NCF Nation: power rankings 111212

Big East power rankings: Week 12

November, 12, 2012
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Let's re-rank 'em!

1. Rutgers (8-1, 4-0). The Scarlet Knights did not really knock anybody's socks off with their 28-7 win over Army, but they are alone in first place in the Big East standings and, well, they won. So that moves them ahead of Louisville -- for now.

2. Louisville (9-1, 4-1). I still like the Cardinals to represent the Big East in the BCS, as you saw from my bowl projections. But these are the power rankings, and they represent a weekly look at who is hot and who is not. This team is not so hot after a blowout loss to Syracuse on the road. Louisville has major questions to address on defense during the bye.

3. Cincinnati (7-2, 3-1). Watch out for the Bearcats, who could very easily end up in the BCS themselves. All they need is to win out -- which would include a victory over Rutgers on Saturday -- and then have the Scarlet Knights beat the Cardinals. As we have learned in the Big East, anything is possible. Brendon Kay = real deal.

4. Syracuse (5-5, 4-2). The Orange played their most impressive game of the season in an upset win over Louisville, reminding us all about the opportunities lost in many other games. They have the talent to play with every team in the league.

5. USF (3-6, 1-4). The beneficiary of a bye! And a head-to-head win over UConn. Honestly, guys, look at these bottom four teams and you can see coming up with an order is like throwing darts with a blindfold on. None of these squads scream "power" in any way, and chances are none of them will end up in a bowl game.

6. UConn (4-6, 1-4). The Huskies picked up their first Big East win of the season Friday night against Pitt, but this team remains a major work in progress.

7. Pitt (4-6, 1-4). Sorry, Panthers. Losing to offensively challenged UConn is not worthy of a ranking any higher this week.

8. Temple (3-6, 2-4). The Owls have now lost four straight games for the first time since 2008, and none of them were close. Is it time for coach Steve Addazio to make a change at starting quarterback?

Pac-12 power rankings: Week 12

November, 12, 2012
11/12/12
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If you don't like where you are in the power rankings, play better.

See last week's power rankings here.

1. Oregon: With the Ducks' defense hit by an epidemic of injuries, it looked like California might muster a threat. Nope. And now we have to ask: Is RB Kenjon Barner Oregon's top Heisman candidate? Or is it QB Marcus Mariota? And now here comes Stanford with the Pac-12 North Division hanging in the balance, not to mention national title hopes.

2. Stanford: The Cardinal ground out a tough, gritty win over Oregon State, and now turn their attention to Oregon. The Ducks don't talk about injuries, but here's a guess Ducks injuries will be a hot topic this week among Stanford's offensive coaches.

3. Oregon State: The Beavers surely have plenty of "what ifs?" from their loss at Stanford, but there's still plenty to play for. The key this week? Getting over the disappointment and not overlooking California.

4. UCLA: It looked like the Bruins started thinking about USC's visit in the second half against Washington State, and it nearly cost them. No matter. The L.A. showdown is here. The stakes are high both practically -- the South Division crown, for one -- and emotionally. Managing all of the hype will be critical.

5. USC: The Trojans started slow but finished fast against Arizona State, and that suggested this team still has fight left in it. The immediate question is whether the Trojans, 50-zip winners over UCLA a year ago, can maintain their L.A. dominance. If so, they might get another shot at Oregon. Or at least a shot at the Rose Bowl.

6. Arizona: The Wildcats are bowl eligible, but are they satisfied? Utah comes to town on Saturday needing a win to get itself to a bowl game. Every win helps the Wildcats climb the Pac-12 pecking order, which means a better bowl game. First question: Will QB Matt Scott be back?

7. Washington: The Huskies' season is on an uptick after three consecutive victories. With a visit to Colorado and the Apple Cup against Washington State up next, a five-game winning streak to end the regular season seems perfectly reasonable to expect. Of course, both games are on the road, where the Huskies have struggled.

