Week 11 had all the ingredients for a November weekend for the ages in college football. There were three matchups between top 10 teams, the top three teams in the country were on the road against ranked opponents and there were an additional three contests between ranked teams. While the top 10 games did not live up to the hype, if you were hoping to see some close finishes, the weekend provided a massive clearing of the playoff picture.
Oklahoma, Auburn and Miami all made massive statements as they steamrolled their top 10 foes on their home fields. Alabama survived at Mississippi State, and Wisconsin dominated Iowa, who was their first top 25 opponent of the season. As you would expect, there was quite the shake up to the top 10, except at the top, where Alabama still sits atop the Associated Press Top 25 Poll as they have all season. Undefeated Miami made the biggest move of the weekend, rising five spots to number two, and they also received first place votes. The Sooners are now ranked third, which is their highest ranking since being ranked number two after their win in Columbus in week two. Clemson is still at number 4 while Wisconsin rounded out the top five.
Oklahoma State is back in the top 10 once again after pulling out yet another nail-biter at Iowa State. The Cowboys are behind fellow two-loss teams Auburn, Ohio State and Notre Dame. While the Cowboys do not have any losses as bad as Ohio State to Iowa and Notre Dame to Miami, they are clearly getting punished for not having any marquee victories. Their best win of the season is probably at West Virginia given their dominance in that game. Outside of that, they have been fortunate to come away with victories at Texas Tech, Texas and Iowa State. They deserve credit for those victories on the road, but they missed their best chances at resume defining wins at home.
TCU finds themselves at number 11 despite the head-to-head advantage of Oklahoma State and similar overall records. They have lost two of three but still control their own destiny to reach the Big 12 championship game. They finish the season with two rivals at the bottom of the Big 12 standings in Texas Tech and Baylor so the Horned Frogs have to be sure to avoid a post-Norman letdown.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are the final Big 12 team to be named in the rankings who actually fell a spot to number 24 after their grind-it-out win at Kansas State. Iowa State dropped out of the rankings, but received votes, this week after their second straight tough defeat. It has been a tough couple of weeks for the Cyclones, but they still have a great shot at reaching eight wins with games at Baylor and Kansas State left on their schedule, which would get them to the best bowl game they have been to in a long time. Even with the Cyclones falling out of the rankings, the Big 12 still has the best percentage of teams ranked at 40 percent. There is a pretty good chance the league could enter bowl season with half the league’s teams ranked.
And of course, Washington dropped their second game of the season while you were sleeping on Friday night. This should effectively eliminate the Pac-12 from the playoff picture since they are guaranteed to have a two-loss champion. Also, with Notre Dame laying an egg in their second loss, they should also be eliminated. This clears the way for Oklahoma if they take care of business the rest of the way. Keep in mind that Iowa State’s loss means that we should get a Oklahoma-TCU rematch in the Big 12 title game barring upsets. Then again, we should probably expect plenty of upsets across college football in the final weeks of season.
Week 12 AP Poll
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- Penn State
- Washington State
- Mississippi State
- Michigan State
- West Virginia
- NC State
Others Receiving Votes: Virginia Tech 110, Northwestern 72, Arizona 49, Iowa St. 27, Georgia Tech 6, Boise St. 6, Army 3, South Carolina 2, Iowa 2