The College Football Playoff rankings for Week 12 were announced Tuesday night and every team has a different ranking from last week, including two new teams that climbed into the top four from last week.
Five schools earned their highest rankings in program history.
Here are the latest College Football Playoff rankings (last week’s ranking in parentheses):
- LSU (2)
- Ohio State (1)
- Clemson (5)
- Georgia (6)
- Alabama (3)
- Oregon (7)
- Utah (8)
- Minnesota (17)
- Penn State (4)
- Oklahoma (9)
- Florida (10)
- Auburn (11)
- Baylor (12)
- Wisconsin (13)
- Michigan (14)
- Notre Dame (15)
- Cincinnati (20)
- Memphis (21)
- Texas (NR)
- Iowa (18)
- Boise State (22)
- Oklahoma State (23)
- Navy (24)
- Kansas State (16)
- Appalachian State (NR)
Here are our takeaways from the Week 12 College Football Playoff rankings.
Minnesota climbs nine spots but was it enough?
Minnesota climbed from No. 17 to No. 8 after beating No. 4 Penn State, ahead of the six two-loss teams it was ranked behind last week. The Gophers weren’t going to inherit the Nittany Lions’ No. 4 ranking – Penn State had previously beaten Michigan and Iowa, as well as Pitt in non-conference play (Minnesota didn’t play a Power Five opponent in the non-conference) – but it was fair to wonder if they could’ve climbed even higher than No. 8.
It may not have been unreasonable to think that Minnesota could’ve potentially been part of the top-six reveal on ESPN. But the Gophers still have a tremendous amount of upwards mobility with remaining regular season games against No. 20 Iowa and No. 14 Wisconsin, plus a potential matchup with No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.
Alabama, Penn State fall out of top four
Not a single team ranked in the CFP rankings in Week 11 kept the same ranking in Week 12, which includes Alabama and Penn State falling out of the top four and being replaced by Clemson (previously No. 5) and Georgia (No. 6).
Despite losing to LSU, the committee’s new No. 1 team, by five points, Alabama is now at No. 5, which puts its five-year playoff streak in jeopardy. The Crimson Tide’s only remaining game against a ranked opponent is the Iron Bowl against No. 12 Auburn, which could finish with four regular season losses with upcoming games against Georgia and Alabama. For that reason, plus Auburn’s head-to-head win over Oregon on a neutral field, the Tigers remain one of the most interesting teams in the playoff rankings and discussion, even if they aren’t a playoff contender themselves.
After debuting at No. 4, Penn State fell to No. 9 following its loss at Minnesota but the Nittany Lions are certainly not out of the playoff race. They still have a trip to No. 2 Ohio State with a Big Ten East title on the line.
Georgia entered the season as a playoff contender and while the Bulldogs haven’t always looked as dominant as many college football fans expected they might, they’re back in the top four.
The ‘Dawgs control their own destiny with a chance to pick up another quality win at Auburn and the chance to play No. 1 LSU in the SEC Championship if Georgia wins out.
A hypothetical conference championship game between 12-0 LSU and 11-1 Georgia is really interesting, especially for the teams ranked No. 5 through No. 10, because you could argue that a Georgia win could potentially lead to both SEC schools making the playoff.
LSU’s strong resume rewarded by the committee
Ohio State, which was ranked No. 1 in the CFP rankings last week, won 73-14 against Maryland in its last game. In other words, the Buckeyes were nothing but dominant and didn’t do anything to drop in the selection committee’s rankings.
LSU’s resume, which now includes wins over No. 5 Alabama (on the road), No. 11 Florida, No. 12 Auburn and No. 19 Texas (on the road), is clearly the strongest in the country and worthy of the Tigers climbing to the top spot in the CFP rankings.
Baylor is still searching for credibility
Minnesota was ranked No. 17 last week as an undefeated Power Five team but the Gophers didn’t have a win that meant as much as the one they earned in Week 11 over then-No. 4 Penn State.
Now Baylor has a chance to earn a similar caliber win over No. 10 Oklahoma this weekend. Baylor actually dropped one spot from Week 11 (No. 12) to Week 12 (No. 13) because of Minnesota’s jump and the Bears are still behind two-loss teams in Florida and Auburn.
Baylor needed triple overtime to beat TCU on the road in Week 11 and the Bears have had a number of close wins this season. They’ll have the chance to move into the top 10 and maybe even higher if they can beat Oklahoma in Week 12.
Schools that earned their highest-ever CFP rankings
The following schools earned their highest CFP rankings ever on Tuesday night:
- LSU: No. 1
- Utah: No. 7
- Minnesota: No. 8
- Cincinnati: No. 17
- Appalachian State: No. 25