8. Arizona State: While a four-game losing streak suggests the Sun Devils are about where they were last year -- collapsing -- it's mostly a function of the schedule. And the effort has been consistent, unlike last year. But with Washington State coming to town on Saturday and then a visit to rival Arizona on Nov. 23 ahead, the season's measuring stick is clear: Win out and it's a successful season.

9. Utah: The Utes' season is simple: They need to win their final two games to become bowl eligible for a 10th consecutive year. Seeing that the finale is at woeful Colorado, that means the visit from Arizona will provide the measure of their second Pac-12 season.

10. California: Cal showed some fight for nearly three quarters against Oregon, but it wasn't enough. The Bears head to Oregon State with a 3-8 record. The singular question for the program is the fate of coach Jeff Tedford.

11. Washington State: It was a tough week for the Cougars, and things with former star receiver Marquess Wilson got even messier, but they showed some fight in the second half against UCLA. It would appear this team hasn't quit on new coach Mike Leach. But will that produce a win over the next two weeks at Arizona State and then in the Apple Cup against Washington?

12. Colorado: The Buffaloes are 120th (last) in the nation in scoring defense, yielding 47.20 points per game. They are 115th in scoring offense, getting 17.60 ppg. Sorry to bring that up.

SEC power rankings: Week 12

November, 12, 2012
11/12/12
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With Alabama going down at home to Texas A&M, the top six teams in our power rankings really could go any way at this point.

Can you put the Aggies No. 1, even though they lost at home to Florida and LSU? Is Georgia the new No. 1, even with its best win being against a Florida team that keeps regressing on offense with each week that goes by?

This was the toughest week for the power rankings, but it was just too hard for us to move Alabama from the top spot right now:

1. Alabama (9-1; last week: 1): You can't call the Tide's 29-24 loss to Texas A&M a letdown game. This team was beaten on both sides of the ball. Still, if you take a poll of people out there, most will say this is still the best team in the SEC. Does it have its issues? Yes. But it's still loaded with quality talent on both sides and if Saturday's game was played again, it might be hard to go against Alabama twice in a row. This is the only team to win at LSU this year and still controls its destiny to a BCS bowl game.

2. Georgia (9-1; LW: 2): The Bulldogs are playing their best ball of the season right now and have an argument to take the top spot in our power rankings. However, the best win Georgia has is against a Florida team that has taken some mighty steps backward on offense. It also has that ugly 35-7 loss to a South Carolina team that lost by 30 to Florida. It's hard to say what would happen if these two teams played today, but the Bulldogs are really clicking at the moment.

3. Florida (9-1; LW: 3): This was probably the toughest team to place in the power rankings. When you look at the offense, the Gators feel more like a 6, but it's hard to argue with their results. Florida went on the road and beat Texas A&M and beat both LSU and South Carolina at home. LSU and South Carolina were both ranked in the top 10 at the time. Now, LSU is playing at its best and the Aggies are one of the country's hottest teams. Florida's offense might be ugly, but this team's résumé is as impressive as anyone else's in the SEC.

4. Texas A&M (8-2; LW: 6): Talk about hot! The Aggies are burning up and quarterback Johnny Manziel is more than a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender after the win at Alabama. The Aggies not only showed that they truly belong in the SEC but they punished the nation's top team and might have eliminated the SEC from making it to the BCS title game. This team did it with its most complete game of the season and no one in the country wants to tangle with Johnny Football's crew right now. The only negatives that stick out are home losses to Florida and LSU.

5. LSU (8-2; LW: 4): It took two months, but the Tigers' offense has finally arrived. Zach Mettenberger has played very well in back-to-back games, throwing for 571 yards and three touchdowns to zero interceptions. Imagine if this Mettenberger showed up to the Swamp back in October. That win over Texas A&M just looks better and better for the Tigers, and if LSU wins out, the Tigers could be right back in contention for a BCS bowl game.

