Predicting the College Football AP Top 25 Poll for Week 12: Ohio State Climbs, Alabama Drops

Saturday brought us two games between undefeated conference foes and neither LSU-Alabama nor Minnesota-Penn State disappointed. Both games had massive implications in their respective division and conference races, as well as the College Football Playoff outlook.

There will undoubtedly be major changes in the next AP poll based upon Week 11’s results.

Here’s what we predict the college football AP Top 25 poll will look like in Week 12. As a reminder, this isn’t a personal AP ballot, this is a prediction of how AP poll voters will collectively vote.


Dropped from the rankings: No. 22 Wake Forest, No. 24 San Diego State


25. Navy (7-1)

The Midshipmen had a bye week in Week 11 with two big weeks ahead – at Notre Dame in Week 12 and home against SMU in Week 13. If Navy wins both, we’ll have to strongly consider the possibility that Navy will earn a New Year’s Six bid.


24. Indiana (7-2)

The Hoosiers were off in Week 11, one week after beating Northwestern at home. The Hoosiers were third among Others Receiving Votes in last week’s AP poll.


23. Kansas State (6-3)

The Wildcats lost on a last-second field goal at Texas, which ended Kansas State’s three-game winning streak. The next two weeks should be easier, however, with games against West Virginia and Texas Tech.


22. Texas (6-3)

The Longhorns clinched bowl eligibility with a 27-24 win over No. 16 Kansas State, which Texas won on Cameron Dicker’s 26-yard field goal in the closing seconds.


21. Iowa (6-3)

With a 24-22 loss at Wisconsin on Saturday, Iowa is now three games behind Big Ten West-leading Minnesota with three games to go. Quarterback Nate Stanley completed 17-of-28 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns but the Hawkeyes didn’t reach the end zone until the fourth quarter as they made a comeback attempt that was too little, too late.


20. SMU (9-1)

The Mustangs bounced back after suffering their first loss of the season at Memphis. They held off East Carolina 59-51 in a game in which SMU never trailed but never totally distanced itself from the Pirates. Quarterback Shane Buechele threw for 414 yards and five touchdowns in the win.


19. Boise State (8-1)

The Broncos held off Wyoming 20-17 in overtime in a game in which Boise State concerted on just 4-of-12 third down conversions and rushed for just 3.3 yards per carry. It wasn’t necessarily pretty but a win is a win.


18. Memphis (8-1)

The Tigers had a week to bask in the glow of their Week 10 win over previously undefeated SMU with College GameDay in town. Memphis had a bye week in Week 11 with a road trip to Houston up next.


17. Cincinnati (8-1)

The Bearcats rolled in Week 11, beating UConn 48-3 behind four rushing touchdowns and quarterback Desmond Ridder’s two passing touchdowns and 94 yards on the ground. Next up is a road game against South Florida.


16. Wisconsin (7-2)

Wisconsin won an important Big Ten West matchup against No. 18 Iowa, 24-22, that keeps the Badgers in the hunt for the Big Ten Championship. Running back Jonathan Taylor ran the ball 31 times for 250 yards, including a game-high rush for 42 yards, while wide receiver Quintez Cephus was Wisconsin’s leading receiver with five receptions for 94 yards and a score. If Wisconsin can win out and Minnesota loses twice, the Badgers will win the Big Ten West.


15. Notre Dame (7-2)

The Fighting Irish only allowed the Blue Devils to reach the end zone once in their 38-7 win as quarterback Ian Book threw for four touchdown passes and rushed for a team-high 139 yards. Notre Dame held Duke to just 3.3 yards per pass attempt and 3.2 yards per carry.


14. Michigan (7-2)

The Wolverines had a bye week in Week 11 with three big weeks ahead. Michigan’s Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff hopes are all but gone but the Wolverines still have two rivalry games at home – Michigan State in Week 12 and Ohio State in Week 14 – with a tricky road game at Indiana in between.

A 10-2 regular season would salvage much of the goodwill lost earlier in the season while there could still be two more potential losses left on Michigan’s regular season schedule.


13. Auburn (7-2)

The Tigers had a bye week in Week 11 before they play host to Georgia. Two of Auburn’s last three games are against Georgia and Alabama – both of which are at home.


