Top 50 NCAA Football Rankings: Week 12
Two of my top 6 teams lost on Saturday: Oregon & Michigan State. With the losses, those two teams’ playoff hopes were dashed. Realistically, 8 teams still have a shot at the playoff & those teams are all in my top 8. Week 13 features two playoff elimination games as Ohio State plays Michigan & Oklahoma travels to Oklahoma State. Teams have one more week (some two) to stake their claim as the best in college football. Here is the latest edition of my top 50.
1. Georgia (11-0, 8-0) ↔️
Georgia practically had a bye week as they beat FCS Charleston Southern 56-7. Plenty of young players got valuable reps for the Dawgs as the starters sat after halftime. The Dawgs play in state rivals Georgia Tech this Saturday to try and mark their 17th win over GT in the last 20 years. After that, Georgia will face their toughest test of the year in the SEC Championship Game against Alabama that will decide each teams' CFP fate.
2. Ohio State (10-1, 8-0) ⬆️3
Ohio State made a statement on Saturday. The Buckeyes absolutely dominated Michigan State 56-7. The Buckeyes have the best offense in college football thanks to the much improved play of surging Heisman contender CJ Stroud. OSU will have their most important test on the road this week when they play archrival Michigan. That game will be a playoff elimination game & a de facto Big Ten East Championship Game. OSU hopes to make it 18 wins vs the Wolverines since 2001.
3. Cincinnati (11-0, 7-0) ⬇️1
I hate to punish Cincinnati after their dominant win over SMU, but Ohio State’s performance Saturday trumps anything that Cincy has done this season, despite OSU’s one loss. The Bearcats finally played their best football Saturday but it may be too little too late to impress the CFP Committee. They still have two games against solid teams however: They play East Carolina & Houston in the AAC Championship Game.
4. Alabama (10-1, 6-1) ⬇️1
Alabama had a great offensive showing against a tough Arkansas team. The Hogs never quit & the Alabama defense struggled at times. The only reason why Bama moves down is because of Ohio State’s great performance. The Tide play Auburn in the Iron Bowl this week before the SEC Championship Game against Georgia. Alabama's uncharacteristically porous defense must show out in hopes of retaining a high enough ranking to make the playoff despite a hypothetical UGA loss.
5. Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1) ⬆️2
Oklahoma State moves up two spots after their shut out win over Texas Tech, which clinched their spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. This defense is one of the best in college football, a surprise to many who think of Gundy's teams as the gunslinging, outscore the oppenent type. The Cowboys are the best team in the Big 12 right now. They still need to prove that this week as they play Oklahoma in what is unlikely, but could potentially be, the final Bedlam game. The Pokes have a real chance to win the Big 12 for the first time in a decade.
6. Michigan (10-1, 7-1) ⬆️2
The Wolverines dominated Maryland ahead of their big showdown against Ohio State. As I previously mentioned, this game is for a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game and ultimately a CFP invite. Jim Harbaugh deserves a lot of credit for having this team in the playoff hunt in late November. Is this Harbaugh’s year to finally beat Ohio State? Even if they don't a NY6 Bowl is all but a lock.
7. Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1) ⬆️3
Oklahoma picked up a nice bounce back win over Iowa State this weekend to remain on track for the Big 12 Championship. They must win out if they want a shot at the playoff though, and even that is a dubious. That road to the top 4 will need to include two straight wins against in-state rival Oklahoma State in Bedlam and the Big 12 CCG. The Sooners need a win or a Baylor loss to clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.
8. Notre Dame (10-1) ⬆️3
Notre Dame will get some help this week as two teams will be eliminated between OU/OSU & UM/OSU. They then need two other teams to slip up to sneak into the top 4. The Irish not having a conference title game really hurts them this season. Their final chance to impress the committee is against a three win Stanford team.
9. Oregon (9-2, 6-2) ⬇️5
The Ducks had their playoff hopes snatched away from them by Utah. Oregon looked flat all game and chose the wrong week to play their worst game. Also, the Pac 12 as a whole will miss the playoff yet again with the Ducks’ loss, not having made it since Washington in '16. Oregon still has a chance at the Rose Bowl & a Pac 12 Championship; however, they need to beat in state rival Oregon State this Saturday. This game has proven tricky for Oregon in recent years.
