart money's favorite to win the Big East might actually be South Florida. The Bulls get Pittsburgh at home this week, and would be able to take a share of the Big East lead with a win over the Panthers.

But that share of the lead would also assume that West Virginia doesn't come on strong for the rest of the season. The Mountaineers have to travel to Pitt, but could be the Big East champion if they win out.

Basically, whichever Big East team wins the automatic BCS bid is likely to embarrass the conference by losing in January. So it's all a competition for a dubious honor at this point.

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College Football Rankings: Pac-10 Has Three Teams In USA Today Poll For Week 12

The Pac-10 may be Oregon, Stanford, and a number of dwarves, but one of those dwarves has proved resistant to falling out of the rankings.

That dwarf, Arizona, makes it three Pac-10 outfits in the USA Today coaches poll for Week 12. Oregon takes the top spot, as it has for the better part of a month, and Stanford moves up to eighth after a gritty win against Arizona State.

Beyond those three teams, though, the Pac-10 isn't much. No other teams even receive votes in the Week 12 poll, and the only other Pac-10 team with more than five wins is USC, which isn't eligible for a bowl after the NCAA investigation into Reggie Bush's eligibility.

On the bright side: Oregon and Stanford are very good, and the Ducks should carry the Pac-10 banner to the BCS National Championship Game. Even if the Cardinal are likely to be aced out of a BCS bowl berth by quirks of the selection procedure, Oregon will probably do the conference proud.

So there's that, at least.

Full Pac-10 rankings are as follows:

- No. 1 Oregon
- No. 8 Stanford
- No. 23 Arizona

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College Football Rankings: Virginia Tech Leads ACC In Week 12 USA Today Poll

The ACC has a lot more luck than talent this year. But it's bad luck that has Virginia Tech leading the conference and not competing for a BCS National Championship Game berth.

The Hokies are ranked 15th in the USA Today coaches poll for Week 12, the first of only two ranked ACC schools. (Miami is 21st.) But the Hokies have won eight straight games, and could be in the top five of the polls had they not fallen to James Madison after losing to Boise State.

It's not a terrible fate for Virginia Tech — the Hokies could still appear in a BCS bowl as the ACC's representative with a win in the ACC Championship Game, and all but have the Atlantic Division locked up — but it's worth wondering how disappointing this season must be for Virginia Tech fans, whose team has lost to one of the best teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision and a team that is having major problems scoring against Football Championship Subdivision competition.

Full ACC rankings are as follows:

- No. 15 Virginia Tech
- No. 21 Miami

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College Football Rankings: Oregon Leads Week 12 AP Poll As Boise State Rises

As expected, the AP Poll confirms that Oregon's on top of the college football world — and that Boise State's snuck ahead of TCU.

The Ducks top the Week 12 AP Poll, just as they did the USA Today coaches poll for Week 12, and the Broncos move up to third, switching spots with TCU. That makes it likely that Boise State, not TCU, will earn a BCS auto-bid as the highest ranked team in the final BCS rankings.

Oregon is followed by Auburn, Boise State, TCU, and LSU in the top five.

Elsewhere, Alabama returns to the top ten after a blowout win over Mississippi State, USC roars back to the top 25 after defeating Arizona, and Utah falls to 25th after an upset loss at Notre Dame.

The SEC leads all conferences with six ranked squads. The Big 12 has five ranked teams, and the Big Ten four. The Big East has no ranked teams for the fourth straight week.

Full poll is as follows:

  1. Oregon
  2. Auburn
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. LSU
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Stanford
  8. Ohio State
  9. Nebraska
  10. Alabama
  11. Michigan State
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. Arkansas
  14. Virginia Tech
  15. Missouri
  16. Oklahoma
  17. South Carolina
  18. Texas A&M
  19. Nevada
  20. USC
  21. Iowa
  22. Mississippi State
  23. Arizona
  24. Miami
  25. Utah
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College Football Rankings: Big Ten Places Five Teams In Week 12 USA Today Poll

The Big Ten's five ranked teams are an example of how different paths can lead to respect in the college football world.

The USA Today coaches poll for Week 12 includes Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa, and Northwestern, and all of those teams' seasons are wildly different.

For Wisconsin, an unusually potent offense has led the way, and only a loss to Michigan State has kept the Badgers from serious BCS National Championship Game contention. Ohio State has relied on a rock-ribbed defense to win games, and two interceptions returned for touchdowns against Penn State on Saturday was just the latest evidence of that.