6. South Carolina (8-2; LW: 5): Life without Marcus Lattimore won't be as enjoyable for the Gamecocks, but they didn't miss much of a beat against Arkansas. South Carolina erased its recent struggles with the Razorbacks by clobbering them 38-20 over the weekend. Even without Lattimore, the Gamecocks were very balanced on offense and have a pretty solid duo in senior Kenny Miles and freshman Mike Davis. The Gamecocks feel as though they're still under the radar, but a solid bowl is in their future.

7. Vanderbilt (6-4; LW: 8): Don't look now, but the Commodores are bowl eligible for the second straight year. It looks like Vandy will make it to a bowl game in consecutive years for the first time in school history. Coach James Franklin has done a wonderful job turning things around in Nashville, and this team is good enough to finish the season with eight wins. Vandy has won four straight games and has a real chance of ending the regular season on a six-game winning streak with Tennessee and Wake Forest left.

8. Mississippi State (7-3; LW: 7): After starting the season 7-0, the Bulldogs have lost three straight and really haven't looked very competitive in each of those losses. In the past three games, Mississippi State has lost by an average of 25 points and has been outscored 113-37. Granted, this team has lost to three teams that are all currently ranked in the top 10 of the BCS standings, but the Bulldogs were really never in any of those contests. Mississippi State still has a chance at 10 wins, but it has to beat Arkansas and Ole Miss and win its bowl game. Right now, the odds are against the Bulldogs.

9. Ole Miss (5-5; LW: 9): The Rebels were the feel-good story of the SEC for most of the season, but now find themselves on a two-game losing streak. Ole Miss just can't seem to figure out Vanderbilt and now has to hope for a win in the next two weeks or the Rebels won't be going bowling. Saturday's 17-point blown lead shows how much depth is an issue for the Rebels. Ole Miss is very capable of stealing a win in the next two weeks, but it has to play better in the second half. In its past two losses, the Rebels have been outscored 44-10 in the second half.

10. Missouri (5-5; LW: 12): And just like that, these Tigers are a win away from being bowl eligible. All the offense needed to get going again was some help from Tennessee's defense. Led by banged-up quarterback James Franklin, the Tigers rang up 51 points and 454 yards on the Vols in their quadruple-overtime win in Knoxville. Mizzou showed that it has the skill on offense to move the ball consistently, but it will have to keep that momentum going with a Syracuse team that routed previously unbeaten Louisville up next before facing the Aggies.

11. Arkansas (4-6; LW: 10): History wasn't on the Hogs' side over the weekend against South Carolina. This team just didn't have much in the tank against the Gamecocks and is now a loss away from missing out on a bowl game. So much was expected from this team before the season, but the loss of Bobby Petrino was just too much for the Hogs to deal with. Arkansas players have shown heart and made a short bowl push, but most around that program probably are ready for this season to be over with.

12. Tennessee (4-6; LW: 11): This isn't what anyone in Knoxville wanted. The Vols were supposed to be competitive in the SEC East and now find themselves on the verge of not making a bowl game for the second straight season. At least Tennessee won a conference game last year. It's hard to bet on this team doing that, even with floundering Kentucky left. Derek Dooley's days as the Vols' coach are certainly numbered and the defense needs a major overhaul if there's going to be any sort of improvement. Nothing is going right for this team and it's clear a lot will look awfully different next season.

13. Auburn (2-8; LW: 13): Like Tennessee, nothing is getting better. Gene Chizik is fighting for his coaching life on the Plains, and by the way the student section looked in the second half against Georgia, few are really invested in this team right now. You thought you'd see some sort of life from the Tigers after they notched their second win of the year, but Auburn was blasted 38-0 by the Bulldogs, failing to score on Georgia for the first time since 1976. It's highly unlikely this team will be very competitive against Alabama and it seems like only a matter of when as far as change coming.

