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SQ College Football Top-25 Power Rankings: Week 11

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

We’re coming down the final stretch of the season, Georgia and Bama are locked in the top-two, but can Notre Dame catch them?

When the NCAA instituted the College Football Playoff as a new way to determine the FBS champion, this is probably not the sort of chaos they had envisioned. Of course, it makes the product more desirable, with teams climbing in and out of the top-4 every week, but it makes ranking teams a bit of a crap shoot. A couple top teams seemingly eliminated themselves from contention with upsets this past week, but as we’ve seen so far this season, assuming just makes people look foolish. With that being said, here are our top-25 teams for this week.

25. Iowa

Previous Rank: Not Ranked


“In what was perhaps the most surprising outcome of the season, the 20.5-point underdog Iowa Hawkeyes beat sixth-ranked Ohio State like a drum on Saturday, demolishing the Buckeyes and their playoff hopes. From the opening snap it was all Hawkeyes, as Amani Hooker picked off J.T. Barrett on the first play and returned it for a touchdown. Rising star Josh Jackson got in on the interception fest as well, as he picked off Barrett three times on the afternoon. Sophomore quarterback Nate Stanley threw for 226 yards and five touchdowns, leading the Hawkeye offense to an astonishing 55 points. The biggest issue for the Hawkeyes has been their road woes; outside of Kinnick Stadium, Iowa is 1-2 and has yet to win outside of the state of Iowa. They’ll look to change that down the stretch of the season, as two of their final three contest come on the road.” - Colton Spaur

24. Iowa State

Previous Rank: 14

“Has Iowa State’s luck run out? Cinderella seemed to lose her glass slipper as the Cyclones’ offense sputtered against West Virginia. This is the second straight week in which Iowa State’s offense failed to break the 20-point mark. The last two games have seen the offense reach the red zone just six times, whereas the three games prior to that Iowa State found its way into scoring territory 16 times. If that trend continues this weekend, the Cyclones have no chance of beating Oklahoma State.” - Sean Berger

23. West Virginia

Previous Rank: 22

“On the flip side, this was a pretty good effort by the West Virginia defense to beat Iowa State. A combined effort from the pass rush and the secondary helped thwart the Cyclones’ offense. The Mountaineers came up with five QB hurries, nine pass breakups, and one interception. Quarterback Will Grier continued to shine for the West Virginia offense, as he completed 20 of 25 passes for 316 yards, averaging 15.8 yards per completion.” - Sean Berger

22. USF

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

“The Bulls rebounded nicely from their first loss of the season, knocking off Connecticut 37-20 to get back in the win column. Dual-threat quarterback Quinton Flowers led the offense, as he threw for 385 yards, ran for another 131, and accounted for three touchdowns. USF currently trails undefeated UCF in the American East standing, but they’ll square off in the regular-season finale on Nov. 24.” - Colton Spaur

21. Memphis

Previous Rank: 21


“Memphis’s offense is clicking. Riley Ferguson and Anthony Miller are one of the best quarterback—wide receiver combinations in the nation. Miller has caught 11 touchdown passes, second in the country; Ferguson has thrown 27 touchdowns, tied for fifth-most; and the dual rushing attack of Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor Jr., which has combined for 1,228 yards and 12 touchdowns, has been perfectly effective enough to open up space for the passing game. Memphis gets a bye before it plays SMU for the division title. If the Tigers keep their offense going, they should win that game and earn a rematch against UCF in the AAC title game.” - Ryan Neu

20. Michigan

Previous Rank: Not Ranked

“No Wilton Speight? No problem for the Wolverines, as they rushed for 371 yards and four touchdowns to top Minnesota, 33-10. Without Speight, Michigan has had to rely on their defense and run game to carry the load. They’ll hope to have Speight back by the final two games of the regular season, as they come against Wisconsin and Ohio State.” - Colton Spaur

19. Mississippi State

Previous Rank: 22

“Did Mississippi State deserve to be ranked 16th in the first CFP rankings? No. No team that barely beats UMass, one of the worst teams in the FBS, deserves to be ranked 16th in the country. Perhaps this is just a case of a team overlooking a weak opponent because its playing Alabama the following week. Or perhaps it’s a sign of cracks in the foundation. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns, but threw for only 139 yards, no touchdowns, and two picks. If the Bulldogs play anything similar to that level against Alabama, not only will they lose, they will get completely smoked.” - Ryan Neu

18. Washington State

Previous Rank: 23

“With its win against Stanford, Washington State has remained in contention for the Pac-12 North title. Of course, in order to win the division, the Cougars will have to beat Washington on the final week of the regular season, and in doing so eliminate the Pac-12 from Playoff contention. The Fighting Mike Leaches have leveled off since starting 6-0, but so long as Luke Falk is at the helm of the offense, they have a shot to beat any team they face, and could easily play the spoiler role moving forward.” - Ryan Neu

