There’s a huge change near the top of my 2017 College Football Top 20 Rankings. Although Alabama remains at 1, I’m not as in love with Miami as I am with Wisconsin. Below, I get deeper into why.
2017 College Football Top 20 Rankings Week 12
1. Alabama Crimson Tide 10-0
Alabama didn’t get close to covering the spread versus the Mississippi State Bulldogs in their 31 to 24 win. Bama’s got issues at the linebacker position. The issue is that all of their linebackers are hurt.
2. Wisconsin Badgers 10-0
Everybody went ga-ga over Iowa after the Hawkeyes dominated the Ohio State Buckeyes in Week 10. I wasn’t. I knew that Wisconsin was the better team. The Badgers dominated Iowa 38 to 14.
3. Miami Hurricanes 9-0
I, like everyone else, is running out of superlatives for Miami’s unbelievable 41 to 8 win over the Notre Dame Irish. What was unbelievable about it is that Notre Dame didn’t look prepared to battle a Hurricane team that, up until the win, hadn’t gotten so much as a high-five for being undefeated.
The irony? Miami coach Mark Richt could take the Hurricanes to the CFP while his former team, the Georgia Bulldogs, might have gotten knocked out of the running in their loss to Auburn.
4. Oklahoma Sooners 9-1
The Sooners’ 31 to 38 loss to Iowa State weeks ago doesn’t look so bad now that Oklahoma has beaten Oklahoma State and TCU in back-to-back weeks. Holding TCU to only 20 points, while scoring 38 against a defense that usually allows around 16, is a testament to how well Oklahoma’s playing.
5. Clemson Tigers 9-1
I know that when the CFP comes out this week, everyone’s going to be all over the Clemson Tigers. Okay. I get it. Clemson has only lost once this season. But, Clemson got to beat Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, and Florida State after the loss to Syracuse. That doesn’t compare to beating TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weeks. It’s not even close.
6. Auburn Tigers 8-2
Watch out for the Auburn Tigers. Auburn has a shot to make it to the CFP with 2 losses. How? If Auburn beats Alabama in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 24, and then the Tigers beat Georgia again in the SEC Championship, Auburn should be in. What’s the Selection Committee going to do? Keep the SEC out of the CFP?
7. Ohio State Buckeyes 8-2
If things go the Buckeyes’ way, Ohio State could also climb into the College Football Playoff discussion. The Buckeyes can hope that Wisconsin trounces Michigan. Then, they can beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. Depending on what else happens, who knows? Ohio State might get in.
8. Georgia Bulldogs 9-1
Even Georgia has a shot to get into the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs are already in the SEC Championship. So, if the Bulldogs beat an undefeated Alabama team in the championship, or if they beat Auburn, the logic fits. There’s no way the Selection Committee leaves the SEC out of the CFP.
9. Notre Dame Irish 8-2
Here’s one team that has no shot to make it to the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame doesn’t get a bail out game against someone in their conference because they’re an independent team. The Irish looked terrible when losing to Miami. Plus, Georgia, who gave Notre Dame their first loss this season, blew it against Auburn.
10. Central Florida 9-0
If Central Florida finishes the regular season undefeated, do they deserve a shot in the CFP? As of last week, Central Florida was ranked 18th on the CFP Rankings. There were 8 two loss teams ahead of UCF. So, the answer is no.
11. Oklahoma State 8-2
Oklahoma State is fighting for a Big 12 Championship. The Big 12 only has 10 teams, which begs the question why they still call themselves the Big 12. There must be at least 11 teams in your conference to have a championship game. That means Oklahoma State won’t get a chance to gain revenge on either Oklahoma or TCU, the 2 teams that they’ve lost to this season.
12. USC 9-2
USC was ranked 11th this past week on the CFP Rankings. When this week’s CFP Rankings come out, the Trojans have no choice but to move up. TCU lost. So, did Washington. How far, though, will USC move up? It feels like the Trojans have a better shot of beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl next year than they do of making the CFP.
That’s a way of saying that even if USC beats Washington, or Washington State, or Stanford, 68 to 0 in the Pac-12 Championship, the Trojans won’t get enough love to jump into the College Football Playoff. That’s the way it goes when you lose to Washington State and Notre Dame.
13. TCU 8-2
TCU still sports a very good defense. I won’t cloud the facts, though. Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense rocked the Horned Frogs’ defense this past Saturday. TCU usually allows around 16 points per game. They gave up 38 to Oklahoma. TCU usually allows only 82.7 rushing yards per game. The Sooners rushed for 200 yards on the Horned Frogs.
14. Penn State 8-2
After two heartbreaking losses, 38 to 39 to Ohio State and 24 to 27 to Michigan State, the Penn State Nittany Lions finally got it together. Penn State beat Rutgers 35 to 6. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, they’ve already got 2 losses. Add in the fact that Penn State finishes up their season in games against Nebraska and Maryland and it becomes obvious that Penn State has no shot of making it to the CFP.
15. Michigan 8-2
57% of college football handicappers feel that Michigan covers the +7.5 spread against Wisconsin in Week 12. It makes sense. The Wolverines’ defense has finally gelled. Michigan hasn’t allowed a single team to score more than 14 points against them in their last 3 games. The Wolverines have outscored their last 2 opponents, Minnesota and Maryland, 68 to 20.
16. Washington 8-2
Washington was perilously close to getting dropped from my College Football Top 20 all together. They were horrendous in the 22 to 30 loss to the Stanford Cardinal in Week 11. Washington is a good football team because their coach, Chris Petersen, is one of the best in all of college football. Petersen doesn’t have the players this season to make Washington a great football team.
17. Washington State 9-2
Can the Cougars fight their way into a huge New Years Day Bowl Game? Earlier in the season, Washington State had a New Years Day Bowl Game locked up. Heck, when Washington State was undefeated some thought the Cougars had the best defensive line in the country. WSU takes College Football Week 12 off to prepare for the mighty Washington Huskies, their biggest rivals.
Washington State is in first place in the Pac-12 North Division. The Cougars could definitely secure a top bowl bid with a win over Washington and a win over USC or Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship.
18. LSU 7-3
The LSU Tigers are one of the most impressive teams I’ve seen play this past month. No, seriously. Beating Auburn 27 to 23 is huge. Taking apart Ole Miss is never an easy task. Covering versus the Alabama Crimson Tide is also tough to do. Beating Arkansas 33 to 10 in Week 11, although expected, showed me how much heart the Tigers from the bayou really have. LSU had every right to fold after losing to Troy earlier in the season. The Tigers didn’t fold. Instead, they decided to get better. Getting past adversity is the way to build long-lasting, winning, college football programs.
19. Stanford 7-3
Stanford is another team that has clawed their way back onto my Top 20. The Cardinal beat Washington straight up 30 to 22 in Week 10. It was a spirited win because the week before, Stanford had fallen 21 to 24 to Washington State.
20. West Virginia 7-3
I didn’t think much of West Virginia. For the second straight week, they surprised me. The Mountaineers beat Iowa State, who was en fuego at the time, 20 to 16. I thought for sure West Virginia would bounce versus a tough Kansas State squad. Nope. The Mountaineers beat K-State 28 to 23 this past Saturday. West Virginia is a good football team.