14. Kentucky (1-9; LW: 14): The Wildcats were off, but the fact remains that this team is hurting all over the place. It's not only banged up, but its offense and defense are struggling to do much of anything right this year. Joker Phillips has only two games left as Kentucky's coach, but with the way some of these other SEC teams have done, athletic director Mitch Barnhart might want to really get cracking on this coaching search before other jobs come open.
A knockdown here, a replay reversal there and the power rankings would have a dramatically different look. Northwestern would be higher and perhaps so would Penn State, but losses by the Wildcats and the Nittany Lions put them in the middle of the pack. The top two remain the same, while Michigan moves up to the No. 3 line after its dramatic victory. As we've seen in recent weeks, there's very, very little separating Nos. 2-6 in the rundown.

Wisconsin left nothing to chance against Indiana and jumps up a few spots, and Purdue finally made a move in the right direction. The I's -- Illinois, Iowa and Indiana -- linger at the bottom of the league because of a lack of W's.

Let's get started ...

1. Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten; last week: 1): After their first 10-0 start since 2007, the Buckeyes earned some rest during the open week. They hope to get senior linebacker Etienne Sabino (leg) back for this week's game against Wisconsin, which rushed for a team-record 564 yards against Indiana and will test Ohio State's defensive front seven. Ohio State can lock up the Leaders Division championship with a win at Wisconsin, where it fell in 2010. Braxton Miller led last year's comeback against the Badgers and looks to remain in the Heisman race with another big road effort.

2. Nebraska (8-2, 5-1; last week: 2): The Huskers play a wild brand of football, filled with dramatic swings during games, but sometimes crazy clicks, and it has for Bo Pelini's squad this season. Nebraska faced yet another sizable deficit and turned in yet another huge second-half performance. Once again, there was some controversy mixed in, thanks to the men in stripes. Nebraska isn't a perfect team, but the Huskers are making plays when it counts. Ameer Abdullah has provided a big lift at running back, and safety Daimion Stafford had a hand in two takeaways Saturday. Nebraska completes its home schedule this week against Minnesota.

3. Michigan (7-3, 5-1; last week: 4): It looked bleak for a while in the fourth quarter, but Michigan never quits on its home field and received another huge play from receiver Roy Roundtree, who somehow hauled in a 53-yard pass to set up the game-tying field goal against Northwestern. The Wolverines won in overtime to remain tied with Nebraska in the Legends Division race. Northwestern gave Michigan's defense a hard time, but the Wolverines once again got a lift from quarterback Devin Gardner and the passing game. Michigan must keep pace with Nebraska next week as it hosts slumping Iowa.

4. Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2; last week: 6): Nothing has come easy for Wisconsin this season, but the Badgers are heading back to Indianapolis, just like we all thought they would, for the league title game. The last leg of a tough journey proved to be much easier than expected, as Wisconsin steamrolled Indiana 62-14, piling up a team-record 564 rushing yards along the way. Despite three starting quarterbacks and other turmoil, Wisconsin's offense still can be dominant. The challenges get much tougher the next two weeks, though, as Wisconsin hosts unbeaten Ohio State and then visits Penn State.

5. Penn State (6-4, 4-2; last week: 3): As stated above, there's very little separating Penn State from Nebraska, and maybe the Lions leave Lincoln as winners if Matt Lehman's reach was ruled a touchdown, not a fumble. But the Lions also hurt themselves in the second half and couldn't slow down Taylor Martinez, Abdullah and the Huskers' offense. Penn State once again looked like the more prepared team early on, jumping ahead to a 20-6 halftime lead. It was a very tough loss for the Lions, but they still can finish 8-4 with home wins the next two weeks against Indiana and Wisconsin.

6. Northwestern (7-3, 3-3; last week: 5): How many times will the Wildcats watch the same movie? You know, the one with the terrible ending? Northwestern blew a double-digit second-half lead for the third time in Big Ten play, and thanks to Roundtree's wild catch in crunch time, the Wildcats walked off the field as losers. The Michigan loss might have been the most painful because Northwestern outplayed the Wolverines much of the way and had a good game plan but made errors in crunch time. Northwestern and Michigan State can reminisce about the near misses when they meet this week in East Lansing.

