College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 12 Winners and Losers
Well the College Football Playoff rankings for Week 12 are out with some interesting results. The top four saw a new entrant and one team from last week drop out of the top four.
The College Football Playoff top four welcomes some new company this week. The Big Ten could call this week a victory as it now has two teams in the top four.
Entering Week 11, there five undefeated teams in the AP Top 25. Now, there are just two: first-ranked Alabama and 21st-ranked Western Michigan. The Crimson Tide are the lone undefeated at number one while five one-loss teams round out the top six.
The Ohio State Buckeyes convincing win over Rutgers puts them at fourth in this week’s rankings. The Washington Huskies drop from four to six, on the outside looking in after forcing their way in last week. The Huskies’ loss 26-13 to the USC Trojans did the most damage.
Three of the four teams in the top four last week lost their games in Week 11. The Michigan Wolverines lost 14-13 to the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Clemson Tigers lost 43-42 to Pittsburgh.
However, Michigan didn’t move at all in the rankings, staying at three. While the Clemson Tigers dropped from second to fourth in the Week 12 Playoff rankings.
Last week: L 26-13
Last rank: 4th
The Washington Huskies took the biggest hit in this week’s College Football Playoff Rankings. Out of the three teams ranked in the top five that lost, the Huskies were the only one to fall out of the top four playoff spots.
It didn’t help that linebacker Azeem Victor broke his leg in the 26-13 loss to the USC Trojans and is now lost for the season. Victor was the team’s leading tackler this season with 68 total tackles.
The Huskies aren’t in terrible shape after arguably their worst offensive performance of the season. They earned a season-low 13 first downs and gained 17 rushing yards as a team. Quarterback Jake Browning threw two interceptions and running back Myles Gaskin had a season-low 51 rushing yards. Gaskin had previously ran for a touchdown in the last five games.
The Huskies defense allowed the most passing yards all season at 287 passing yards. It was the third time they allowed 400 yards or more as a defense as well.
There’s still a chance the Huskies can win the Pac-12 Title with Arizona State and Washington State still left on the schedule. Washington State leads in the North Division currently at 7-0. The Huskies will need to win out to push the envelope by season’s end or they could still be stuck on the outside looking in.
Last week: W 44-12
Last rank: 6th
Despite winning their fifth straight game this past week, the Louisville Cardinals only moved up one spot in this week’s College Football Playoff Rankings. In the AP Poll, the Cardinals rank third, moving up two spots.
The Cardinals are still first in the FBS in points per game scoring 49.6 points a contest. They trailed Wake Forest 12-10 entering the fourth quarter last week before scoring 34 straight points in the final quarter.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson scored just one touchdown in the game but he still leads the FBS and ACC in touchdowns with 46 total scores. He has 27 passing touchdowns and 19 rushing touchdowns this season.
The move could be due to the Cardinals strength-of-schedule, or lack thereof. They have zero wins against opponents ranked in the AP Top 25. Their only game against a ranked opponent was Clemson. They did face Florida State, but at 7-3 and unranked, it’s hard to consider it a marquee victory.
The Louisville Cardinals are done with their conference schedule and have two straight no-conference games left. They face the Houston Cougars (8-2) this week in a Thursday night matchup. It should be a good test for the Cardinals, last season, they lost to Houston 34-31. After that, they face Kentucky (5-5). They’ll need to win big and win convincingly if they want to get the Playoff committees’ attention.
Last week: L 43-42
Last rank: 2nd
The Clemson Tigers lost this past week to Pittsburgh 43-42 but they escape this week as a winner in the College Football Playoff rankings. They were ranked second last week and at number four this week, they are still in the playoff mix. The Tigers rank fifth in the AP Poll but still come in fourth in the playoffs.
The Tigers lost their first conference game since 2011 this past week on a last-second field goal but it didn’t hurt their playoff chances too much. The offense played well, quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for an ACC-record 580 passing yards but he also had three interceptions.
The Clemson defense also allowed over 400 yards for just the third time this season. They allowed five touchdown passes to the Pittsburgh offense, the most they’ve allowed all season.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson and company played their final home games for Clemson as the NFL is their next destination. If its true, Watson will need to play better from the pocket. He leads the conference this season in interceptions with 13.
The Clemson Tigers can still clinch the ACC Atlantic Division crown with a victory next week on the road at Wake Forest (6-4). Then they close their schedule on the road at South Carolina (5-5). If the Tigers can clinch the division, they’ll be on track to claim their second straight ACC Title in two years.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Last week: W 62-3
Last rank: 5th
The Ohio State Buckeyes leap frogged the Louisville Cardinals in the the College Football Playoff top four. The Buckeyes are back at their highest rank in the AP Poll since October 16. They are currently in the current four-team playoff scenario and ranked number two in this week’s AP Poll.
It could be due to the 6 combined points they’ve allowed in two straight weeks. Or that they’re 3-0 against ranked opponents so far this season.
They have won three games in a row since losing to Penn State. They have attained at least 500 yards of offense two straight weeks. Winning continues to pay dividends for the Buckeyes, even though their loss comes against an unranked opponent as well.
Either way, the Big Ten rules supreme as the real winners of this week’s playoff rankings. However, the road is still a bit bumpy for the Buckeyes going forward.
The Buckeyes face Michigan State (3-7) this week which should make for another easy victory. The season finale, however, will certainly have playoff implications as they face fourth-ranked Michigan. With both teams sitting with one loss, a second loss could bump up another team from a different conference into the playoff scenario. Let’s wait and see.
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