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Rankings through games of 2013-09-29
New entries: Iowa.
Dropped out: Michigan.
Alabama and Oregon continue to separate themselves from the pack, while everyone from Florida State to Washington are in a pretty tight cluster. The gap between Oregon and Florida State is as large as the gap from Florida State to Washington.
One thing to note is that during our countdown of the BCS champions a few years ago, we noted that pretty much all of the champions had a top-3 offense or defense, and a top-10 squad on the other side of the ball. The two teams that currently meet that criteria? Alabama and Oregon.
Further down the list, Penn State is Penn State again, as they have a top-5 defense but a barely-above-average offense. The Nittany Lions are what Michigan State could be, if the Spartans got their act together. South Carolina continues their plunge from the top 10, while Iowa makes their first appearance in the top 25 for a long time.
Ohio State continues their slow climb up the top 25. In many ways they got lucky against Wisconsin: if the Badgers hadn't missed a chip shot field goal and had managed to snag that interception before halftime -- one play before the Buckeyes got a touchdown -- that would have represented a 10-point swing. It's still certainly possible that Ohio State would've won, but there was a huge amount of luck involved. We're not even counting the muffed punt that got called back for an inexplicable formation penalty against Wisconsin -- the Badgers shot themselves in the foot a lot this game -- but right now Ohio State just isn't on the same level as the Crimson Tide or Ducks just yet. They've improved by 2.6 PPH on offense and 1.7 PPH on defense so far this year, but as of this week they're still walking a tightrope.
Full conference play is starting up, so we'll start to get the full picture of each team over the next two weeks. Next week is the start of our annual conference projections, while we'll also take a look at the remaining undefeated teams.
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