7. Michigan State (5-5, 1-4; last week: 7): It's safe to say the open week arrived at a good time for the Spartans after another close, controversy-filled loss. At 5-5, the Spartans must beat Northwestern (home) or Minnesota (road) to become bowl eligible. Mark Dantonio has talked a lot about resiliency, and his team must show it in the final two games to get back to the postseason. Michigan State's defense struggled late against Nebraska and must rebound against a Northwestern team that moved the ball well Saturday at Michigan but suffered a Spartans-like fate in the end.

8. Minnesota (6-4, 2-4; last week: 8): Few pegged Minnesota as a bowl team after back-to-back 3-9 seasons, and the Gophers' struggles in the first five Big Ten games left some doubt. The road was never going to be easy, and Saturday's game at Illinois hardly looked like a masterpiece. But Minnesota got it done behind a stout defense and running back Donnell Kirkwood, who gashed the Illini for 152 yards and two touchdowns. The Gophers' sixth win ensures they'll be going bowling -- and most likely somewhere warm -- for the first time since 2009. They now aim for a signature win this week at Nebraska.

9. Purdue (4-6, 1-5; last week: 11): There hasn't been much to smile about in Boiler Country this season, but Robert Marve and his teammates eased the pain a bit with a win at Iowa. Purdue dominated the box score and shouldn't have needed a last-second field goal to win. The Boilers racked up 26 first downs and 490 yards, receiving big performances from Marve and RB Ralph Bolden. Kawann Short looked every bit like an NFL-caliber defensive tackle with four tackles for loss, while safety Landon Feichter turned in another nice performance. With remaining games against Illinois (road) and Indiana (home), Purdue's postseason prospects suddenly look a lot brighter.

10. Indiana (4-6, 2-4; last week: 8): Reality arrived for the Hoosiers in the form of Wisconsin's running backs -- pick one, any one -- streaking downfield for long touchdown runs. Indiana never truly challenged the Badgers in its most-anticipated home game in recent memory. A potent offense surprisingly stumbled out of the gate, and after a decent defensive effort in the second quarter, Indiana inexplicably let James White score on third-and-16 right before halftime. It was all downhill from there for Kevin Wilson's team, which won't be going to the league championship and must win two road games (Penn State, Purdue) to go bowling.

11. Iowa (4-6, 2-4; last week: 10): Remember when Iowa rallied to beat Michigan State in overtime at Spartan Stadium? Feels like decades ago, doesn't it? Things went from really bad to even worse Saturday as Iowa fell to Purdue in a game the Boilers dominated most of the way. Things ended in all-too-familiar fashion, with an Iowa pass short of the first-down marker, followed by defensive breakdowns. Iowa is plus-11 in turnover margin for the season but has a losing record -- not easy to do. A 4-8 season seems likely with remaining games against Michigan (road) and Nebraska (home).

12. Illinois (2-8, 0-6; last week: 12): It'll be over soon for Tim Beckman's crew, which had its chances to beat Minnesota but once again generated next to nothing on offense. The defense competed hard and held Minnesota to three points through the first 42 minutes, but the lack of playmakers around quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, combined with an ineffective scheme, led to Illinois' second touchdown-less performance in its past four games. Scheelhaase's struggles continued with two fumbles and Illinois dropped its 12th consecutive Big Ten game. The Illini wrap up the home schedule this week against Purdue.

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 12

November, 12, 2012
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Here's where the Big 12 sits with three weeks to play in the season.

1. Kansas State (10-0, 7-0 Big 12; last week: 1) Kansas State keeps on trucking down the road to the BCS and got to breathe a big sigh of relief with Collin Klein back on the field and looking healthy in Saturday's victory over TCU. Onward to Baylor, where the lack of run defense and turnover issues promise a favorable matchup for the Wildcats.

