CBS Sports 128 rankings: Ohio State at No. 2, USC surprises with jump into top 10

Alabama is the only constant in our current college football world. Michigan, Clemson and Washington all suffered their first loss of the season on the same day (a historic day of losing for top teams) and now only the Tide, No. 1 in the newest college football rankings from the coaches, and Western Michigan remain unbeaten.

It's a shakeup to what was viewed as a stable set of title contenders up top, but the resulting CBS Sports 128 rankings after Week 11 show that even losing won't change the perception of the pecking order. Ohio State's performances since losing to Penn State have boosted the Buckeyes' stock, and now Urban Meyer's high-scoring bunch is No. 2 heading into a two-week run to close the season against Michigan State and Michigan, which fell down to No. 5 after losing at Iowa.

But Michigan's loss actually hurts the Buckeyes' Big Ten title chances because of the tiebreakers. Now Penn State, up to No. 9 in the CBS 128, has a great chance to make a run at the division title if the Nittany Lions win out and the Wolverines lose one game.

The most notable change in the top 10 after the shakeup weekend is the arrival of Southern California. The Trojans had the look of a Pac-12 title contender in knocking off Washington in Seattle. It makes you wonder both how far Sam Darnold can take this team in his bright future and what might have been if he took over the quarterback job earlier. USC is still mathematically in the hunt for a Pac-12 title but needs Utah and Colorado to each lose once to make the conference title game.

Week 11 bumped college football's chess board and threw off the alignment for what we thought was a pretty clear playoff picture. No team should feel comfortable and no fan should feel so confident that they can start booking tickets. There's a lot of pieces to move before Selection Sunday and this past weekend was another reminder about the thin margin for error for title contenders in November.

College football experts from CBS Sports -- and for the first time this year, partner 247Sports -- contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top-25 below, and 26-128 on our rankings page.

RANK TEAM RECORD PREVIOUS
1 Alabama 10-0 1
2 Ohio State 9-1 6
3 Louisville 9-1 5
4 Clemson 9-1 3
5 Michigan 9-1 2
6 Washington 9-1 4
7 Wisconsin 8-2 8
8 Oklahoma 8-2 9
9 Penn State 8-2 10
10 USC 7-3 21
11 West Virginia 8-1 13
12 Western Michigan 10-0 12
13 Colorado 8-2 14
14 Auburn 7-3 7
15 Utah 8-2 16
16 Washington State 8-2 17
17 LSU 6-3 15
18 Oklahoma State 8-2 23
19 Nebraska 8-2 20
20 Florida 7-2 19
21 Boise State 9-1 24
22 San Diego State 9-1 26
23 Florida State 7-3 25
24 Texas A&M 7-3 11
25 Virginia Tech 7-3 18

North Carolina fell out of the top 25 in the CBS 128 after losing to Duke on Thursday night, while fellow ACC Coastal Division rival Pittsburgh saw a boost (to No. 35) after upsetting Clemson in Death Valley. Troy, now the clear favorite in the Sun Belt after beating Appalachian State, is lurking at No. 28 and still hoping for enough chaos to make a run at the Group of Five's New Year's Six golden ticket.

Biggest movers

  • USC (+11): The Trojans have won six games in a row, including victories against both Pac-12 South frontrunner Colorado and current Pac-12 North favorite Washington. This team is rolling right now and making a statement behind Darnold's exquisite quarterback play. The Pac-12 schedule concludes at UCLA this weekend before the regular-season finale against Notre Dame in the Coliseum.
  • Oklahoma State (+5): The Cowboys remain in the mix for the Big 12 title, holding a head-to-head advantage against West Virginia and chasing down the rival Sooners. The CBS 128 voters (myself included) have been slow to react to Oklahoma State's six-game winning streak, but the momentum is building for a fun finish in the Big 12.
  • Virginia Tech (-7): The Hokies had a shot to lock up a spot in the ACC title game and couldn't get the job done, at home, against a Georgia Tech team playing its backup quarterback. It's a disappointing Monday in Blacksburg, but North Carolina's loss keeps Virginia Tech in control of the division race.
  • Texas A&M (-13): The Aggies failed to emerge victorious in the Backup Quarterback Bowl. Talented as ever, for sure, but Texas A&M looks a little bit shaky right now after two straight outright losses as a double-digit favorite.

Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 128: Teams ranked 26-128

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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