The college football landscape was turned on its head this past weekend.
Four of the top ten teams fell in defeat Saturday, shaking things up in the polls and leading to even more questions than we had going into the weekend. For the first time all season, all five teams from the previous week's list survived - barely - but Oregon still managed to drop out of the rankings altogether. While all five teams survived last week, this week's group may not be so lucky. It's clear there are some things that just don't add up in this week's Coaches' Poll, but not everything appears to be a mistake.
After destroying Ole Miss - a team many were buying into as maybe the best in the country - Florida moved up 11 spots in the poll from No. 23 to No. 12. While the Gators narrowly escaped this list themselves (spoiler alert), things are getting complicated in the SEC and I'll give UF a pass after an impressive victory over the Rebels. The Dawgs got manhandled by the Tide and the Bruins were surprised by the Sun Devils, so both Georgia and UCLA dropped 10 spots and now sit at No. 16 and No. 20, respectively.
Numerous teams kept it on cruise control without any challenges, while others barely avoided defeat. But some teams continue to work hard to prove their worth. We’ll continue to work our way through the Coaches’ Poll each week to find the impostors and bring more significance to the rankings that have been earned. Don’t believe everything you see in the polls.
5. No. 14 Northwestern
Things have been exciting for the Wildcats through the first five weeks of the 2015 college football season, but the ride stops here. You must be this high to ride the ride, and unfortunately Northwestern is not the 14th best team in the country.
Northwestern will head to Ann Arbor this weekend to battle a Michigan team that continues to discover its identity under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, an identity the Wildcats don't have an answer for. Yes - they beat a now-ranked No. 18 Stanford team to open the season, but the Cardinal weren't playing the same kind of football they are at this point in the season. Yes - they are 5-0 for the first time since 2012, but that streak also came to an end when they traveled to face Big Ten foe Penn State.
It's not that the Wildcats haven't had an excellent start to the season, because they have, it's that there are teams ranked behind them that would make easy work of Northwestern - like Notre Dame and Georgia, just to name a few. But if they leave Ann Arbor with a convincing victory, sign me up.
4. No. 8 Florida State
Florida State won its 28th consecutive regular season football game Saturday afternoon against Wake Forest, but the Seminoles still looked shaky on offense. And while other teams around college football fall in defeat and drop in the polls, FSU continues to find its way creeping up the rankings.
The Seminoles have not shown anything to make me believe they're the eighth best team in the country, and their problems begin and end on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line has struggled to protect quarterback Everett Golson, and the signal caller has been completely lost once the pocket breaks down. While Golson has struggled to get accustomed to head coach Jimbo Fisher's offense, the youthful wide receiver corps hasn't made things any easier on the transfer. And the Seminoles' one bright spot on offense, running back Dalvin Cook, left Saturday's game with a leg injury.
Despite all of this, Fisher and his Seminoles have continued to win, but all of that could come to an end this weekend when Miami heads to Tallahassee for a heated rivalry game. If FSU can pull things together on offense, there's no reason to believe the 'Noles can't win this game. But if they continue to struggle with the ball, this team could finish the season with multiple losses. At this point, FSU is not worthy of the No. 8 ranking.
3. No. 13 Ole Miss
The Rebels were just embarrassed by the Gators, 38-10, Saturday night, yet they remain just one spot behind unbeaten Florida in the Coaches' Poll at No. 13. That in itself makes absolutely no sense. But there's more.
Ole Miss beat an Alabama team with questions of its own, one that couldn't even decide who to put under center for the top-25 matchup, but it wasn't enough to erase the memories of last year's mirage. The Rebels tricked people into believing they were real last season, too, until they fell apart down the stretch. And they're likely headed down a similar road. This team could finish the season with three or four losses.
They can be explosive on offense with all the talent on the roster, and formidable on defense, too. But the Rebels don't feel comfortable once knocked on their heels. Even during their win against Alabama, it took trickery - and a bit of luck - to slow Tide's surge in the fourth quarter. But that's not going to get you through the season alive, and the Rebels are in for a rude awakening.
Sorry, Rebels fans, but Ole Miss is not the 13th best team in the country.
2. No. 10 Alabama
That was quick.
The Alabama Crimson Tide have found their way back into the top 10, to nobody's surprise.
Alabama, which lost to Ole Miss a few weeks back, now sits ahead of an undefeated Florida team that just wiped the floor with the Rebels this past weekend. I could stop here, but let's continue.
Head coach Nick Saban has yet to find a real answer at the quarterback position, often leading to an inconsistent offensive attack. It seems like Saban has settled with transfer quarterback Jacob Coker, but you get the feeling offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin does not agree with this decision. It's hard to gain any kind of consistent feel with constant juggling at the quarterback position, and the offense reflects this notion.
While the offense has struggled, Alabama's defense is still a force to be reckoned with and will continue to win games for the Tide, as it did this past weekend against Georgia. But that doesn't mean Alabama is the 10th best team in the country, and it certainly doesn't make sense that 'Bama is ranked ahead of Florida in the Coaches' Poll.
1. No. 1 Ohio State
Well, somebody has to say it. Ohio State is not the best team in the country. At this point, I don't even think it's one of the best five teams. After another shaky performance on Saturday - this time against Indiana - OSU finds itself atop this week's list.
Head coach Urban Meyer's problems, though, extend beyond the contents of this list. The Buckeyes don't seem to have an answer at quarterback, and have yet to find a deep-threat replacement for Devin Smith. Ezekiel Elliott remains the only bright spot on the offensive side of the ball, and there don't seem to be any signs of improvement.
Meyer, who gets to see and evaluate these quarterbacks on a daily basis, has apparently made the decision that Cardale Jones is the better option under center, instead of J.T. Barrett, who led the Buckeyes for most of last season. And while Meyer has remained confident in Jones, I'm not sure why. He has struggled to keep opposing defenses honest, and the best defense the Buckeyes have faced was Virginia Tech's at No. 46 - and during the first game of the season. If Jones doesn't improve, the Buckeyes should run into trouble when they face Michigan State on November 21.
After struggling against Northern Illinois and now Indiana - teams that shouldn't even belong on the same field as the Buckeyes - it's clear Ohio State is not the best team in the country right now.