After each week of the college football season, a fresh set of rankings drop, highlighting the Top 25 teams in the nation. There are two major polls used in the college football, the AP Poll voted on by members of the media, and the Coaches Poll voted on by, well you can probably figure that one out. Now that we have reached November, the College Football Playoff rankings are out and take over as the top billed ranking in college football for the rest of the season.
It only took one week but we already have a big shake up in the College Football Playoff rankings. Two Top 4 sides fell in Week 11 meaning two powerhouses left out in the cold last week now jump into the playoff should the season be over today. Last week’s results also provide us a new No. 1 team in the nation but there is still a lot of football left to be played and a lot of chaos left to unfold.
College Football Playoff
Dropped from rankings: Wake Forest 19, SMU 25
Our first week of play under the College Football Playoff rankings saw a pair of Top 4 sides fall and a new No. 1 side emerge. After being ranked No. 2 in the original CFP rankings last week, Louisiana State jumped into the top spot over Ohio State thanks to their win over former No. 3 side Alabama. In turn, the Tide drop only two spots to Np. 5, keeping them in contention to make the playoff at season’s end.
Penn State was the other Top 4 side to fall on Saturday, dropping their first game of the season to undefeated Minnesota. The Nittany Lions tumbled five spots to No. 9 while the Golden Gophers made the biggest jump in CFP rankings history, up nine spots to No. 8 .
With Alabama and Penn State dropping, Clemson and Georgia reaped the benefits and now round out the new Top 4 behind LSU and Ohio State. Just past the Crimson Tide at No. 6 and No. 7 are PAC-12 sides Oregon and Utah. Both are on a collision course to meet in the PAC-12 title game in December, where the winner will have a strong playoff case.
In the Big 12, Oklahoma and Baylor remain the best playoff hopes for that conference. Both barely survived on Saturday and now will meet in Waco on Saturday that could be a make or break game for either side’s playoff hopes.
If you’re a two loss team you better hope and pray a lot of chaos unfolds over the next two weeks. The CFP committee drew a pretty hard line in the sand again this week, shutting all two loss teams out of the Top 10 and making the climb to a playoff spot nearly impossible when you look at the teams ahead of them.
In the race for the Group of 5 spot in a New Year’s 6 bowl game, Cincinnati and Memphis lead the way at No. 16 and No. 17 respectively. Both remain on course to meet in the American Conference title game where the winner should claim the NY6 spot. If those two sides falter, the door to the NY6 opens for teams like Boise State, Navy, Appalachian State, and even now unranked Southern Methodist.
SMU was one of two teams to drop from the rankings this week, joined by former No. 19 Wake Forest. Replacing the Mustangs and Demon Deacons are Texas as the new No. 19 and Appalachian State at No. 25.
Others receiving votes: Appalachian State 73, Kansas State 67, Texas A&M 42, Wake Forest 38, Louisiana Tech 25, Virginia 12, San Diego State 7, Virginia Tech 4, Iowa State 4, Washington 3, Pittsburgh 2, Air Force 2, UCF 2, North Dakota State 1, USC 1, Illinois 1
Dropped from rankings: Kansas State 20, Wake Forest 22, San Diego State 24
Louisiana State solidified its spot atop the AP Poll with their victory over Alabama on Saturday night. For the Tide, the damage from the loss was minimized by the voters, only falling two spots to No. 4.
Ohio State and Clemson both climb up but see a drop in first place votes as the media appears to be hedging their bets on LSU being the true No. 1 in the land at the moment. For the first time this season, Alabama falls out of the Top 2 and receives no first place votes.
Minnesota continued its storybook season with a shocking upset victory over former No. 5 Penn State. As a result, the Golden Gophers are the biggest gainer of the week, jumping six spots to No. 7 and into the Top 10 for the first time. Penn State takes a tumble to No. 9, falling four spots. Georgia and Oregon both benefit from the Nittany Lions loss and now sit at No. 5 and No. 6 respectively.
Oklahoma and Baylor both won over the weekend, but in unconvincing fashion. With Minnesota turning some heads, the Sooners and Bears both slid back a spot to make room for the climbing Gophers.
No. 17 through No. 21 features five Group of 5 teams, all battling it out for the G5 slot in a New Year’s 6 bowl game. Cincinnati and Memphis are in the driver’s seat for the time being but Boise State is gaining ground with Southern Methodist and Navy waiting for someone to falter.
Kansas State, Wake Forest, and San Diego State all fell from the rankings this week, replaced by Texas, Indiana, and Oklahoma State. This is the first time Indiana has been ranked in the AP Poll in 25 years.
For a closer look on how media members voted individually, check the image below.
Others receiving votes: Oklahoma State 49, Wake Forest 45, Louisiana Tech 43, Kansas State 38, San Diego State 32, Texas A&M 31, Air Force 25, Virginia Tech 17, Virginia 12, Louisiana 1, UCF 1, Wyoming 1
Dropped from rankings: Wake Forest 20, Kansas State 22, San Diego State 24
Wrapping up our weekly rankings check with the Coaches Poll that tells a similar story to its AP cohort. The top seven sides from LSU at No. 1 to Minnesota at No. 7 are identical with the first change coming at No. 8 where the coaches placed Oklahoma instead Utah.
Minnesota was once again the week’s biggest winner, climbing six spots while its victim from Saturday, Penn State, was this week’s biggest loser, dropping six spots all the way out of the Top 10, now sitting at No. 11.
After Penn State there was not much movement from the previous week until you get into the bottom third of the rankings. The five Group of 5 teams are all clumped together in the exact same positioning as the AP Poll with Notre Dame just ahead of them at No. 16.
Dropping from the Coaches Poll this week were the same three as from the AP poll, replaced by Texas, Appalachian State, and Indiana.
Top 25 Schedule: Week 12
Let’s take a quick peek at who the Top 25 teams will be playing in Week 12.
Note: Team rankings are based on the College Football Playoff standings.
It should be noted, that while every matchup cannot be a ranked matchup, any game featuring a CFP contender is a massive game in terms of the College Football Playoff outlook. Whether a side is playing a top tier contender, or a conference doormat, every game matter.
With that said, there are three ranked games this week that will carry significant playoff consequences regardless of the result. First up is newly minted No. 4 Georgia traveling to Auburn to take on the No. 12 Tigers. Auburn has very little hope of making the playoff with two losses already on its docket, but they could make a case for an at-large NY6 slot by upsetting the Bulldogs and spoiling their playoff dreams in the process.
Fresh off their upset over Penn State, No. 8 Minnesota faces their next test, No. 20 Iowa on the road. Kinnick Stadium is a notoriously difficult place to win, so a victory on Saturday not only keep them undefeated, but strengthens their playoff case. It also means the Golden Gophers can lock up the Big Ten West title next week.
Perhaps the biggest ranked matchup of the weekend is No. 10 Oklahoma heading to the road to face No. 13 Baylor in Waco. Both teams survived upsets bids in Week 11 that could have derailed their playoff hopes, but now they face-off in what could be the first of two matchups. Regardless of outcome on Saturday, both Oklahoma and Baylor will remain on track to meet in the Big 12 championship game.
No. 16 Notre Dame and No. 23 Navy meet in the fourth and final ranked matchup on Saturday, but there are little to no playoff implications for either side. Both teams have multiple losses but they could both have an outside shot at a NY6 birth so it’s something to keep an eye on.
Each and every week throughout the college football season we will be checking in with the latest rankings and Top 25 schedule so make sure you are checking back to keep up to date on the latest from the college football world.