Chaos in college football never stops.
After some major shakeups last week, this Saturday delivered as well, as seven of our ranked teams lost. Some of that was thanks to ranked matchups, but a couple of upsets (HELLO IOWA!) have helped change the course of college football yet again.
So where do we stand going into Week 11? Let’s take a look!
1. Georgia — SEC, 9-0
LW: 1 — Result: W, 24-10 vs. South Carolina
It was almost weird actually seeing Georgia in a somewhat competitive game again.
The Georgia run game wasn’t stopped, but this was a good litmus test on how the Bulldogs — mainly Jake Fromm — can perform when the run game is slowed down. Fromm was excellent, throwing a couple of touchdown passes to keep Georgia on top. Once Georgia had that 10-plus point lead, it was all up to the Bulldogs defense, who smothered almost anything the Gamecocks could muster in the second half.
2. Alabama — SEC, 9-0
LW: 2 — Result: W, 24-10 vs. LSU
A lot of people were probably hoping for this big grandiose blowout after Georgia usurped the No. 1 national ranking this past week. Well, it didn’t happen, but that’s okay. Alabama showed clear control in this game, and LSU is a quality enough team.
At the end of the day, it’s a solid two-touchdown win. We will have to wait and see the long-term effects, though, as Alabama did lose Mack Wilson and Shaun Dion Hamilton to injuries.
3. Clemson — ACC, 8-1
LW: 4 — Result: W, 38-31 at N.C. State
N.C. State put up a tough fight until a late interception by Clemson’s K’Von Wallace put an end to any hopes of an upset.
The best news for Clemson here is that quarterback Kelly Bryant is looking healthier yet again. Bryant is showing more mobility ever since he first suffered his ankle injury a month ago, and that is going to be vital for Clemson to head back to the ACC Championship Game.
4. Oklahoma — Big 12, 8-1
LW: 7 — Result: W, 62-52 at Oklahoma State
No, that’s not an early season college basketball score.
Baker Mayfield threw for 598 yards (on only 24 completions) in what was a game that likely cemented him as the No. 1 contender for this year’s Heisman Trophy.
Also, we should probably all be thankful that the targeting penalty and overturned interception in the fourth quarter turned out to have little affect on the game. Most people already hate how the targeting penalty is handled, so can you imagine the reactions if that had decided a game as big as this one? That would NOT have been pretty.
5. Notre Dame — ACC adjacent, 8-1
LW: 6 — Result: W, 48-37 at Wake Forest
This game wasn’t as close as the score makes it look; Wake Forest scored a touchdown with 51 seconds left to cut it to 11 after the Fighting Irish had been leading by three scores for much of the game up to that point.
Notre Dame did survive a bit of an injury scare to quarterback Brandon Wimbush, but he was able to return without any problems. That’s a great thing, too, as Notre Dame will need him next week when they head to Miami.
6. Wisconsin — Big Ten, 9-0
LW: 5 — Result: W, 45-17 at Indiana
Like the Notre Dame game, don’t be confused by the final score here. In contrast to that, though, this game was a lot closer than the scoreboard indicated.
Credit to Wisconsin for eventually putting their foot down in the fourth quarter, but it was very much a struggle against a mediocre (at best) Indiana team before that. The good news is that Wisconsin will get a chance at a couple of quality opponents with Iowa and Michigan coming up, but the bad news is obvious: their schedule isn’t strong enough to survive a loss and still get in to the College Football Playoff.
7. TCU — Big 12, 8-1
LW: 11 — Result: W, 24-7 vs. Texas
Second half here was a stark opposite of what happened in “Bedlam”, as both teams were scoreless for a while after TCU had taken a 17-7 lead into halftime. TCU will need all of that defensive effort next week, as they get Baker Mayfield, who is coming off one of the best offensive performances of his career.
8. Miami — ACC, 8-0
LW: 12 — Result: W, 28-10 vs. Virginia Tech
Miami finally played like a Top 10 team! Incredible!
While one game won’t completely rehab Miami’s image, this did a lot to prove that they weren’t a fraud of a team that was sneaking out victories. (I still can’t believe they struggled with UNC last week…)
Miami will be able to prove if they are the real deal next week, as they will be hosting Notre Dame. Win that game and I will have no qualms about calling them a Top 5 team.
9. Washington — Pac-12, 8-1
LW: 13 — Result: W, 38-3 vs. Oregon
The Pac-12 isn’t completely out of the College Football Playoff just yet, as Washington is still proving to be a contender. The Huskies have Stanford, Utah, Washington State, and potentially USC in the Pac-12 title game left on the schedule… would that be enough to get them into the Top 4?
Yeah, they might need some help…
10. Auburn — SEC, 7-2
LW: 14 — Result: W, 42-27 at Texas A&M
This game could have been a lot worse if Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham didn’t overthrow a couple of deep ball opportunities. That being said, this was a solid win on the road for an Auburn team that is continuing to rack up victories.
The Tigers get Georgia next week. That should be fun.
11. Oklahoma State — Big 12, 7-2
LW: 9 — Result: L, 52-62 vs. Oklahoma
This is a loss that is going to hurt for a bit.
Considering the Pokes pretty much win 10-games every year, there’s not much to be concerned about as far as the state of the program goes. However, this was a win that would have easily put them in the College Football Playoff conversation, and now those hopes are over after giving up almost 800 yards of offense to the rival Sooners.
