The Texas A&M football team is currently ranked in the Top 10 because Johnny Manziel has been better on the field than he was in 2012. The Aggies' sophomore quarterback is once again the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.
Manziel made history in 2012 when he became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman. He is attempting to make history again by becoming only the second player to ever win two Heisman Trophies besides Ohio State's Archie Griffin.
Manziel has been at his best in big games. He has proven the doubters wrong and shown that he is the most dominant offensive player in college football today.
This is a look at why Manziel is the front-runner for the 2013 Heisman Trophy.
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Alabama remains the best team in the country. After back-to-back national championships and a 10-0 record this season, some voters are even scared to consider picking another team to hold the top spot.
Not five voters in the recent AP Poll.
Nope, five writers were brave enough to walk on the wild side and give the Seminoles their first-place vote. That's two more than last week. It's becoming quite clear that Jimbo Fisher's team is starting to rub off on more and more people.
Let's meet the select few who don't believe the Crimson Tide are the best team in college football.
Affiliation: Austin American-Statesman
Bohls is a Texas guy, and he has been his whole life. He graduated from the University of Texas and has pretty much covered Texas sports his entire journalism career. No SEC bias here.
However, there have been rumors of Alabama head coach Nick Saban leaving for the Longhorns. Maybe this is his way of getting Saban to leave Tuscaloosa? After all, we all know how the veteran coach loves a challenge.
Or maybe Bohls has seen so much bad football over the last few years with the Longhorns that he actually forgot what winning football is all about.
Maybe one day Texas will climb to the top of the totem pole. With or without Saban on the sidelines.
Affiliation: The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette
OK, bad football has to be the reason Vingle has Florida State as the top team in the country. He is unfortunate enough to cover West Virginia. Watching a team lose five of the last six games and fall short of a bowl appearance for the first time since 2001 can drive you mad.
The Mountaineers just lost to Kansas!
I almost forgot the Jayhawks had a football team in the middle of November with basketball in full swing.
Yeah, it's pretty bad.
Well, at least no crazy SEC fan can run around with the bias chants.
Affiliation: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock
Finally! We have some SEC bias going on.
Murphy is just being loyal to Arkansas by voting for Florida State. He knows that the Razorbacks have lost the last seven games against the Crimson Tide, including a 52-0 beatdown this season. It's his way of providing payback.
If only it were that simple.
Murphy actually covered Alabama sports for 10 years before taking on the Arkansas beat. From 1998 to 2007, he witnessed the Crimson Tide stink it up under various head coaches. If only he would have stayed a little longer for the good stuff.
Maybe he's just angry? Or maybe he really believes Florida State is the better team.
Affiliation: The Advocate
More hate coming from the SEC?
Rabalais covers LSU, a program that is hated rivals with Alabama. It's also the school that lost the 2011 national championship to the Crimson Tide and suffered a 38-17 loss this season. It goes without saying that Alabama has LSU's number as of late.
Not hardly. Rabalais obviously wasn't impressed with the way Alabama played against Mississippi State last week:
And that explains it. Alabama only beat Mississippi State by 13 points, which isn't exactly great for the resume. It clearly has swayed a few voters in Florida State's direction.
Affiliation: The State, Columbia S.C.
Hey, what do you know?
Another SEC writer voting against Alabama. This time it's Kendall, who is a South Carolina beat writer for GoGamecocks.com.
It's hard to argue with this ranking because Kendall knows all too well about grossly talented teams that underachieve. South Carolina was taken to the wire by Florida. So if anybody should be able to spot the main difference between Florida State and Alabama, it's him.
The good news is that as long as both of these teams continue to win, whether you have them at No. 1 or No. 2, they'll both participate in this year's national championship.
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Week 12 didn't give us the upset-filled craziness that we've come to expect from November Saturdays, but if you watched football all day long, you had to be satisfied at the bevy of memorable games.
There was the thriller at Auburn, the return of a dormant USC program and, finally, another big win for a Duke program that has been the doorstep of the ACC for so many years.