17. Virginia Tech

Previous Rank: 13

“The Hokies had an opportunity to deal Miami their first loss of the season Saturday, but instead fell 28-10 to the Hurricanes. Josh Jackson had a dismal game, throwing for just 197 yards and two interceptions. In order for the Hokies to get back on track, they’ll need to take care of the football, as they turned it over four times to Miami. Virginia Tech will look to get back on track this week against the 4-4 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.” - Colton Spaur

16. Michigan State

Previous Rank: 25


“Weather delay and all, Michigan State rallied to beat a Penn State team that had its playoff hopes fatally crushed. Quarterback Brian Lewerke threw for 400 yards for the second straight game, becoming the third Big Ten QB in the last 20 years to do it (Purdue’s Drew Brees and Northwestern’s CJ Bacher). Lewerke is in need of another big game with Ohio State next up on the docket. If the Spartans emerge victorious in this game, it’s hard not to see them going on to the Big Ten title game.” - Sean Berger

15. Penn State

Previous Rank: 6

“Penn State fell for the second consecutive week, this time losing on the final play to Michigan State. The offense couldn’t find its rhythm, as Trace McSorley threw three interceptions and Saquon Barkley was bottled up for the second straight week. Just two weeks ago, Penn State’s playoff hopes seemed bright. Now, the Nittany Lions will be lucky if they get into a New Year’s Six Bowl. Penn State should finish the regular season strong against three soft opponents in Rutgers, Nebraska, and Maryland.” - Colton Spaur

14. USC

Previous Rank: 17

“The Trojans had an outburst of offense on Saturday, racking up 49 points and 642 yards off offense to help top 22nd ranked Arizona, 49-35. Running backs Ronald Jones II and Aca’Cedric Ware combined for 316 rushing yards and four rushing scores to lead the Trojan offense. With the win, USC is now in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 South and controls their own destiny to reach the conference title game.” - Colton Spaur

13. UCF

Previous Rank: 15


UCF is one of five remaining undefeated teams in the FBS, and is the only Group of Five team with an outside shot at reaching the Playoff. The Knights, owners of the best offense in football, took down a solid SMU team this past weekend on the strength of its rushing attack. Quarterback McKenzie Milton and running back Adrian Killins Jr. combined for 189 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Killings Jr. averaged 10.4 yards per carry. UCF has three games left plus, possibly, the AAC title game. It’s not impossible for the Knights to reach the Playoff with a little help from Power Five chaos.” - Ryan Neu

12. Oklahoma State

Previous Rank: 11

“The Cowboys had their playoff hopes all but erased on Saturday, losing a shootout to Baker Mayfield and the Sooners, 62-52. Mason Rudolph threw for 448 yards and five scores, but 52 points was not enough as the Cowboys’ defense couldn’t slow down Mayfield and company. With the loss Oklahoma State is now in a three-way tie for third place in the Big 12, as their chances of reaching the Big 12 championship game took a major hit.  Up next for Oklahoma State are the surprising Cyclones, who had their four-game winning streak snapped last week against West Virginia.” - Colton Spaur

11. Ohio State

Previous Rank: 3

“What in the world was that??? A week after taking down Penn State and looking like a Playoff favorite, the Buckeyes were absolutely demolished by a mediocre Iowa team, 55-24. The defense couldn’t stop anything the Hawkeyes threw at them, and J.T. Barret, one week removed from one of his best-ever performances, looked lost, completing just 52.9 percent of his passes and throwing four interceptions. Now Ohio State needs a miracle to reach the Playoff, and that miracle likely won’t happen.” - Ryan Neu

10. Auburn

Previous Rank: 16

“Auburn has an opportunity to burn college football to the ground and sow unmitigated amounts of Playoff chaos over the next three weeks. The Tigers will face both Georgia and Alabama by season’s end. With how well the Tide and the Bulldogs have played so far this season, it seems destined for the two to meet, undefeated, in the SEC title game. However, Auburn, owner of the ninth-best scoring defense, 20th-best scoring offense, and a quarterback in Jarrett Stidham that has the potential to go off with both his arm and legs, has the ability to throw the SEC’s carefully laid plans out the window.” - Ryan Neu

9. Washington

Previous Rank: 12


“Losses by Ohio State and Penn State have helped put Washington, the Pac-12’s final Playoff hope, squarely back in the Playoff conversation. The Huskies have yet to face a ranked opponent, but they have looked much improved after stumbling against Arizona State a few weeks ago, outscoring UCLA and Oregon 82-26 in the two weeks since. Washington quietly has the second-best scoring defense in the country, too. The signature wins could come in the near future with matchups against Stanford, Washington State, and, if they reach the Pac-12 title game, USC.” - Ryan Neu