2. Oklahoma (7-2, 5-1; last week: 2) Oklahoma didn't look super-impressive in letting Baylor close in a bit late, but the Sooners took care of business, and their two losses have still come against top-three, undefeated teams. One very unfortunate truth: OU could win out, but if Texas does the same and upsets No. 1 K-State in its season finale, there's a slight possibility the Longhorns boot OU out of the BCS.

3. Texas (8-2, 5-2; last week: 3) Texas might end up there, but could more likely finish at JerryWorld for its first Cotton Bowl trip since all the way back in 2003. The Longhorns are playing solid football, and beating up on Iowa State the way they did on Saturday is way, way harder than it looks. The 26-point loss was the Cyclones' worst of the season.

4. Oklahoma State (6-3, 4-2; last week: 5) The Cowboys didn't get it done against K-State, but West Virginia was only the latest team to go down by three touchdowns to the Pokes. OSU is playing solid football, and can score points in bunches, regardless of who's at quarterback. There's not a win on OSU's résumé to write home about, but the Cowboys are taking care of business.

5. Texas Tech (7-3, 4-3; last week: 4) Tech's bad day could have gotten a lot worse if not for solid offensive execution in overtime and some clutch throws from Seth Doege. Kansas is oh-so-close, but it seems like a different Big 12 team every week is playing Russian roulette with the Jayhawks. For now, Tech lives another day without the embarrassing loss.

6. TCU (6-4, 3-4; last week: 6) TCU looked completely outmatched against Kansas State, but the defense held K-State to 82 fewer yards than any other defense the Wildcats had faced all season long. That's pretty impressive stuff. The offense was fortunate to keep Trevone Boykin around after he banged up his shoulder, but the streakiness is likely to continue, considering the Frogs' youth. Future's bright, though.

7. West Virginia (5-4, 2-4; last week: 7) West Virginia's free fall continued, but there's nowhere for WVU to drop in the power rankings when all three teams below them lose, including a blowout for the team directly below it. The Mountaineers still have to play Iowa State and KU, but a four-game losing streak has taken a whole bunch of sheen off next week's "Big 12 Game of the Year" against Oklahoma. Sheesh. Anyone see this coming?

8. Iowa State (5-5, 2-5; last week: 8) Iowa State got run over by Texas and a resurgent David Ash. New Mexico was the only other team to score fewer than 17 points on Texas. Not good company for the Cyclones, who have games against Kansas and West Virginia left on the board to reach bowl eligibility. I like their chances in Lawrence next week, but KU can be tricky at home.

9. Baylor (4-5, 1-5; last week: 9) The Bears just weren't good enough to beat Oklahoma at home, but put up a better fight than most figured. The road to bowl eligibility is steep, with three teams in the top five of the Big 12 power rankings left on the schedule in K-State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

10. Kansas (1-9, 0-7; last week: 10) KU is knocking on the door of snapping that 19-game Big 12 losing streak and almost knocked out the 18-game road losing streak, too. The Jayhawks' league skid is the nation's longest, but could come to an end next week with Iowa State coming to Lawrence, where KU nearly knocked off Texas two weeks ago, and lost to Oklahoma State by just six.

ACC power rankings: Week 12

November, 12, 2012
11/12/12
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WEEK 12

The Coastal Division race is as clear as mud, with Miami, Duke, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech all still capable of winning the division title. Go ahead, rank those four teams on your own. See what you come up with. Good luck. Meanwhile, Florida State is in the driver's seat in the Atlantic Division. Here’s one version of the ACC power rankings for this week:

1. Florida State (9-1, 6-1 ACC; LW: No. 1) – The Seminoles came through in the clutch in a 28-22 win at Virginia Tech. FSU quarterback EJ Manuel orchestrated a last-minute scoring drive and the defense came up with a key interception on Logan Thomas’ final attempt at a comeback. All FSU needs to do is win at Maryland to clinch the Atlantic Division next week.

