The Top Fan's Top 25 - Final Regular Season Rankings
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When Alabama lost to Auburn a week ago, it appeared the SEC's run of seven straight national titles could possibly come to an end. But with Ohio State losing to Michigan State, and Auburn defeating Missouri, it now appears that the Tigers (of Auburn) have worked their way into the national title game to take on Florida State in Pasadena. The major conference champions for the 2013 season are Florida State, Auburn, Stanford, Baylor and Michigan State...Here are my rankings as the regular season comes to a close...
1. Florida State (13-0) - Early on, it appeared that Duke was up to the task of giving FSU a 60-minute thriller in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. The Blue Devils did not surrender a point in the first quarter and had a few nice plays on offense. But after the early-game jitters wore off, the Seminoles turned up the heat and pulled away for a 45-7 win and the conference crown. Up next for Florida State is a chance to win the school's third national title (1993, 1999) against Auburn (most-likely). FSU has dominated everyone on their schedule thus far, but winning a crystal football is anything but guaranteed.
2. Auburn (12-1) - Talk about carrying the mail! Running back Tre Mason took the rock 46 times for 304 yards and four touchdowns to lead Gus Malzahn's high-powered offense to the SEC title. Mason was an absolute beast running the ball for Auburn, picking up chunks of big yards all afternoon. Toilet paper is a hot commodity back on campus this morning as Toomer's Corner got rolled in a major way last night - trees or no trees! Auburn will now most-likely get voted to play Florida State in Pasadena for the final BCS national title on January 6th.
3. Alabama (11-1) - The Tide had dreams of a national title all season long, but due to one missed 57-yard field goal that went terribly, terribly wrong, Alabama will now sit at home and watch their arch-rival Auburn play for the national title. Alabama will go to the BCS for sure, but for a school that has three national titles in four years, heartache will follow them to their bowl game. Despite suffering the loss on the road to Auburn eight days ago, this is still a very potent team that few teams should honestly, logically want a piece of.
4. Michigan State (12-1) - In the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis against Ohio State, the Spartans flexed their muscle....on offense! Yes, a team known for its defense put 34 points up on a pretty good OSU defense to win their first league title since 2010. Michigan State has a legit argument to why they should be the team to face FSU in the national title game, but I feel that argument will come up just short to Auburn's argument. Still, to be in the talks of playing for the national title, after the regular season is over, shows how far this program has come under Mark D'Antonio. The Rose Bowl Game against Stanford is up next.
5. Stanford (11-2) - Speaking of Stanford, the Cardinal earned a trip to the Rose Bowl with a win over Arizona State, 38-14, to win the Pac-12 title for the second-straight season. They will now face Michigan State in a game that will match two teams known for their hard-nosed style of play. Both of Stanford's losses were close (27-21 at Utah and 20-17 at USC) and the "coulda, woulda, shoulda" way of thinking must be haunting this team. But they haven't shown it, winning their final three games to close the regular season.
6. South Carolina (10-2) - The loss to Tennessee in week eight is absolutely killing the Gamecocks right now. If not for that last-second loss, South Carolina would have won the SEC East and been the team facing Auburn yesterday, and who knows what would have happened. But things are what they are. The Gamecocks have a phenomenal player on both sides of the ball as Jadaveon Clowney on the defensive line, and Connor Shaw at quarterback, are as good as you will find at the collegiate level .Steve Spurrier has this team playing very good football right now, and the bowl opponent best be ready.
7. Baylor (11-1) - The Bears will move into a brand new stadium next season, and what better way to send the old stadium out than with a win over Texas to win the Big 12 title! Yes, Floyd Casey Stadium will be replaced next year by a fancy on-campus stadium, but a huge win for Baylor will be remembered for years to come as the "lights go out" game. Baylor, who finished the season number one in the country in points scored at 54 per game, will now move on to the Fiesta Bowl to face a team to be named later this evening, perhaps Central Florida.
8. Ohio State (12-1) - Urban Meyer suffered his first loss in two full seasons as head coach of the Buckeyes in a 34-24 defeat to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game last night. All season, Michigan State was known for having a good defense but no offense, but last night they changed that perception with the 34 points laid on OSU. The Buckeyes - who for weeks needed either Alabama or FSU to go down in order to move into the national title game - did not take advantage of the Alabama loss to Auburn last week. Just seven days later, and one game away from playing in the biggest game of them all, they go down.
9. Oregon (10-2) - The Ducks have quacked their way back into my top ten with the losses suffered by Oklahoma State and Missouri. This team is fast and talented and well-coached, and despite the two losses, a BCS game is still a possibility. We will find out this evening who and where and when the Ducks will play in their bowl game. A national title was the goal of the season in Eugene, but it didn't pan out. Still, if Oregon continues to recruit well and stay around the top ten, one of these years they will win one. After all, four teams - rather than two - will start getting a shot at glory following this final BCS season.
10. Missouri (11-2) - For three quarters, Auburn and Missouri traded blows in an epic SEC Championship Game from Atlanta. But when the dust cleared, Mizzou saw the other Tigers pull away in the fourth quarter. An SEC East crown is a huge accomplishment for Missouri in just their second season in conference play. They showed the league they are here to play good football and stick around. The bowl opponent for Mizzou will be named later tonight, perhaps Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.
11. Oklahoma State (10-2)
12. UCLA (9-3)
13. Clemson (10-2)
14. LSU (9-3)
15. Oklahoma (10-2)
16. Central Florida (11-1)
17. Louisville (11-1)
18. Wisconsin (9-3)
19. Arizona State (10-3)
20. Georgia (8-4)
21. Washington (8-4)
22. Iowa (8-4)
23. Duke (10-3)
24. Texas A&M (8-4)
25. Minnesota (8-4)
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