8. TCU

Previous Rank: 10

“After suffering its first loss of the season, TCU rebounded with a solid win over Texas. However, the TCU offense didn’t look particularly sharp in the win. Sure, Kyle Hicks ran for two scores, but the running game only averaged 3.85 yards per carry against the Longhorns. In addition, quarterback Kenny Hill only threw for 146 yards, and has now totaled just 281 passing yards over the past two games. TCU better pick up the offense quick for this weekend’s matchup against Oklahoma or else they’ll find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the Big 12 title game.” - Sean Berger

7. Miami

Previous Rank: 8

“With their 28-10 victory against Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes moved to 8-0 overall, and are one of the few teams left in the country in position to reach the Playoff. Miami, though, like Wisconsin, had spent most of the season both undefeated and untested. Until this weekend, the Hurricanes lacked a signature win against a ranked opponent. But now they have that win and chances for even better wins against Notre Dame and, likely, Clemson in the ACC championship game. The defense, ranked 12th in points allowed per game, appears up to the task. But quarterback Malik Rosier, who completed only 47.6 percent of his passes and threw three picks against Virginia Tech, needs to be better.” - Ryan Neu

6. Wisconsin

Previous Rank: 5

“It’s too bad Wisconsin is a boring team. The Badgers have one of the best young running backs in the nation, yet no one seems to care because the team hasn’t beaten anyone of note this season. Jonathan Taylor is third in the nation in rushing yards (1,368) and is second in the nation with 44 rushes of 10 or more yards. Taylor will have a chance to prove Wisconsin’s worth these next two weeks with top-25 matchups against two pretty good defenses in Iowa and Michigan.” - Sean Berger

5. Clemson

Previous Rank: 7


“For a half it looked like Clemson might fall victim to another upset. Luckily, in the second half the Tigers were able to turn it around in the hostile NC State environment. Clemson’s big second half was aided by a huge 89-yard touchdown run by Tavien Feaster at the end of the third quarter. Feaster and the rest of the Tigers combined for 224 yards and three touchdowns on the ground en route to a 38-31 win. The Tigers now have four wins against top-25 teams this season, and should treat FSU like one of those teams this week to avoid a slip up.” - Sean Berger

4. Oklahoma

Previous Rank: 9

“Oklahoma is in a much better spot Playoff-wise now than it was a month ago when it lost to Iowa State. The Sooners put up 62 points during the Bedlam game against Oklahoma State, and Baker Mayfield looked like the Heisman favorite. Mayfield threw for school-record 598 yards along with five touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown for good measure. Unfortunately, the defense looked as weak as it ever has. Oklahoma gave up 52 points and now ranks 75th nationally in scoring defense. The Sooners might reach the Playoff, but they won’t win it unless the defense improves significantly.” - Ryan Neu

3. Notre Dame

Previous Rank: 4

“It’s been mentioned before, but Notre Dame easily had one of the most difficult second-half schedules in the country. Already with one loss, the Irish needed to win out to have a shot at the Playoff. So far, Notre Dame has beaten two top-15 opponents and throttled Wake Forest. If the Irish keep this up and win out, they will unequivocally earn a Playoff berth, but their toughest test yet comes this weekend against undefeated Miami. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush combined for 390 total yards and three touchdowns last weekend. He’ll need another performance like that to take down the Hurricanes and keep the win streak alive.” - Ryan Neu

2. Georgia

Previous Rank: 2


“Georgia leaned on its stout defense and rushing attack on Saturday to take down South Carolina, 24-10. The nation’s third-ranked defense held the Gamecocks to just 10 points and forced two turnovers to let the Bulldogs remain undefeated. On offense, the duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel racked up 208 combined yards of offense, showing once again why they are one of top running back duos in the nation. Up next for Georgia is a trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium and a date with 14th- ranked Auburn, who have won six of their past seven games. If the Bulldogs can get past Auburn, they have a clear path to reaching the SEC title game undefeated.” - Colton Spaur

1.  Alabama

Previous Rank: 1

“Georgia may be clamoring for the top spot, but until Alabama comes even remotely close to slipping up, the Crimson Tide will stay right on top of the mountain. Alabama handled LSU despite a late comeback attempt. Alabama’s offense had its second worst performance of the season, totaling just 299 yards. However, the unit was able to capitalize on its scoring chances by scoring three touchdowns on four trips to the red zone. All in all, even though this ‘Bama team doesn’t pull out all the shiny wins, they get the job done.” - Sean Berger

Edited by Emily Berman, Coleman Gray.

SQuiz
Before being named No. 1 in the 2017 initial College Football Playoff Poll, when was the last time Georgia was No. 1 in any major poll?
Created 11/9/17
  1. 1986
  2. 1997
  3. 2000
  4. 2008

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