10. UTSA (11-0, 7-0) ⬆️2
The Roadrunners narrowly escaped UAB after they scored a last second touchdown to clinch a spot in the CUSA Championship Game. UTSA illustrates why we need an expanded playoff. They deserve a shot at the National Championship because of their undefeated record. Unfortunately their strength of schedule will never allow them to be in the top 4. The Roadrunners are one of the hottest teams in America but have gotten zero love from the CFP rankings so far.
11. Michigan State (9-2, 6-2) ⬇️5
Michigan State got embarrassed at Ohio State in a fashion rarely seen in top 10 match up. It just goes to show that there is still a big gap between OSU & everyone else in the Big Ten. Sparty does have a chance to finish the season with 10 wins as they take on Penn State at home to cap off the regular season. A New Years Six bowl game is not out of the realm of possibility. Shout out to Mel Tucker for signing his massive 10 yr contract befor the OSU game.
12. Baylor (9-2, 6-2) ⬆️1
Baylor’s defense stepped up last week & held Kansas State to a measly 10 points. That win kept the Bears’ hopes alive for a Big 12 title. They do need some help though. Baylor needs to win & hope Oklahoma State beats rival Oklahoma to make the Big 12 Championship Game. Also, Gerry Bohanon needs to get healthy for the Bears as without him their chances drop dramatically.
13. Ole Miss (9-2, 5-2) ⬆️1
Ole Miss had a comfortable win in Matt Corral’s last home game. The Egg Bowl is quickly approaching & both teams will likely be ranked by the committee. Ole Miss can still get in a New Years Six bowl game if they win at Mississippi State.
14. Wake Forest (9-2, 6-1) ⬇️5
Wake Forest had a chance to clinch the ACC Atlantic, but Clemson was just too much to handle. The Deacs will have another shot this week as they travel to Boston College. If they win, they will seal a spot in the ACC Championship Game against Pitt for the first time since their magical 2006 ACCCG win.
15. Houston (10-1, 8-0) ↔️
Houston won comfortably on Friday night over Memphis. They have now won 10 straight games which helps Cincinnati’s case for the playoff. The Coogs have a week to get healthy as they play UConn before they play Cincinnati in the AAC Championship Game.
16. BYU (9-2) ↔️
Despite Kalani Sitake getting hit with burritos on the sideline, BYU won at Georgia Southern handily. The Cougars have a chance at a 10 win season when they play USC late Saturday night. Also, BYU has a shot at going 5-0 against Pac 12 teams.
17. Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3) ↔️
The Aggies stay at 17 after their clobbering of Prairie View A&M. Jimbo Fisher & his team can still get to 10 wins should they win out. They have a tough game at LSU in Coach O’s final game coaching the Tigers to end the regular season.
18. San Diego State (10-1, 6-1) ↔️
San Diego State just needs one more win to clinch their spot in the Mountain West Championship Game. Unfortunately, it is against a MW powerhouse in Boise State. The Broncos are also fighting for a conference title in the Mountain division.
19. Pitt (9-2, 6-1) ↔️
Pitt sealed up the ACC Coastal after their 48-38 win over Virginia. Pat Narduzzi’s team is headed back to Charlotte to play for a conference title. The Panthers have one more regular season game before that as they take on Syracuse & talented running back Sean Tucker.
20. Louisiana (10-1, 7-0) ↔️
Louisiana picked up a big non conference win over Liberty this past week. They held Malik Willis in check for the whole game. The Ragin Cajuns take on rival UL Monroe on Saturday before the Sun Belt Championship Game against Appalachian State.
21. Utah (8-3, 7-1) ⬆️6
Utah completely dominated Oregon & dashed their playoff hopes on Saturday. With that big win, the Utes clinched their spot in the Pac 12 Championship Game where they could play Oregon again. This team has looked way better as the season has progressed.
22. Wisconsin (8-3, 6-2) ↔️
The Badgers stay at 22 after their close win over Nebraska. Wisconsin isn’t the first team to have a bit of trouble with the Huskers though. Wisconsin just needs a win at Minnesota to take Paul Bunyan’s Axe & book a trip to Indianapolis. Also, they have won seven straight games.