Elite teams that emerged back in October have, for the most part, played their roles to perfection. But little by little, college football has chipped away at what we think we know, and with several weeks remaining, assuming anything is the worst thing you can do.
All stats via ESPN
The year of the quarterback has seen the rise of dual-threat stars around the country, but Week 12 may forever be known as the week of the running backs.
Points were cheap and easy to come by on Saturday as several top teams rolled behind career efforts from ground-churning tailbacks.
You don't normally feel bad about leaving guys off a list, but this week is an exception. There were so many extraordinary efforts around the college football landscape that some guys were bound to get ignored. There was quarterback Jameis Winston with another great game, Duke quarterback Brandon Connette accounting for five total touchdowns in the Blue Devils win over Miami and notable running backs like T.J. Yeldon and Tre Mason putting up monster numbers.
Of course, with all the great performances came a handful of bad ones as well, and Nov. 16 will be a Saturday to forget for some.
Let's take a look at the studs and duds of college football from a wild and wacky Week 12.
All stats via ESPN.
While there are still a few more weeks of the college football season remaining, the BCS picture is starting to take shape.
Obviously, any losses the top teams might suffer can dramatically change the outlook of the season. With four major-conference squads still undefeated, any of them can step into a spot in the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game.
Beyond that, there are a number of one-loss teams looking to prove that they are better than their one bad showing. Many of them will get that chance as the season continues.
Everyone is looking for a spot in one of the prestigious bowls at the end of the year, but only a handful of schools will get that privilege. Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer provides a look at his BCS Bowl projections:
Now, here is my look at what fans should expect to see in January.
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Fresno State
After starting the year 9-0 while averaging an NCAA-best 61.2 points per game, Baylor is hoping for a chance to play for a national championship. Unfortunately, the Bears will likely need two of the three teams in front of them to lose.
Additionally, they must first be concerned about themselves with a tough matchup at Oklahoma State on the horizon in Week 13. The Cowboys had one misstep against West Virginia earlier in the year, but they have been dominant since.
If Oklahoma State can knock off Baylor, it could replace the Bears in the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 champion.
As for Fresno State, the Bulldogs are looking to play their way into the game with an undefeated record. A road matchup against San Jose State could be a challenge, as well as the Mountain West Championship Game, but senior quarterback Derek Carr should keep his squad unbeaten.
Still, one loss could leave an opening for Northern Illinois to earn a second BCS appearance in two years.
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Michigan State
After its Week 1 win over Georgia, Clemson was the talk of the town as the potential national champions. However, a blowout loss to Florida State has turned the Tigers into the forgotten team.
Still, Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins lead one of the top offenses in the country, and they will get a chance to prove it on a national stage against South Carolina in the last game of the season. Although the Tigers will not be competing in a conference championship, a win in this rivalry game should clinch a BCS appearance.
Meanwhile, Michigan State has hardly been discussed at a national level despite going 9-1 with the No. 4 defense in college football. Running back Jeremy Langford has also carried the offense with 100 rushing yards in five straight games.
The Spartans did lose to Notre Dame earlier in the year, but they are unlikely to lose again until they face Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. Even a loss should keep them in contention for a BCS berth.
Sugar Bowl: Texas A&M vs. UCF
Coming into the year, most assumed Louisville would run away with the newly named American Athletic Conference. However, UCF is the team that is undefeated in conference with only one close loss on the year.
After escaping the previous game against Temple, the Knights should run the table and get a bid to one of the top bowls.
On the other hand, the SEC bid to the Sugar Bowl is much more up for debate. Assuming Alabama grabs a spot in the title game, there will be one more bid up for grabs from the conference.
At present time, Auburn appears to be in position for this spot after starting 10-1. However, the Tigers still have to face Alabama and are likely to suffer another loss. This will drop them back, while Texas A&M still has a chance to rise in the polls.
Additionally, Johnny Manziel and his exciting style of play is more likely to bring a great deal of excitement. This could be the final tiebreaker for bowl organizers selecting a team.