Michigan State rolled up a long winning streak without leaving the state of Michigan, then went to Iowa and got rolled. Iowa's rough schedule has left the Hawkeyes scarred, and their recent troubles with Northwestern recurred on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Northwestern has made a habit of clutch play in close games, and the Wildcats broke through against one of the Big Ten's big boys on Saturday, upsetting Iowa on a late Dan Persa touchdown pass.

Full Big Ten rankings are as follows:

- No. 5 Wisconsin
- No. 7 Ohio State
- No. 11 Michigan State
- No. 20 Iowa
- No. 25 Northwestern

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College Football Rankings: Big 12 Stands Strong In USA Today Poll Week 12

The Big 12 has been making up for a lack of top-tier quality with quantity all season, and Week 12 is no different.

Five Big 12 teams appear in the Week 12 USA Today coaches poll, but all five teams are also in the top 19 teams ranked. Even better, the top four teams all show up in the top 16. One-loss Nebraska and Oklahoma State are ninth and 10th, and two-loss Oklahoma and Missouri are 14th and 16th.

Surprising Texas A&M brings up the rear for the conference thanks to its late-season surge. The Aggies are ranked 19th, up from 25th last week, after a comeback win against Baylor.

It's likely that the two top-ranked teams, Nebraska and Oklahoma State, will meet for the Big 12's BCS berth in the Big 12 Championship Game. The winner of that game will likely represent the conference in the Fiesta Bowl.

Full Big 12 rankings are as follows:

- No. 9 Nebraska
- No. 10 Oklahoma State
- No. 14 Oklahoma
- No. 16 Missouri
- No. 19 Texas A&M

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College Football Rankings: SEC Leads The Way In Week 12 USA Today Poll

The SEC's "down year" is a myth. It has to be, right?

Six SEC teams show up in the USA Today coaches poll for Week 12, pacing all Football Bowl Subdivision conferences, and five are in the top 17.

As usual, five of the SEC's ranked schools are from the unusually strong SEC West, and even Mississippi State's loss to Alabama can't knock the Bulldogs out of the the top 25. The only West team without a shiny number next to a name is Mississippi, which was routed by Tennessee on Saturday. South Carolina, the SEC East champion after a dominant win over Florida in Gainesville, moves up to 17th. Florida falls out of the poll after the loss.

The Gamecocks will meet Auburn in the 2010 SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, and will likely be able to play spoiler for the Tigers' BCS chances. That is, if the ongoing NCAA investigation into Cam Newton's eligibility and an Iron Bowl showdown with Alabama don't derail Auburn first.

Full SEC rankings are as follows:

- No. 2 Auburn
- No. 6 LSU
- No. 12 Alabama
- No. 13 Arkansas
- No. 17 South Carolina
- No. 22 Mississippi State

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College Football Rankings: Oregon Takes Top Spot In Week 12 USA Today Poll

Even after their closest win of the season, the Oregon Ducks soar above the college football landscape.

The Ducks top the just-released USA Today coaches poll, and should be atop both of the college football polls this week, despite a close 15-13 win against Cal on Saturday.

Oregon takes the top spot for the fourth straight week, and is followed by Auburn, Boise State, TCU, and Wisconsin. The only difference in the top five's ordering this week is a reversal of Boise State and TCU after the Broncos stomped Idaho and the Horned Frogs struggled with San Diego State.

The rest of the top ten remains mostly stagnant after a relatively upset-free week. Stanford and Nebraska trade places after the Cardinal's win over Arizona State, and Oklahoma State swaps spots with Michigan State to move into the top 10 at 10th after a rout of Texas.

Five SEC teams appear in the top 17 of the poll. The only team from the state of Florida to appear in the poll is Miami, which re-enters the rankings after thumping Georgia Tech. And Northwestern, coming off a dramatic upset of Iowa, sneaks into the rankings at 25th.

The Week 11 AP Poll will be released later this afternoon.

Full poll is as follows:

  1. Oregon
  2. Auburn
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. Wisconsin
  6. LSU
  7. Ohio State
  8. Nebraska
  9. Stanford
  10. Oklahoma State
  11. Michigan State
  12. Alabama
  13. Arkansas
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Virginia Tech
  16. Missouri
  17. South Carolina
  18. Nevada
  19. Texas A&M
  20. Iowa
  21. Miami
  22. Mississippi State
  23. Arizona
  24. Utah
  25. Northwestern
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