2. Clemson (9-1, 6-1 ACC; LW: No. 2) – There wasn’t much to be learned from Clemson’s 45-10 win over an injury-laden Maryland team. This game went as expected, with Maryland showing toughness, but not having nearly enough to hang with or stop Clemson’s talented offensive playmakers. The Tigers set a school record with their 12th straight home win.

3. Duke (6-4, 3-3; LW: No. 5) – The Blue Devils had this past Saturday off to prepare for their next opponent, Georgia Tech, but as North Carolina learned, it doesn’t always help. Duke’s defense has allowed at least 48 points in each of its past two losses to the ACC’s top two teams, FSU and Clemson. This will be Duke’s biggest game since 1994, as the program can win the Coastal Division with wins at Georgia Tech and against Miami.

4. Miami (5-5, 4-3; LW: No. 3) – The Hurricanes almost won on the road without three of their defensive starters, but they couldn’t stop UVa quarterback Michael Rocco on the final drive. Miami has one ACC game remaining -- at Duke -- but the Hurricanes could find themselves in a three-way Coastal tie with Georgia Tech and North Carolina.

5. Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-3; LW: No. 9) – The Jackets kept their Coastal Division hopes alive with a 68-50 win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill. It was the most points ever scored in an ACC game, and it was an impressive performance by Yellow Jackets quarterback Vad Lee. The defense will have to play better, though, this weekend against Duke.

6. North Carolina (6-4, 3-3; LW: No. 4) – You’d never know the Tar Heels had two weeks to prepare for Georgia Tech. The defense allowed 588 yards, seven rushing touchdowns and 28 first downs in the loss. Once again, UNC won’t be able to get past the eight-win mark, and even that’s not a guarantee with a Thursday night road trip to UVa looming.

7. Virginia (4-6, 2-4; LW: No. 11) – The Hoos are one of the hottest teams in the ACC right now, with back-to-back wins. Two more and they finish at .500 and become bowl-eligible despite a dismal start to the season. Quarterback Michael Rocco threw for four touchdowns and no picks in the win over Miami.

8. NC State (6-4, 3-3; LW: No. 4) – The Wolfpack bounced back from the loss to Virginia with a convincing 37-6 win over Wake Forest to become bowl-eligible. NC State should now have some confidence heading into Saturday’s game versus Clemson at Death Valley. It was a much more complete effort in all three phases of the game and one the team can be proud of.

9. Virginia Tech (4-6, 2-4; LW: No. 8) – It wasn’t for lack of effort. In fact, Virginia Tech’s defense played its best game of the season against Florida State, but the Hokies came up empty on two turnovers and weren’t able to capitalize on the Noles’ mistakes. Virginia Tech now has to win its final two games just to become bowl eligible, and that won’t be easy against a UVa rival trying to do the same.

10. Wake Forest (5-5, 3-5; LW: No. 6) – The Deacs were beaten soundly by NC State, particularly up front, where the Wolfpack’s defensive line got to quarterback Tanner Price repeatedly. Wake Forest is now in a tough spot with undefeated Notre Dame coming up, and Vanderbilt to end the season. The Deacs need to find one more win to go bowling.

11. Boston College (2-8, 1-5; LW: No. 12) – It was a respectable performance against Notre Dame, a typical, blue-collar, BC effort, but it simply wasn’t enough against a better team. BC’s running game was again stifled, and receiver Bobby Swigert was knocked out of the game with an injury. BC gets to stay home again for Virginia Tech before ending the season at NC State.

12. Maryland (4-6, 2-4; LW: No. 10) – The Terps are hurting, both literally and figuratively. They played hard against Clemson but had only 180 total yards. That number could decrease even more this weekend when Florida State comes to town if the Terps don’t get Stefon Diggs and Wes Brown back on the field.

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