Projecting the Week 12 CFP Rankings

Taking a stab at the College Football Playoff rankings has been a futile effort in recent weeks. Teams you expect to fall, don’t. Teams you expect to see, aren’t there. You also find out who the committee — a term that is referred to like they’re a shadow-cloak society when really it’s just administrators gathering together to eat Panera in a conference room — loves and does not love.

For instance, NC State was 16th in the CFP rankings last week while sitting at 20 and 21 in the Coaches Poll and AP Poll, respectively. Two weeks ago, Mississippi State — a team the Wolfpack lost to on the road — was ranked 17th despite being unranked in the other polls.

On the flip side you have Oklahoma and Cincinnati. Despite being fourth in both polls last week, the Sooners were eighth in the CFP rankings. As some sort of a Gary Barta-preordained destiny, OU lost by double-digits to Baylor, a team who fell just one spot last week following a loss to unranked TCU. Then you have the Bearcats who have toggled between two and three in the traditional polls only to be ranked sixth then fifth in the first two CFP rankings.

As I said, it’s hard to try to guess what the committee will do tonight, but here’s my sure-to-be-wrong hazarded guess.

  1. Georgia – This is the easiest place on the board to get right. There are only three undefeated teams left and only one plays in the SEC. The other two may as well be a mask mandate in Itta Bena, Miss. the way they’ve been widely ignored.
  2. Alabama -This year, the committee loved Alabama before Alabama even loved themselves. That really warms your heart as Alabama, the little engine that could, got the benefit of the doubt early on. They did nothing to lose this spot after beating the New Mexico State Jolly Gang of Scorpions or whatever their mascot is last weekend.
  3. Oregon – The Ducks are like Paramount Plus; it’s mostly shit but HAVE YOU F***ING SEEN YELLOWSTONE? Only one Pac-12 team has been in the CFP rankings so far this year and it’s been Oregon. Their resume is a whole lot of meh, but they won in Columbus earlier this year without a lot of key players and that means everything for their title hopes.
  4. Ohio State – Ohio State’s slate since the aforementioned loss to Oregon has been a sea of beating the hell out of a real Who Isn’t Who gambit of Big Ten teams. They did beat Purdue last week, but only because they weren’t ranked high enough for Purdue to want to beat them. Michigan State comes calling on Saturday as part of the only game worth watching this week.
  5. Michigan – OK, this is where I begin hazarding a guess, or taking some liberties. The committee hates Cincinnati. I don’t if the Bearcats look like their ex, or what, but it’s evident. Michigan beat Penn State in Happy Valley over the weekend which is the Boomer equivalent of winning the Super Bowl. I think Michigan’s at five.
  6. Cincinnati – Cincy was beating the hell out of teams until they were told they needed style points. Now they’ve been kind of lackluster a few weeks in a row as USF was quasi in that game last week and Tulsa lost by a single score the week before, with meh wins over Tulane and Navy prior to those. This is their floor, obviously.
  7. Michigan State – Sparty has that win over Michigan, and other than that it’s a bit light. Maybe the victory at Miami, I guess? Though, I wouldn’t exactly call people from Michigan traveling to South Florida unprecedented territory. There’s a lot of old men in Cape Coral named Terry to prove it. They have a chance to all but wrap up the East with a win in Columbus this Saturday.
  8. Notre Dame – Some dumbass said the Fighting Irish wouldn’t cover 5.5 against UVA last week. They won 28-3. It shows how far Notre Dame has come that they’re 9-1 and yet potentially underrated. As they keep winning, so does Cincinnati, given they’re the Bearcats’ best win by a mile.
  9. Oklahoma State – So help me God if the Cowboys are behind the Bears. Baylor just beat No. 8 Oklahoma by two scores and the Cowboys just dispatched TCU (who beat Baylor the week prior). Not only is OSU 9-1 to Baylor’s 8-2, but the Cowboys won the head-to-head 24-14 earlier this year. They should be ahead, but lest we forget the Michigan-Michigan State fiasco of 2021.
  10. Baylor – Speaking of the Bears, here they are. The committee has yet to respect Oklahoma, so who knows how much they value that win. Even so, Baylor mysteriously fell just one spot last week after losing to an unranked and uncoached TCU team, so I guess they really like the fellas from Waco. When has that idea ever gone wrong?