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oregon
This is one of the most straight-forward games if everything stands as is. Ohio State will not have the computer numbers to jump either Alabama or Florida State in the BCS Standings, which will leave the squad out of the title game.
Still, the Buckeyes are easily the best team in the Big Ten. As the conference champions, they will earn a spot in the Rose Bowl, which is still a nice reward after winning 25 games in a row under Urban Meyer.
Meanwhile, Oregon gets a second life in the Pac-12 North with Stanford losing to USC. The Ducks once again control their own destiny in the conference and will secure a bid in the Rose Bowl by winning out.
Although they were hoping for more this year, the consistency of reaching yet another BCS game is quite impressive.
BCS National Championship: Alabama vs. Florida State
This is supposed to be a matchup of the two best teams in college football, and that is exactly what it would be with these two programs.
Florida State has absolutely destroyed every team it has faced this year, including two Top 10 opponents. Jameis Winston gets most of the publicity as a Heisman Trophy candidate, but the entire roster is full of elite talent that will give the Seminoles a legitimate chance of winning this game.
Of course, Alabama gets the automatic position here after winning the national championship in each of the last two seasons. Although the Crimson Tide have not looked as dominant in recent weeks, they remain undefeated in the toughest conference in the country.
If these teams play their way into the title game, fans will be treated to an excellent matchup in Pasadena.
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It was a wild Week 12 of college football and one that turned the polls upside down. It featured comeback victories from ranked teams, upsets and losses by three schools that had a number next to their name.
If putting teams in order based off the past week's performance wasn't enough, voters are feeling even more pressure with the regular season quickly coming to a close. These rankings must be right, or fans aren't going to be happy when it's time to announce where each team will end up in the postseason.
This week we should have crowned a new top team. We also welcome a couple of new faces to the party and continue to make a case for a non-BCS school that gets no love.
Week 12 of the 2013 college football season is in the books and new editions of the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls have been released. The Top 10 looks entirely different from No. 3 on down, fresh faces have cracked the Top 25, and the media and coaches continue to be at odds.
The question is, what were the biggest hits and misses from the updated polls?
AP Poll Hit: Baylor at No. 3
The AP Poll made a controversial decision by putting the Baylor Bears at No. 3 and the Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 4. It was yet another display of the polls disrespecting an Ohio State team that has won 22 consecutive games.
If only for one week, it was also the right move.
I'd take Ohio State in a head-to-head meeting, but the Bears have played better football up to this point. Only one game has been decided by fewer than 29 points, and that includes a 41-12 win over the Oklahoma Sooners and a 63-34 decimation of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Baylor has now topped 60 points in six separate games.
The Buckeyes don't deserve to be as disrespected as they have been, but that doesn't mean Baylor shouldn't be subject to respect. No. 3 and No. 4 are interchangeable at this point, and neither Baylor nor OSU has a shot at leapfrogging Alabama or Florida State without one of those squads losing a game.
For that reason, an overreaction isn't such a bad thing.
Baylor's offense has been playing at a record-setting pace, and Ohio State continues to fall victim to the inconsistency of its conference. Both teams are in line for BCS bowl games, and neither will suffer from dropping to No. 4 to make way for the other.
This week, the AP got it right after Baylor earned a second consecutive dominant win over a good team.
AP Poll Miss: Stanford Still a Top 10 Team
The most significant development in the most recent AP Poll release was the fall of the Stanford Cardinal. Previously ranked No. 5, Stanford lost 20-17 to the USC Trojans and fell all the way down to No. 10 in the country.
The question is, is that too high?
I don't question Stanford's status as one of the best 10 teams in the nation, but the No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys are an explosive 9-1, and the No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks actually survived their scare. At least one of those teams deserves to be ranked over the Cardinal after last week.
Instead, South Carolina dropped in the rankings after Steve Spurrier's group won 19-14 against Florida.
Stanford has a roster that's loaded with talent and an especially dominant defense. It's won five games over teams that were ranked at the time of the game being played, but there is something that should be questioned.
