Tomorrow's Top 25 Today: Ranked teams take care of business on uneventful day
Projecting the changes in the new AP Top 25 poll college football rankings after Week 12
If you were looking for significant shakeups in the college football rankings this weekend, you're soon to be severely disappointed. Only one of the top 10 teams in last week's AP Top 25 lost on Saturday, and that was the No. 10 team in Oklahoma State. The entire top nine remained intact, so we probably shouldn't expect any major changes when the new AP Top 25 is released Sunday. Still, there will be some, so let's try to figure out how things will look on Sunday.
1. Alabama (Last week -- 1): The Tide took a leisurely stroll against Mercer on Saturday, winning 56-0. Honestly, the only thing you heard about this game were cries from fans of other teams complaining that Alabama was playing Mercer this late in the season. Those same fans are never bringing up that Alabama opened this season with Florida State, opened last season with USC, and opened the seasons before that with Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Michigan while their favorite team was playing some MAC team coming off a 5-7 season. Darn that Alabama for always taking the easy way out.
2. Miami (2): For a while, it looked as though Miami's celebration after last week's win left the team with a bit of a hangover as Virginia jumped out to a 14-0 lead. The Cavs led 28-14 into the third quarter before the Canes rolled off 30 straight points. It's possible voters will punish the Canes for a sloppy first half, but I expect them to stay at No. 2.
3. Oklahoma (3): Will Baker Mayfield's apology for grabbing his crotch be enough to keep Oklahoma at No. 3? Much like Heisman voters, I don't think many will care enough to punish Mayfield or the Sooners for it, so they'll stick at No. 3 following a 41-3 win over Kansas.
4. Clemson (4): The Tigers had an interesting day. You have to wonder if a 61-3 game against Citadel will affect their standing with the College Football Playoff Selection Committee on Tuesday in a negative fashion. And even if it doesn't, will Syracuse's 46-point loss to Louisville hurt the Tigers?
5. Wisconsin (5): The Badgers passed another test, but I'm not sure it'll be enough to move them up any further in the polls. Michigan isn't exactly the kind of team that's been turning heads this season, and even if Wisconsin won by 14, it wasn't the kind of dominant performance that would change minds.
6. Auburn (6): The Tigers woke up during the second half to put UL-Monroe away 42-14 after a sleepy start. I'm keeping Auburn here because I think last week's win over Georgia will keep it ahead of the Bulldogs no matter who it played this week.
9. Notre Dame (9): Navy nearly shipwrecked the Irish for the second week in a row, but the Irish held on to beat the Mids 24-17. There's a chance the Irish fall a spot or two for playing Navy so closely, but it's more likely they stay at No. 9.
10. TCU (11): No Kenny Hill, no problem. The Horned Frogs held Texas Tech to three points in a 27-3 win. Fun fact about the Frogs for you: TCU hasn't allowed a point in the second half of any game since it played Kansas State. That was back on Oct. 14, which means that's five straight second-half shutouts for the Frogs.
11. USC (12): I was prepared to move USC up to the top 10 to replace Oklahoma State, and there's a chance it could happen, but I'm not sure the Trojans played well enough on Saturday night. Not that they're going to give back their 28-23 win over rival UCLA, but a top 10 USC beats UCLA by multiple scores. Hell, a No. 11 USC probably should have too.
12. Penn State (13): The Nittany Lions beat Nebraska 56-44, but the score wasn't that close. It was 56-24, but Nebraska scored three touchdowns in the final seven minutes against Penn State's reserves.
13. UCF (14): The Knights trailed Temple 10-7 early in the second quarter, causing some to wonder if they might blow their first game of the season. They didn't. It was just about all UCF from that point on in a 45-19 win.
14. Washington State (15): The Cougars had this week off, and I'm sure they would have liked to see a few more teams ahead of them lose.
15. Washington (16): Washington beat Utah 33-30 with a last-second field goal, completing a comeback in the final minutes after trailing 30-23. That will help the Huskies maintain their position in the rankings, but unfortunately, their playoff hopes -- minuscule as they were -- died Saturday night as well. Stanford's win over Cal on Saturday eliminated Washington from the Pac-12 North title race.
16. Mississippi State (17): Things were a bit closer than the Bulldogs were hoping for on Saturday as they fell behind Arkansas 14-0 in the first quarter. They were able to get their cowbells in order, however, and came back to win 28-21.
17. Oklahoma State (10): It's possible that Oklahoma State could fall further than this because although the final score was 45-40, that includes a furious -- and ultimately pointless -- rally by the Cowboys at the end. Still, I don't think a loss to Kansas State will be punished too harshly, but I suppose it's possible I have more faith in the kindness of the AP voters than I should.
18. Memphis (18): I'm amazed Memphis' win over SMU even ended. I figured both teams would just go back and forth scoring touchdowns for the rest of eternity, but the clock eventually struck zero with the Tigers leading 66-45.
19. Stanford (20): The Cardinal move up a spot even if they didn't have the kind of performance that would blow anybody away in a 17-14 win over California. Bryce Love did set a record, however, picking up his eleventh rush of 50 yards or more on the season. That's the new FBS single-season record.
20. LSU (21): The Tigers beat Tennessee 30-10 in Knoxville on Saturday night. The most exciting part of the game came at the beginning of the second half when a rain storm of biblical proportions hit Neyland Stadium. It reminded me that Brady Hoke's first win as a head coach at Michigan came in a game shortened by a thunderstorm, and now his first game at Tennessee was hit by a monsoon. It's like sometimes the universe is giving us a sign.
21. Michigan State (22): Stop me if you've heard this one before, but Michigan State won a low-scoring, dull game. For some reason, I don't think Sparty's 17-7 win over Maryland will make anybody forget last week's loss to Ohio State.
22. South Florida (23): The Bulls beat Tulsa 27-20 on Friday night, leaving themselves in a position to play UCF for a division title next weekend. That means they're still alive for a New Year's Six game.
23. Northwestern (NR): With West Virginia losing that means at least one team will climb into the top 25, and I'm guessing it will be Northwestern after a 39-0 win over Minnesota. The Wildcats were on the verge of making the top 25 last week and that blowout win will put them over the top this week.
24. Virginia Tech (NR): After a week outside the rankings the Hokies are likely to make their way back in. A 20-14 win over Pittsburgh isn't anything to get excited about, but this is still an 8-3 team that's going to finish in second place in the ACC Coastal. It received plenty of votes last week and will grab even more with NC State's loss.
25. Michigan (19): I wouldn't be surprised to see Michigan fall out of the top 25 completely and have somebody like Arizona or Boise State jump in here depending on how their games go. I'm leaving the Wolverines here for now, though, because I don't think losing to Wisconsin on the road suddenly makes you a bad team.
No longer ranked: West Virginia (24), NC State (25
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