  11. Wake Forest – How about those Demon Deacons? Sure, their fans didn’t like the lack of respect they got in the first poll but they rebounded nicely off their first loss of the year. Beating an NC State team who is loved by the Panera-eaters in that board room should say something, but I think they just move up one spot considering Baylor had the better win over the weekend.
  12. Ole Miss – The Rebels have gotten shafted a bit so far in the CFP, hindered a bit by the fact their best win was maybe Arkansas. That changed on Saturday as Ole Miss beat the previously No. 11 Aggies by double-digits. Maybe they jump Wake here, but I doubt it. There may be a fire in Oxford if they’re behind BYU again.
  13. Oklahoma – It very well could be a precipitous fall for OU from what we’ve seen of their value in the first two polls. The air had been slowly slipping from the balloon all year before it got popped with pellet gun against Baylor. They can’t put a one-loss blue blood below BYU, though, can they?
  14. BYU – Boy, the committee loves the Cougars. Is it because they beat a now-four-loss UVA team 66-49? Is it because they beat three PAC-12 teams, one of which is maybe the worst Power Five team in America and another will change coaches this winter? Are famed-Mormons Donny and Marie on the committee? No one knows.
  15. Texas A&M – If anyone understands the Aggies, please call me. I’m serious. They can beat Alabama and smoke a then-hot Auburn team but lay eggs against, well, teams who play in the Egg Bowl. Four spots seems far enough as it’s certainly no bad loss.
  16. Wisconsin – THE COMMITTEE IS ABOUT THAT BADGER LIFE. In the first CFP rankings, they had Wisconsin at 21 despite being nowhere close to the Top 25 in either traditional poll. They’ve rewarded that faith by growing their win streak to six, with five of those coming by at least 17 points. Closing with Nebraska and Minnesota figures to see the Badgers at 9-3 heading into the Big Ten Championship Game.
  17. North Carolina State – Are the Wolfpack still running off the win over Clemson? There’s a problem with that logic: the Tigers aren’t very good. NC State’s other wins don’t feature a single team that has been ranked in any poll all year. Yet, here we are.
  18. Iowa – Remember when they Hawkeyes were flying high after starting the year 6-0 with wins over No. 17 Indiana, No. 9 Iowa State and No. 4 Penn State? Welp, now those teams are a combined 14-16 with none of them sniffing the rankings. Iowa is coming off a close win over Minnesota and needs Wisconsin to drop a game to have a chance at a division title.
  19. Pittsburgh – I love Pittsburgh. I can’t get enough. Every time I think about Pitt, my heart glows. To be clear, I mean the 8-2 football team, and absolutely not the cold as shit city that in the winter looks like a cross between Peeky Blinders Birmingham and Gotham. Kenny Pickett is an NFL starting quarterback and if it was up to me, they would be higher than this, but I don’t think that win over UNC means too much right now.
  20. San Diego State – They barely beat Carson Strong and Nevada, but they still have that kickass punter. Ya see what I did there? Kickass? Don’t worry, it’s almost over.
  21. UTSA – “We love teams that go out and win their games,” says the committee. I guess there should be an asterisk there if you’re UTSA. Have they beaten anybody worth an absolute damn? No. Will beating a hapless Southern Miss team at home by 10 help their cause? Absolutely not. But let them have this, man.
  22. Utah – Have they lost to San Diego State and bYU? Mmhm. Did they also recently lose to Oregon State? You bet your sweet ass. Are they 7-3 and we have to have Oregon play somebody in that Godforsaken conference? Indubitably.
  23. Arkansas – They beat LSU in overtime. That used to mean something. Not this year, but we’re running out of teams. Enjoy it while you can, Arkansas fans, because you travel to go see Diddy — colloquial Southern spelling of “Daddy,” as they are in no way going to see Sean Combs — this Saturday.
  24. Purdue – Purdue has four losses. They just got manhandled by Ohio State. They still have wins at Iowa and against Michigan State though, so I’m thinking they stay in. This could very well be a Mississippi State landing spot, though.
  25. Houston – Give Houston some respect, dammit. They’ve won nine games in a row, lead the AAC and beat SMU earlier. They score a ton of points and are in the teens in the other polls. Give it to them.

So that means the only team that dropped out was Auburn. This is also subject to being incredibly and embarrassingly wrong. But, it’s speculation season so just let me have this. Happy rankings, everyone.

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