If the defense falters, can the passing attack lead the charge? I'm inclined to say no.
Tyler Gaffney is a world-class running back, but Kevin Hogan hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in any of his past three games. Prior to that stretch, he posted three consecutive outings with just one touchdown pass—that's three total passing touchdowns in six games.
Stanford's defense can compete with the best in the country, but after losing in Week 12, the Cardinal should be ranked outside of the Top 10 with other teams rising.
Coaches Poll Hit: Fresh Faces in Coaches Poll
The most pleasant sight in the most recent release of the USA Today Coaches Poll is the infusion of new teams in the Top 25. As contenders falter and the household names wither into the realm of insignificance, fresh faces are emerging.
This week, it's the Duke Blue Devils at No. 24 and the USC Trojans at No. 25.
No. 24 Duke has been the single most surprising success story of the 2013 regular season. During its past three games, it's defeated formerly ranked opponents Virginia Tech, 13-10, and the Miami Hurricanes by a score of 48-30.
David Cutcliffe has a grind-it-out football team that's now in control of its own destiny in the ACC.
USC has been an entirely different football team since Lane Kiffin was relieved of his duties as head coach. The Trojans have worked their way to a record of 8-3 and capped it all off with a 20-17 upset of the previously No. 5 Stanford Cardinal.
It's been a tumultuous season, but USC deserves to be ranked.
It's also worth noting that the Minnesota Golden Gophers remain in the rankings at No. 23. Minnesota has gone from a team that starts hot and closes out poorly to a very inspired 8-2 squad with three players who have run for at least six rushing scores.
The Coaches Poll has all three teams ranked, and that's the biggest hit of the week.
Coaches Poll Miss: Where's Ole Miss?
The most significant omission on the USA Today Coaches Poll is the Ole Miss Rebels. Hugh Freeze's club lost three straight games when it came across the Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies—three Top 10 teams—but has since won four in a row.
Unfortunately, the coaches don't think that Ole Miss is a Top 25 football team.
Ole Miss moved to 7-3 with a 51-21 demolition of the Troy Trojans. That's not the most impressive victory, but the Rebels have been a consistently strong football team that played well in each of its three losses.
It's too young to truly contend, but that doesn't mean Ole Miss isn't a Top 25 club.
Ole Miss will face the No. 8 Missouri Tigers in its next game, and it would've made sense to rank the Rebels entering that contest. Freeze has prepared his team well for every game, and Bo Wallace has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC.
For as promising as this team is, it's clear that the coaches aren't sold on its present-day ability to win.
A loss to Missouri would essentially eliminate Ole Miss from contending for the Top 25 polls. That's an unfortunate truth considering the Rebels deserved to be ranked in the most recent release before that fate could be encountered.
If Ole Miss pulls out the upset, there won't be any way to ignore its status as one of the game's best.
Shared Hit: Wisconsin Is Rising
The Wisconsin Badgers are one of the best football teams in the country. If not for an infamously bizarre 32-30 loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils—a Top 25 football team—Wisconsin would've been undefeated when it lost 31-24 to the Ohio State Buckeyes—a Top Five football team.
Finally, Wisconsin is getting some love.
The AP Poll has the 8-2 Badgers at No. 16 in this week's poll, and the Coaches Poll places Wisconsin at No. 17. This is a fitting ranking for a two-loss team that's good enough to crack the Top 10 with its quality of play thus far.
If Wisconsin wins out, don't be shocked to see it in the conversation for a January bowl game.
Wisconsin has the No. 5 scoring defense and two players who have rushed for more than 1,000 yards through 10 games. Melvin Gordon is at 1,306 yards and 12 scores on the ground, while James White has 1,156 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Even Corey Clement has 515 rushing yards and seven touchdowns to fuel this dominant attack.
With a dominant rushing attack and smothering defense, Wisconsin can play it close against any team in the country. Its passing attack hasn't been spectacular, but Joel Stave has proven capable of posting big numbers in big games.
Both the AP and Coaches Polls got it right by showing Wisconsin some respect.
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