12. Florida (8-2)

The Gators put the hurt on Vanderbilt, 56-0, after blowing open a game that was scoreless through the first quarter. Florida scored 28 points in the third quarter, starting quarterback Kyle Trask threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns, and backup quarterback Emory Jones ran for three touchdowns.


11. Penn State (8-1)

Quarterback Sean Clifford’s three interceptions proved costly as all three were picked off deep in Minnesota territory and Penn State Coach James Franklin had some potentially questionable game management decisions. However, the Nittany Lions are not out of the Big Ten East, Big Ten Championship or College Football Playoff race, but at this point they have to win out, which includes a road game at Ohio State and likely a theoretical rematch against Minnesota.


10. Baylor (9-0)

The Bears made this one interesting as TCU led 3-0 after the first quarter, 9-0 at halftime, 9-3 through three and 9-6 in the final minute. Baylor kicker John Mayers forced overtime with a career-long 51-yarder in the final minute, then Baylor won in triple overtime after the Bears picked off TCU quarterback Max Duggan’s final pass attempt on fourth down in the third overtime period. TCU may not be ranked in the top 25 but the Horned Frogs are a quality opponent and this was a tough road test for a Baylor team that controls its own destiny in the Big 12.


9. Minnesota (9-0)

Row the boat, indeed. Minnesota picked up its biggest win of the season by knocking off previously undefeated No. 4 Penn State. Minnesota’s administration and fan base can feel better about P.J. Fleck’s new contract extension as the Gophers are now in the driver’s seat to make the Big Ten Championship out of the Big Ten West and they have as much potential upwards mobility in the College Football Playoff rankings as any team in the country.


8. Oklahoma (8-1)

What started as a lopsided home game in the first half turned into Oklahoma hanging on for dear life as Iowa State out-scored the Sooners 20-0 in the fourth quarter to cut their lead to 42-41 with 24 seconds left. Oklahoma picked off Brock Purdy’s game-winning, two-point conversion attempt to preserve the victory. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 68 yards and two scores. Oklahoma’s playoff hopes are still alive for at least one more week.


7. Utah (8-1)

The Utes had a bye week in Week 11 after winning 33-28 at Washington. Next up is a home game against UCLA.


6. Oregon (8-1)

One week after an emphatic road win at USC, the Ducks had a bye week in Week 11. Next up is a home game against Arizona.


5. Georgia (8-1)

The Bulldogs pitched a shutout against Missouri, 27-0, as Georgia’s defense held Missouri to just 4.4 yards per pass attempt and 2.1 yard per carry, while kicker Rodrigo Blankenship kicked four field goals. Freshman wide receiver George Pickens caught both of Jake Fromm’s touchdown passes.


4. Alabama (8-1)

The Crimson Tide cut LSU’s 20-point lead at halftime to six points early in the fourth quarter, then five points late in the game, but Alabama couldn’t win the rivalry game. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa put up some big numbers – 418 passing yards and four touchdowns – and running back Najee Harris was an absolute difference-maker, but the Crimson Tide is now behind the eight-ball in regards to its College Football Playoff hopes.


3. Clemson (10-0)

The Tigers’ win total reached double digits on Saturday as Clemson throttled NC State 55-10 after scoring 28 points in the first quarter and 14 more in the second. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 20-of-27 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns, plus 59 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, while Travis Etienne pace Clemson with 14 carries for 112 rushing yards and two scores.


2. Ohio State (9-0)

No Chase Young, no problem for Ohio State. The Buckeyes covered a massive spread against Maryland in a 73-14 win after scoring 21 points in each of the first two quarters. Quarterback Justin Fields threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for another, while J.K. Dobbins rushed for 90 yards and two scores on a day in which the Buckeyes ran for 383 in total.


1. LSU (9-0)

For the first time since 2011, LSU beat Alabama and the Tigers did so in Tuscaloosa, 46-41, scoring 33 first half points and capitalizing on numerous physical and mental errors by the Crimson Tide. Heisman frontrunner Joe Burrow had an excellent performance, completing 31-of-39 passes for 393 yards and three touchdowns, plus 64 rushing yards.

LSU is every bit deserving of the No. 1 ranking in the country.


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