The 2016 college football season enters Week 12 with just two unbeaten teams — No. 1 Alabama and No. 21 Western Michigan. So each set of Top 25 rankings is sure to get a shakeup as we head down the home stretch because chaos reigned across the country on Saturday.
The No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 teams (all unbeaten entering this week) lost in the same week for the first time since 1985 and five Top 10 teams went down. The AP Poll will look different went it comes out on Sunday afternoon.
RELATED: AP Poll entering Week 12
As it relates to the College Football Playoff, though, things don’t change all that much. The committee has made it clear it values conference champions and both No. 3 Michigan and No. 2 Clemson — which lost on Saturday as three-touchdown favorites — can still win their respective leagues. Washington and the Pac-12 were dealt a big blow, though, after the No. 4 Huskies lost to No. 20 USC.
Here, we’ll compile four different sets of rankings that will come out on Sunday morning and afternoon. The College Football Playoff rankings will come out on Tuesday night.
2016 college football rankings, Week 12
|2||Ohio State||Ohio State||Michigan||Michigan|
|3||Louisville||Louisville||Ohio State||Ohio State|
|9||Penn State||West Virginia||Auburn||Florida State|
|10||West Virginia||Penn State||USC||Oklahoma|
|12||Colorado||Colorado||Penn State||Texas A&M|
|13||Oklahoma State||Oklahoma State||Oklahoma||Wisconsin|
|15||USC||Florida State||Boise State||Colorado|
|20||Washington State||Washington State||SDSU||West Virginia|
|21||Florida||WMU||Texas A&M||Penn State|
|22||Boise State||Texas A&M||TCU||Stanford|
|23||Texas A&M||Boise State||Troy||Oklahoma State|
AP Poll: A team receives 25 points for each first place vote, 24 for second place and so on through to the 25th team, which receives one point. The AP Poll has been around since 1936, and a panel of 61 voters make up the results.
Coaches Poll: A panel, chosen at random, of FBS coaches vote in the Amway Coaches poll. Like the AP Poll, each voter submits a Top 25 with a first-place vote worth 25 points, second place 24, and so on down to one point for 25th.
S&P+: The S&P+ Ratings — developed by Bill Connelly of SB Nation and Football Outsiders — are an analytical system “derived from the play-by-play and drive data of all 800+ of a season’s FBS college football games.” It considers efficiency, explosiveness, field position, turnovers and finishing drives as the most important factors for a football team. It’s less concerned with wins and losses than any of the other rankings.
ESPN FPI: FPI, maintained by ESPN, is a predictive model that projects a team’s future success based on its past performance. Per ESPN, “FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule.”
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No. 1 Alabama — while the rest of the country was slipping up against unranked opponents — beat Mississippi State 51-3. Ho hum for the Crimson Tide, the undisputed best team in the nation. They’ll remain No. 1 in the AP Poll, Coaches Poll and College Football Playoff rankings.
After that, things got interesting. No. 2 Clemson lost to Pitt at home, No. 3 Michigan lost to Iowa on the road and No. 20 USC beat No. 4 Washington to hurt the Pac-12’s chances of reaching the College Football Playoff.
Louisville and Ohio State both took care of business, though the Cardinals didn’t make it look easy for most of the game against Wake Forest. Still, both teams don’t control their own destinies to the playoff. Ohio State needs to beat Michigan and for Penn State to lose to either Rutgers or Michigan State. Louisville needs to win out and have Clemson lose or get some help from chaos in the Pac-12 and Big 12.
The Buckeyes are by no means eliminated from playoff contention even without that happening, but winning the Big Ten title got a lot trickier with Michigan’s loss. That game clear up Penn State’s path to Indianapolis — win out, then have Ohio State beat Michigan and the Nittany Lions win the Big Ten East.
Michigan really shot itself in the foot with penalties and missed tackles. The Wolverines even lined up 10 players on Iowa’s game-winning field goal. It was their first game outside of the state of Michigan besides a 78-0 win over Rutgers, and they showed some serious cracks. Wilton Speight will have to be much, much better moving forward if Michigan wants to be considered among the country’s elite.
Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong got the start for the Huskers a week after a terrifying-looking neck/head injury he suffered against Ohio State. The senior was banged up again — this time his ankle — but led Nebraska to a 24-17 win with a long touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Talk about gutsy.
A few weeks can change a lot. Ohio State looked vulnerable and trending downward after losing 24-21 at Penn State. There was plenty of chatter that the Buckeyes would have a tough time with Michigan at that rate.
But now its the Wolverines and their fans who are a little worried. Saturday sets up an even more fascinating showdown in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 26.