Few wins resonated more across the college football landscape this season than Ohio State's 56-7 trouncing of Michigan State in which the Buckeyes led 49-0 at the end of the first half after scoring touchdowns on their first seven possessions. The power of that win has now propelled Ohio State to the front of the conversation for the next-best team behind Georgia, and the CBS Sports 130 voters have pushed the Buckeyes up to No. 2 in our updated college football rankings.
Ohio State overtook Alabama for that second spot, though the Crimson Tide did not fall further than No. 3 after its win against Arkansas. Cincinnati, meanwhile, held steady at No. 4. Things become particularly interesting for the Big Ten after that because Michigan has climbed all the way back after its loss to Michigan State to check in at No. 5 in our rankings in advance of this weekend's epic edition of The Game.
Michigan State fell out of the top 10 in the CBS Sports 130 after its loss to the Buckeyes, down four spots to No. 11 while checking in as the third-best two-loss team. The best two-loss team, according to our voters, is Baylor at 9-2, which jumped up three spots to No. 8 after a hard-fought road win against a Kansas State team we have ranked at No. 35.
The Week 12 schedule didn't provide too many major shake-ups at the top of the rankings aside from the reshuffling amid Oregon and Wake Forest dropping. You can read more on those moves, as well as other notable adjustments, in the Mover's Report below the top 25 table.
College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top 25 below and 26-130 on our rankings page.
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- No. 58 South Carolina (+12): Shane Beamer's efforts in 2021 have given weight to the notion that the former Gamecocks assistant would be able to find success returning to the program as the team's new coach. Now bowl eligible after a home win against Auburn, South Carolina makes the move into the top 60 of our 130-team rankings.
- No. 37 Oregon State (+11): A frequent featured guest of the Mover's Report, Oregon State has bounced back up into the top 40 after a win against Arizona State. Our voters jumped on board with the Beavers after wins against USC and Washington, only to downgrade them after back-to-back losses to Cal and Colorado. Back-to-back home wins have wrapped up a 6-0 mark in Corvallis and set the team up to enter its rivalry game with Oregon looking to earn at least a share of the Pac-12 North title.
- No. 16 Utah (+10): Two nonconference losses to BYU and San Diego State, both in September with a different starting quarterback, feel like ages ago when you see the way the Utes are playing down the stretch of the regular season. This is a group that carries three losses and should be judged as such, but recent form is worth an extra boost in the rankings.
- No. 13 Oregon (-8): There has to be an adjustment not only because of the loss but the lopsided nature of the defeat at Utah. The Utes are hot, as we mentioned above, but for Oregon to be so limited in its efforts to overcome an early deficit does not inspire confidence in the Ducks as one of the five or 10 best teams in the country. The good news is Oregon can get a shot at revenge with the Pac-12 title on the line, but first they've got to take care of business against an Oregon State team playing with surging confidence.
- No. 21 Wake Forest (-8): Our voters pulled the Demon Deacons down outside of the top 20 following their second loss in three games, and an analysis of those spots between No. 20 and No. 30 shows the logjam from ACC Atlantic action. Wake Forest has a recent win over No. 23 NC State and just lost to No. 26 Clemson. So even though Clemson beat Wake Forest, it has more losses and the defeat to NC State preventing the head-to-head result from dictating the rankings. Related: all three teams are in the mix to win the ACC Atlantic, though Wake Forest is the only one with a "win-and-you're-in" scenario as it travels to Boston College for the finale.
- No. 45 Auburn (-16): In terms of college football rankings, Auburn was the "good loss All Stars" team of 2021. Defeats to Penn State, Georgia and Texas A&M -- even Mississippi State -- were easier to negotiate thanks to good wins against Ole Miss and Arkansas. But South Carolina does not meet that same standard, and now with five losses, it's tough to argue Auburn is a top-40 team.
Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 130: Teams ranked 26-130