12. USC — Pac-12, 8-2
LW: 18 — Result: W, 49-35 vs. Arizona
Alright, here’s where things are about to get really weird in the rankings…
USC is no longer in Playoff contention, but they have pieced together back-to-back strong wins over Arizona State and now Arizona. The score doesn’t really reflect it, but USC did a great job for most of the game in limiting Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, who had been on an amazing run in October and nearly added on to that magic with a second half comeback.
13. Central Florida — AAC, 8-0
LW: 15 — Result: W, 31-24 at SMU
This was a hard fought win over the same SMU team that gave TCU a lot of trouble earlier this season. I think that same more about the quality of SMU than it takes away from UCF or TCU.
That said, Central Florida is starting to slow down a bit after posting a lot of big scoring numbers this season. They still have two big games remaining on the season, including an end-of-the-season matchup against South Florida. If they can win that game and then beat Memphis in the AAC title game, then they should be able to get into a New Year’s Six game.
14. Michigan State — Big Ten, 7-2
LW: NR — Result: W, 27-24 vs. Penn State
This game took forever.
After over three hours of delays, we finally got to the end of this game, where a couple of costly decisions came to haunt Penn State. The first was going for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal from the 31-yard line; not great. The second was a roughing the passer penalty that gave Michigan State a first down and allowed the Spartans to kick the game-winning field.
Sparty is definitely back after a 3-9 season last year.
15. Ohio State — Big Ten, 7-2
LW: 3 — Result: L, 24-55 at Iowa
Looks like we may have overrated the top of the Big Ten yet again, all while underrating the middle of the conference.
After Nick Bosa was ejected, this game was just a bloodbath. J.T. Barrett looked awful in throwing four picks (one really wasn’t his fault), and this was such a disappointing result after the hype had gotten re-lit under the Buckeyes.
16. Washington State — Pac-12, 8-2
LW: 22 — Result: W, 24-21 vs. Stanford
Bryce Love returned for Stanford, but it wasn’t enough as it was another bizarre case of the Washington State defense showing up to a game. This is one of the more bizarre things in college football to me; either the Cougs defense is phenomenal or awful and there rarely seems to be a middle ground.
It probably won’t win them any championships, but yeah, it makes for some entertaining football. Keep it up, Mike Leach.
17. Penn State — Big Ten, 7-2
LW: 7 — Result: L, 24-27 at Michigan State
The whole Big Ten really took a step back on Saturday night. (no offense to Michigan State) The conference’s Playoff hopes now lay all on Wisconsin, and that’s a shaky table to be putting those hopes on.
That said, at least James Franklin seems to have the program on steady footing.
18. Virginia Tech — ACC, 7-2
LW: 10 — Result: L, 10-28 at Miami
Yeah, don’t turn the ball over against Miami. It’s not going to work out for you.
The inexperience of the Virginia Tech offense showed on Saturday, as Miami’s defense rattled them and the Hokies really weren’t able to recover.
The positives: quarterback Josh Jackson is still just a freshman, so the future is bright in Blacksburg.
19. Memphis — AAC, 8-1
LW: 21 — Result: W, 41-14 at Tulsa
Memphis is still in contention for a New Year’s Six spot with how well they have played ever since they lost to UCF earlier in the season. They better enjoy it while they can, though, as head coach Mike Norvell is a top candidate to get picked up by a Power 5 team in this year’s coaching carousel.
First Justin Fuente, now Norvell… maybe Memphis can find yet another guy.
20. Michigan — Big Ten, 7-2
LW: 23 — Result: W, 33-10 vs. Minnesota
Well well well, look who is right back in contention in the Big Ten.
After Jim Harbaugh faced a lot of criticism when Michigan lost to Penn State, the Wolverines are now 7-2 and they have a chance to get to 10 wins yet again. Considering how young this team is, that should be considered a massive win in Ann Arbor.
21. LSU — SEC, 6-3
LW: 19 — Result: L, 10-24 at Alabama
LSU stays in the rankings. Sure, it wasn’t a good performance, but are we going to shame a team for losing by two touchdowns at Alabama? That’s what should happen to a team ranked 20th or so in the nation.
22. South Florida — AAC, 8-1
LW: 24 — Result: W, 37-20 at UConn
Yet another game of “not as close as the final score”.
USF rebounded strongly after a loss to Houston last week. Quarterback Quinton Flowers was fantastic, and Charlie Strong’s team jumped out to a 34-7 lead to essentially seal the game; they clearly took a foot off the gas at that point.
23. Iowa — Big Ten, 6-3
LW: NR — Result: W, 55-24 at Iowa
*looks at final score again*
Seriously, that is still difficult to believe. Iowa has been an upset darling in recent year, but absolutely demolishing Ohio State like they did in the second half? No one could have predicted that. If you told me that you did predict it, I wouldn’t believe you.
24. Iowa State — Big 12, 6-3
LW: 16 — Result: L, 16-20 at West Virginia
Well so much for Iowa State heading to the Big 12 title game…
Quarterback Kyle Kempt finally slowed down a little bit after he became a star in Iowa State’s upset of Oklahoma earlier in the year. It was bound to happen at some point, and a slowed down run game didn’t do him any favors.
Iowa State will need to get back on track quickly, though, as they get Oklahoma State next week.
25. Mississippi State — SEC, 7-2
LW: 25 — Result: W, 34-23 vs. UMass
Considering how many ranked teams lost this week, it’s almost incredible that Mississippi State didn’t move up here.
Lesson: don’t struggle with a bad 2-7 UMass team. Struggling with a good 2-7 UMass team probably isn’t ideal, either.
DROPPED FROM THE RANKINGS: Stanford (20)