23. NC State (8-3, 5-2) ↔️
NC State beat Syracuse handily on Saturday. The Pack have a huge game against rivals North Carolina this week. If they win that game & Wake Forest loses to Boston College, NC State will head to their first ever ACC Championship Game. There is a lot on the line this Friday night.
24. Iowa (9-2, 6-2) ↔️
Iowa picked up their 3rd straight win after they beat Illinois. The Hawkeyes were actually underdogs at Nebraska on Friday before it was announced that Adrian Martinez would miss because of injury. Iowa needs a win & Wisconsin loss to make the Big Ten Championship Game.
25. Appalachian State (9-2, 6-1) ↔️
Appalachian State has been blowing their opponents out as of late. They beat Troy 45-7 on Saturday. That win sealed the Mountaineers spot in the Sun Belt Championship Game against Louisiana. The Neers only conference loss this season was to the Ragin Cajuns.
26. Arkansas (7-4, 3-4) ⬇️5
Sam Pittman’s squad did not quit at Alabama. They deserve some credit for not going away. The Hogs have a winnable game against Missouri to end their regular season. If Arkansas can get to nine wins, that would be a great end to a great season for Pittman.
27. Kentucky (8-3, 5-3) ⬇️1
Kentucky picked up an easy win over New Mexico on Saturday. They play rivals Louisville this week in a tricky game. Malik Cunningham has been giving opposing defenses trouble all season. Kentucky has to contain him if they want to win & possibly reach 10 wins this season.
28. Clemson (8-3, 6-2) ↔️
Clemson’s offense woke up on Saturday in their big win over Wake Forest. With that win, Clemson still has a shot at the ACC Championship. The Tigers need both Wake Forest & NC State to lose to make the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. Before that, Clemson has a huge game against South Carolina this week.
29. Coastal Carolina (9-2, 5-2) ↔️
Coastal Carolina picked up a win over Texas State this past week. The Chants have a chance to reach 10 wins on Friday as they play South Alabama. It will be interesting to see this team next year in Grayson McCall’s third season at Coastal Carolina.
30. Mississippi State (7-4, 4-3) ↔️
Mississippi State picked up a comfortable win over Tennessee State. Mike Leach has done a solid job in his 2nd year & Will Rogers is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. The Bulldogs have a huge game against in state rival Ole Miss on Thanksgiving night.
31. Purdue (7-4, 5-3) ⬆️3
Purdue picked up a bounce back win over Northwestern in Chicago. The Boilermakers don’t have a shot to win the Big Ten title though. Purdue has a winnable game against in state rival Indiana, who has struggled all season, this weekend.
32. Oregon State (7-4, 5-3) ⬆️19
Oregon State picked up a huge win against Arizona State to keep their Pac 12 Championship hopes alive on Saturday night. The Beavers do need to win against rivals Oregon & a Washington State loss to reach Las Vegas & the Pac 12 Championship Game. If they beat Oregon, that would be two straight wins for the Beavers over the Ducks.
33. Penn State (7-4, 4-4) ⬆️2
Penn State shut out Rutgers on Saturday. PSU has lost four out of their last six games after starting 5-0. Despite that, PSU has looked better in their last three games. The offense does need to improve if the Nittany Lions want to beat Michigan State this week & retain the Land Grant Trophy.
34. Kansas State (7-4, 4-4) ⬇️1
Kansas State could not get their offense going against Dave Aranda’s defense. The Wildcats have a chance to finish the year strong at Texas on Friday. Skylar Thompson does need to get healthy if the Cats want to reach nine wins.
35. Minnesota (7-4, 5-3) ⬆️4
Minnesota beat a struggling Indiana team handily this past week. The Gophers face arch rival Wisconsin this week for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Minnesota needs to beat the red hot Badgers if they want a shot at the Big Ten title. They also need Iowa to lose to Nebraska on Friday.
36. Fresno State (8-3, 5-2) ⬆️1
Fresno State had a late season bye week as they prepare to take on San Jose State on Thanksgiving. If the Bulldogs beat the Spartans & San Diego State loses to Boise State, Fresno State will make the Mountain West Championship Game.
