College Football Rankings' Next 5: And San Diego State Makes Three

Assessing the pitfalls and fortunes of the top five teams in the "also receiving votes" category that serves as college football's casting couch. This week: Who's the third team from the Mountain West threatening to enter the polls? The answer may surprise you!

Five teams in the "Also Receiving Votes" category of the AP and Coaches' Polls have better-than-even chances of cracking (or, in some cases, rejoining) the ranks of the 2010 college football rankings. Included in the waiting room are three old favorites, a newcomer from the Mountain West, and Robert Griffin carrying Baylor on his back.


• USC
Where They're At: 6-3; First team waiting in the AP Poll; ineligible for votes in the Coaches' Poll.
What Went Wrong: The Trojans lost two games they had every right to (Stanford, Oregon) and one they really shouldn't have (Washington).
What's Next: One more major hurdle involving a road trip to Arizona followed by three very winnable dates with Oregon State, Notre Dame, and UCLA.

• San Diego State
Where They're At: 7-2, which is only good for third place in a strong Mountain West. Second unranked team in both the AP and Coaches' Polls.
What Went Wrong: Being San Diego State in the same conference as TCU and Utah is problematic.
What's Next: Speaking of which! A road trip to TCU and a home stand against Utah before the breather of a regular-season finale against UNLV.

• Miami
Where They're At: 6-3; third team under "Also Receiving Votes" in the AP Poll and standing on the top rung of the Coaches' Poll.
What Went Wrong: The 'Canes are one of the most wildly (and entertainingly) inconsistent teams in the country, playing strong squads like Ohio State close and getting thumped by a Florida State team that's no world-beater.
What's Next: Who knows? Virginia Tech's probably a loss, but Miami could beat Georgia Tech and South Florida by twenty or lose by thirty.

• Penn State
Where They're At: 6-3, with three straight conference wins following two consecutive Big Ten losses.
What Went Wrong: One of those losses was at the capable hands of the Hawkeyes in Iowa City, but no team with aspirations of rankings relevance should be losing to Illinois, let alone by 20 points.
What's Next: Two very, very rough games with Ohio State and Michigan State, and a home stand with Indiana in between. Joe Paterno's 400th win and Penn State being Penn State should sway some voters their way if the Nittany Lions have reasonable success against both ranked teams.

• Baylor
Where They're At: 7-3 and a surprising second place in the Big 12 South. Fifth team receiving votes in the AP and Coaches' Polls.
What Went Wrong: The Bears fell off their perch in the 20s thanks to a shootout blowout by Oklahoma State.
What's Next: Two more ranked teams in a row to wrap up the regular season: Baylor will host Texas A&M in Week 11 and Oklahoma in Week 12.

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