College Football Playoff Rankings: Reactions to the Week 13’s Rankings

    Here are our reactions to the latest College Football Playoff rankings.

    November 19, 2019

    The Week 13 College Football Playoff rankings provided little shakeup, at least at the top of the selection committee’s rankings. The top eight teams kept their ranking from last week, which means LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia are still the top four teams in that order with Alabama and Oregon at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.

    Here are the CFP rankings for Week 13 (last week’s ranking in parentheses):

    1. LSU (1)
    2. Ohio State (2)
    3. Clemson (3)
    4. Georgia (4)
    5. Alabama (5)
    6. Oregon (6)
    7. Utah (7)
    8. Penn State (8)
    9. Oklahoma (10)
    10. Minnesota (8)
    11. Florida (11)
    12. Wisconsin (14)
    13. Michigan (15)
    14. Baylor (13)
    15. Auburn (12)
    16. Notre Dame (16)
    17. Iowa (20)
    18. Memphis (18)
    19. Cincinnati (17)
    20. Boise State (21)
    21. Oklahoma State (22)
    22. Iowa State (NR)
    23. USC (NR)
    24. Appalachian State (25)
    25. SMU (NR)


    Here are our reactions to the latest College Football Playoff rankings.


    Penn State jumps Minnesota

    Even though Minnesota beat Penn State in a head-to-head game, the Nittany Lions are ranked No. 8 in Week 13 with the Gophers at No. 10. You can argue that Penn State’s resume is stronger with wins over Michigan and Iowa, the latter of whom just beat Minnesota. It shows that head-to-head results are just one component in the selection committee’s rankings.


    Alabama maintains its ranking despite Tua’s injury

    Heading into Tuesday’s CFP rankings reveal, there was some speculation regarding whether or not Alabama would drop from No. 5 after quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a season-ending hip injury. The Crimson Tide maintained its position from last week (as did all of the top eight teams), which means that backup quarterback Mac Jones and Alabama will get the chance to prove itself in the final two weeks of the season, primarily in a road game at No. 15 Auburn in the Iron Bowl.


    Minnesota and Baylor drop but not substantially

    Two of the more surprising teams that took an undefeated record deep into the regular season – Minnesota and Baylor – lost in Week 12. The Gophers fell from No. 8 to No. 10 while the Bears dropped from No. 13 to No. 14.

    Both teams are technically in the College Football Playoff race – if either team wins out, it would be a 12-1 conference champion with an impressive win in its conference championship game – but the committee’s opinion of the two schools didn’t change significantly. That’s in part because the committee hadn’t ranked either school particularly high in the rankings. Remember, Minnesota started at No. 17 and needed a win over then-No. 4 Penn State to climb into the top 10.


    Memphis claims highest Group of Five ranking

    Despite Cincinnati staying undefeated in the American Athletic Conference by beating South Florida, the selection committee decided in the last week that Memphis is the best team in the conference and therefore, the best Group of Five team.

    The advanced analytics would agree. Memphis is ranked No. 14 in ESPN’s SP+ rankings and Cincinnati is No. 29 (with UCF in between at No. 18!).


    New teams to the rankings add interesting context

    Iowa State returned to the CFP rankings in Week 13 at No. 22, which gives No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 14 Baylor a top-25 win that neither school had last week (for at least a week). USC rejoined the rankings at No. 23, which means Utah’s only loss this season was on the road to a top-25 team, while Oregon drilled that same ranked USC team on the road 56-24.

    It’s typically fair to say that the teams that are ranked in the 20s don’t matter in terms of who makes the playoff but the teams that finish the season ranked No. 20 through No. 25 could potentially prove to be of critical importance for determining which team earns the No. 4 seed if it adds an extra top-25 win or two for a playoff contender, or makes a playoff contender’s only loss seem “better.”


    Michigan climbs two spots, Auburn stays in the top 15

    While Michigan and Auburn won’t be playoff teams this season, the Wolverines and Tigers could play a role in which four teams make the playoff and which seeds the playoff teams are assigned.

    Michigan is fresh off of a big win over rival Michigan State and the selection committee moved the Wolverines up two spots to No. 13, which means No. 2 Ohio State has the chance to add a potential road win over a borderline top-10 team to its resume.

    Auburn, despite having three losses, stayed in the top 15, which still makes Oregon’s season-opening loss look respectable and it gives Alabama the chance to beat a top-15 team on the road with Mac Jones in Week 14.


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