37. SMU (8-3, 4-3) ⬇️6
SMU might’ve played their worst game of the season against Cincinnati. They were shut out until the 4th quarter. However, the Mustangs can still win 10 games if they beat Tulsa & win their bowl game. The major concern is if Sonny Dykes will stay with SMU or jump to one of the open jobs across the country.
38. Arizona State (7-4, 5-3) ↔️
Arizona State looked flat against Oregon State on Saturday night. On top of that, Utah’s win means that ASU no longer has a shot at the Pac 12 title. The Sun Devils play for the Territorial Cup against Arizona this week to end the regular season. Their win over UCLA keeps them above the Bruins.
39. UCLA (7-4, 5-3) ⬆️5
UCLA’s offense went ballistic against arch rival USC. Dorian Thompson-Robinson accounted for six total touchdowns in that game. UCLA will end the regular season in a late night game against Cal, who is trying to reach bowl eligibility.
40. Utah State (8-3, 5-2) ⬇️3
Utah State drops three spots after getting manhandled by Wyoming. That loss by the Aggies left the door open for Air Force & Boise State, who are all in a three way tie for 1st place in the Mountain division. USU needs a win over New Mexico & a Boise State loss against San Diego State to clinch the division.
41. Auburn (6-5, 3-4) ⬇️9
Auburn suffered an embarrassing loss at a rebuilding South Carolina as their struggles continue. The Tigers have now lost three straight games. It doesn’t get any easier for War Eagle as they play Alabama in the Iron Bowl on Saturday afternoon.
42. Tennessee (6-5, 3-4) ⬆️4
The Vols dominated South Alabama on Saturday. Tennessee plays Vanderbilt this week to end the regular season. Assuming they win, a 7-5 record is very respectable in Josh Heupel’s first season. A bowl win to end the season would be the cherry on top.
43. Texas Tech (6-5, 3-5) ⬇️3
Texas Tech was embarrassed at home as they were shut out. Despite not having a head coach, they still have some solid wins over Houston & Iowa State, which keeps them ahead of the Cyclones in these rankings. The Red Raiders have a tough task to end the regular season at Baylor.
44. Iowa State (6-5, 4-4) ⬇️3
Iowa State has now lost three out of their last four since upsetting Oklahoma State. They fought hard against Oklahoma, but fell just short. The Cyclones could use a healthy Brock Purdy against TCU to end the regular season & in their bowl game.
45. North Carolina (6-5, 3-4) ↔️
UNC won an easy game against Wofford. Despite the 6-5 record, North Carolina has won games against top 50 opponents. That includes wins against Wake Forest, Virginia & Miami. The Tar Heels have a chance at spoiling their rivals’ ACC title hopes when they take on NC State on Friday.
46. Washington State (6-5, 5-3) ⬆️5
Washington State beat Arizona to reach bowl eligibility. The head coach-less Cougars still have a shot at making the Pac 12 Championship Game. They have to beat Washington in the Apple Cup & they need Oregon State to beat Oregon.
47. Virginia (6-5, 4-3) ⬇️5
Virginia have now lost three straight games after they lost at Pitt over the weekend. All three of those losses were to top 20 teams though. That loss against Pitt ended Virginia’s chances at an ACC title. The Cavaliers have a huge game against in state rival Virginia Tech on Saturday.
48. Army (7-3) ⬆️3
Army had a comfortable win over UMass on Saturday. The Black Knights have two more regular season games remaining. They take on Malik Willis & Liberty this Saturday. Then, they play Navy at MetLife Stadium in just about two weeks. Army still has a shot at getting to 10 wins.
49. Air Force (8-3, 5-2) ⬆️2
Air Force is back in the top 50 after their huge triple overtime win at Nevada. That win put them in a three way tie for 1st place in the Mountain division with Utah State & Boise State. The Falcons will advance to the Mountain West Championship Game if they all end in a three way tie or if Air Force beats UNLV & Utah State loses to New Mexico.
50. Miami (6-5, 4-3) ⬆️1
Tyler Van Dyke has really provided a spark for the Canes offense. The freshman could be the missing piece that Manny Diaz needs. Miami has now won four out of their last five games after beating Virginia Tech to reach bowl eligibility. They will end their regular season against Duke.
On the Horizon