Last week was arguably the first week with a lot of drama in college football. There were seven games between top 25 teams. Some teams took full advantage of their time in the limelight, whereas others simply tanked in front of the entire nation. The road to the College Football Playoffs has never been more clear for some teams, while others are still calculating all the possible ways they can get into the coveted top 4 spots. The committee released their top 25 for Week 12 on Tuesday night, and there are some clear winners and losers. The rankings are confusing to most, especially in the top 10. It’s a giant fiasco that the CFP committee will have to sort out in the coming weeks.
So, Clemson lost to unranked Syracuse. UGA lost to No. 10 Auburn. UGA is No. 7 now, but Clemson is No. 2? Miami is undefeated and behind Clemson. Oklahoma has 45,623 Top 25 wins. These #CFBPlayoff rankings don’t make sense. pic.twitter.com/pRetK9TJ86
— Paul Maharry (@pmaharry) November 15, 2017
I only discuss teams with big reactions in this article. Scroll to the bottom to find the complete CFP ranking.
This Seems Familiar
Alabama reclaimed their usual top spot after Georgia’s loss to Auburn. Alabama also nearly fell to Mississippi State this past week, but quarterback Jalen Hurts was able to lead a game-winning drive late in the 4th quarter and secure a victory. They will be tested in the upcoming weeks in the Iron Bowl in Auburn and likely in the SEC championship against Georgia if they regroup. They have never missed the first three College Football Playoffs, and with no further loss, don’t expect that streak to change.
Clemson coming in at No. 2 is the most debated ranking of the week so far. Their loss to 4-6 Syracuse has most fans curious to why they sit ahead of Oklahoma and unbeaten Miami. The Tigers also are the only team in the Top 4 who didn’t beat a ranked opponent last weekend. There are a few theories though as to why they are second instead of a team that is deemed more deserving. The Tigers were ranked #4 last weekend and two teams ahead of them lost. Logically they just slide up as far as they can, according to the committee. Their loss to Syracuse was during a time when their quarterback, Kelly Bryant, was injured. The committee may also have weighted their win over Auburn very high, especially with Auburn’s recent success. Other than Auburn, Clemson’s strength of record isn’t that impressive right now. They are rightfully currently slated to get in the CFP, but their ranking is a hair strange to most for now.
Here are two tweets that explain the CFP committee’s position on Clemson.
— Sons of Clemson (@SonsOfClemson) November 15, 2017
CFP Committee Chair Kirby Hocutt on why Clemson over Miami in rankings: "Clemson has 6 wins over ranked teams. We are very impressed w their win over Auburn. Miami has not beaten a winning team on the road yet." #CFPRankings
— Bonnie Bernstein (@BonnieBernstein) November 15, 2017
The New Guys
#3 Miami brought out the turnover chain 4 times last weekend in their win over Notre Dame. They played very well and earned their first ever top 4 CFP ranking. Many believe that they should be ahead of Clemson, especially if they are over Oklahoma. They tied the record for the largest jump into the top 4 in CFB history. Now that they finally got in, they hope to stay in. If they win out and beat Clemson in the ACC championship, they’ll be playing football on New Year’s Day for a shot to go to Atlanta.
#4 Oklahoma waxed TCU. Despite TCU being ranked 6 last week, it wasn’t enough to overcome the hype around the undefeated Hurricanes or the defending champions and get any higher in the ranks. Their wins over #9 Ohio State, # 12 TCU, and #13 Oklahoma State are not as meaningful to as Clemson’s wins over #6 Auburn and #25 NC State. Despite the drama of the ranking, Baker Mayfield is keeping his Heisman hopes alive. This high powered offense is here to stay. At the current rate, the Sooners will break a school record for yards per game by over 50 yards! With the Big XII championship this year, the conference may see its first representative in the CFP.
Miami was rewarded for their beatdown of Notre Dame and was bumped from #7 to the top 4. The Canes are beginning to silence doubters, but their quest is not over. They are already slated to meet Clemson in the ACC championship game which will undoubtedly be their toughest game of the season. It looks like they will have to win out in order to stay in the top 4 because another undefeated team is hot on their tails.
#5 Wisconsin finished the weekend with another win. They played their first ranked opponent of the year and had no problem putting them away. They are still being snubbed from the CFP for their relatively weak schedule. They’ll face another ranked team this weekend as they host Michigan. Already having the Big 10 West clinched, they’ll have a strong case to be in the top 4 by the end of the season should they win out. Give the Badgers some credit though. They won 10 straight as a Power 5 conference. It is impressive, no matter how easy the schedule is.
#6 Auburn took their big rival to the dog pound last weekend. They jumped 4 spots but are still left out of the CFP due to their losses. Their only two losses this season came to two other schools with tigers as mascots, Clemson and LSU. Both were close games played in stadiums nicknamed Death Valley. If they were ranked any lower it would be an insult to this team because they are very, very good. They have a shot at the top 4 if they can win the Iron Bowl and stay undefeated at home.
#7 Georgia and #8 Notre Dame were both in the top 4 each of the previous two weeks. Both went on the road to face a top 10 opponent. Both were completely blown out. Neither ever stood a chance in their respective games. Auburn handed the Bulldogs their first loss of the season and Miami gave the Irish their second. Georgia already has the SEC East clinched, but they’ll have to bounce back in a hurry if they want to get back to the top 4.
#18 Washington fell the furthest of any team, 9 places. They faced Stanford, who was unranked last week, and suffered their second loss of the season. The Huskies will need a miracle in order to return to the CFP.
#17 Michigan State was embarrassed in Columbus. Ohio State was favored by almost two touchdowns, but they covered the spread in the 1st quarter and kept pounding. The Buckeyes completely exposed what was supposed to be a stingy Spartan defense. The Spartans fell 5 spots.
#12 TCU was taken for a ride by Oklahoma this weekend and fell 6 spots. The Frogs have now lost 2 of the last 3. They finish the season with Texas Tech and Baylor. TCU may get a chance at revenge against the Sooners in the Big XII championship.
See You Later
Iowa State was the other team to beat TCU this year. They also beat Oklahoma and looked to be serious contenders. The Cyclones protect the ball and don’t commit many penalties, unfortunately that wasn’t enough to keep their luck alive. They lost to Oklahoma State on a controversial call at the end of the 4th quarter. They fell out of the rankings from #20.
Virginia Tech dropped from the rankings after their loss to an unranked Georgia Tech. They were #17 last week.
CFP Top 25 Ranking
- Miami (FL)
- Notre Dame
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Oklahoma State
- Washington State
- Mississippi State
- Michigan State
- NC State
- Boise State