Predicting the College Football Playoff Rankings for Week 12: Minnesota Climbs, Penn State Drops

Two teams ranked in the top four of the Week 11 College Football Playoff rankings lost on Saturday – No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Penn State – which means there are bound to be some major changes in the Week 12 CFP rankings, especially at the top. Based on the selection committee’s historical decisions and the Week 11 results, here are what we predict the CFP rankings will look like in Week 12.


Dropped from the rankings: No. 19 Wake Forest

25. SMU (9-1)

The Mustangs won a shootout against East Carolina 59-51, which certainly would’ve been a bad loss that would’ve knocked SMU out of the CFP rankings given that East Carolin is winless in the AAC this year. SMU is off in Week 12 then it travels to Navy in Week 13.


24. Navy (7-1)

The Midshipmen were off in Week 11 ahead of a huge opportunity with a road game at Notre Dame in Week 12. If Navy wins that game, the Midshipmen could potentially climb to the highest ranking of any Group of Five time. In Week 13, Navy hosts SMU.


23. Oklahoma State (6-3)

The Cowboys were off in Week 11 after somewhat surprisingly being ranked in the first 2019 College Football Playoff rankings of the season. They’ll have the ability to stay there with upcoming games against Kansas and West Virginia.


22. Iowa (6-3)

The Hawkeyes can kiss their Big Ten West hopes goodbye after a 24-22 loss at No. 13 Wisconsin in Week 11. However, they can play spoiler in Week 12 when they host Minnesota.


21. Kansas State (6-3)

The Wildcats’ three-game winning streak came to an end as Texas kicker Cameron Dicker’s 26-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired but Kansas State still has a win over Oklahoma, a road win at Mississippi State and its only losses are to teams that were ranked by the selection committee last week (Oklahoma State, Baylor) or could be ranked this week (Texas).


20. Texas (6-3)

The Longhorns beat No. 16 Kansas State 27-24 on a last-second field goal in Austin, giving Texas its first win over an opponent that was ranked at kickoff and its second win over teams that were ranked in the Week 11 CFP rankings (Oklahoma State).


19. Boise State (8-1)

The Broncos needed overtime to beat Wyoming 20-17, which keeps Boise State’s hopes alive for finishing the season as the highest-ranked Group of Five team and earning a New Year’s Six bowl bid. With a win over Missouri and two of its three losses coming against Mountain West teams that the committee ranked in Week 11, Wyoming is actually a quality Group of Five team so Boise State needing overtime shouldn’t necessarily hurt its standing.


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 highest-ranked Group of Five team kept UConn out of the end zone in a 48-3 win on Saturday. The Huskies are winless in the American so that win alone shouldn’t cause Cincinnati to climb in the rankings but what could were the Week 11 losses of teams that were ranked ahead of the Bearcats.


16. Notre Dame (7-2)

The Fighting Irish rolled in a 38-7 win over Duke, which dropped to 4-5 with the loss. Notre Dame will likely stay behind Michigan with some pretty easy head-to-head results of Wisconsin beating Michigan, which beat Notre Dame.


15. 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.


14. Wisconsin (7-2)

The Badgers picked up another win over a ranked opponent with a 24-22 win over No. 18 Iowa but we’ll have to see how long the Hawkeyes stay in the CFP rankings after that loss and a game against undefeated Minnesota in Week 12. Wisconsin’s loss to Illinois also looks a little better in hindsight.


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 shut out Vanderbilt 56-0 but that shouldn’t mean much of anything to the selection committee because the Commodores are either the worst team in the SEC or second-worst behind Arkansas, which fired its coach on Sunday.


11. Baylor (9-0)

The Bears will be an interesting team to watch as the Week 12 CFP rankings are revealed on Tuesday. They maintained their perfect record with a triple-overtime win at TCU but the Horned Frogs are just 4-5 on the season (2-4 Big 12), so Baylor doesn’t necessarily have the upwards mobility that fellow lower-ranked undefeated team Minnesota has after beating Penn State.


10. Oklahoma (8-1)

The Sooners flirted with their second loss in as many games as they held off Iowa State 42-41 at home, which shouldn’t do Oklahoma any favors in improving its CFP ranking form last week.


9. Penn State (8-1)

Days after earning a program-best No. 4 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings, Penn State lost its first game of the season and is sure to fall no just outside of the top four but potentially the top 10.

The Nittany Lions are by no means out of the playoff race because they still travel to play Ohio State and they’d have a great resume as a hypothetical 12-1 Big Ten Champion. But after being in the heart of the playoff picture in Week 11, they’ll be more on the outside of the conversation in Week 12.


8. 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.


7. 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.


6. Minnesota (9-0)

Minnesota should be responsible for one of the biggest – if not the biggest – week-to-week improvement in the history of the College Football Playoff rankings after the previously untested Gophers beat No. 4 Penn State in the Twin Cities. Minnesota now has a marquee win to its name so the Gophers not only have a case to be a top-10 team in Week 12, but potentially one that’s revealed among the final six.


5. Georgia (8-1)

After shutting out a plummeting Mizzou team 27-0, Georgia should climb in the next set of College Football Playoff rankings, assuming that Minnesota doesn’t make an almost unthinkable jump from No. 17 to inside the top five.


4. Alabama (8-1)

There’s a bigger discussion to be had during the final stretch of the season about whether or not Alabama can (or should) make the College Football Playoff if it finishes the regular season 11-1. The topic was covered in this week’s No Huddle column and the truth of the matter is that the Crimson Tide could probably use some help. There’s no shame is a five-point loss to what might be the best team in the country so Alabama shouldn’t fall very far in the Week 12 College Football Playoff rankings.


3. Clemson (10-0)

That was quick. After some consternation that the reigning national champions started at No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings in Week 11, Clemson should crack the top four after Alabama and Penn State lost and the Tigers likely won’t be No. 4, either.


2. Ohio State (9-0)

The Buckeyes dominated Maryland without having their best player, defensive end Chase Young, available and their projected drop to No. 2 is to no fault of their own. LSU has simply played excellent against an incredibly tough schedule.


1. LSU (9-0)

After LSU’s 46-41 road win at Alabama, the Tigers have now beaten the teams ranked No. 3, No. 10 and No. 11 in the Week 11 College Football Playoff rankings, plus a road win against a Texas team that appeared in the Week 12 AP Top 25 poll.


MORE: Was Florida State Hiring Willie Taggart The Worst Hire of 2018?