Entering Week 10 of the 2017 college football season, shakeups in the Top 25 were inevitable. The first College Football Playoff Top 25 poll of the year was perfectly timed, as this week featured no fewer than seven matchups of ranked teams, including a pair of Top 15 showdowns. That meant we’d have at least seven ranked teams losing, raising the possibility of chaos when next week’s CFP Top 25 ranking is released.
"Chaos" might be a strong word for what unfolded Saturday, but boy, was it a lot of fun. The Big Ten East saw its playoff hopes evaporate in a 20-minute span, while another conference team found the playoff mantle placed squarely on its shoulders.
Bedlam lived up to its name with No. 5 Oklahoma’s wild 62-52 win over No. 11 Oklahoma State, while both No. 1 (CFP Top 25) Georgia and No. 4 Clemson held serve against border rivals. No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Notre Dame also enjoyed comfortable wins.
All of the above helped shape our new Bleacher Report Top 25 for Week 11. College football writers Matt Hayes, David Kenyon, Kerry Miller, Brad Shepard and Greg Wallace each submitted ballots in which a first-place vote counts for 25 points, a second-place is worth 24, and so on.
Here’s our updated poll. Who’s rising? Who’s falling? We have one team poised to make a move in the Top 25, a surprising developing November trend and a key game in Week 11:
- 1. Alabama (Last week: 1)
- 2. Georgia (2)
- 3. Notre Dame (3)
- 4. Clemson (5)
- 5. Oklahoma (8)
- 6. Miami (10)
- 7. Wisconsin (6)
- 8. TCU (11)
- 9. Washington (12)
- 10. Auburn (15)
- 11. UCF (13)
- 12. Michigan State (NR)
- 13. Ohio State (4)
- 14. Virginia Tech (14)
- 15. Oklahoma State (9)
- 16. Washington State (T-25)
- 17. Penn State (7)
- 18. USC (19)
- 19. Memphis (20)
- 20. Mississippi State (22)
- 21. South Florida (23)
- 22. Toledo (T-25)
- 23. LSU (17)
- 24. Iowa State (18)
- 25. Michigan (24)
Who's Hot: Miami Hurricanes
When the initial playoff rankings were released, Miami fans had some reason to be disappointed. Despite being one of only four Power Five unbeatens, the Hurricanes slotted in at No. 10 in the first Top 25 ranks. That’s understandable when you dig into Miami’s resume; its 7-0 mark was accomplished against a weak schedule. As of Saturday night, the 'Canes had no wins over currently ranked teams and only one win over a currently bowl-eligible team (52-30 over 8-1 Toledo). However, a visit from No. 13 Virginia Tech provided a major opportunity for a marquee victory.
Mark Richt’s group more than took advantage in a 28-10 win. The Hurricanes consistently pressured freshman quarterback Josh Jackson into mistakes, intercepting him twice and forcing a fumble. Junior quarterback Malik Rosier wasn’t perfect, throwing three interceptions, but the Miami D picked him up by keeping Tech on its side of the 50 on a regular basis.
Miami clinched a tie for the ACC Coastal Division title and should move up multiple spots in the new CFP Top 25 ranks, thanks to losses from Ohio State and Penn State. With No. 3 Notre Dame arriving for a visit this week, they have a chance to solidify themselves in the playoff picture.
Who’s Not: Penn State
It’s been a rough two weeks for James Franklin and Penn State. Late last Saturday, the Nittany Lions had a 35-20 lead at Ohio State and looked like a good bet to be among the top four teams in the first CFP rankings. But the Lions defense just couldn’t stop J.T. Barrett and Ohio State, suffering an agonizing 39-38 defeat that put their playoff hopes in doubt.
However, they still held out hope for a Big Ten title and playoff berth, provided they won out and got some help. But Saturday’s trip to East Lansing was even worse. No. 7 Penn State kicked off at noon ET, but persistent storms and lightning delayed its game with No. 24 Michigan State for three-plus hours.
When the game finally resumed, the Lions and Spartans battled to a 24-all tie with under a minute to play. Penn State thought it had forced a fourth down following an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-4 from its 37, but a penalty for roughing the passer gave Michigan State a crucial first down and 15 yards.
Three plays later, Matt Coghlin nailed a 34-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Spartans to a stunning 27-24 upset. Saquon Barkley’s Heisman Trophy hopes took a hit, too; he carried 14 times for 63 yards and had three catches for 33 yards with no touchdowns. Meanwhile, Michigan State controls its destiny in the East with a 5-1 league record and a trip to Ohio State next week. The Nittany Lions? They just feel miserable.
Fun Fact: Kinnick Magic
Ohio State entered Iowa City with a world of confidence Saturday, and why not? Following a 31-16 loss to Oklahoma, the Buckeyes had reeled off six consecutive victories, capped by a 39-38 comeback win over Penn State, and vaulted themselves back into contention for another College Football Playoff bid. Per Odds Shark, they were a 20.5-point favorite over a good-but-not-great Iowa team that had offensive issues. The Hawkeyes entered the game averaging 25.0 points per game, ranking them at No. 88 in the nation.
But as Michigan had found out 357 days earlier, there’s just something about Kinnick Stadium in November. Last November, the Hawkeyes kicked a last-second field goal to stun the No. 3 Wolverines, 14-13. There was no need for such drama this time around. Iowa broke a 17-all tie with 31 unanswered points en route to a 55-24 whipping of the Buckeyes. Iowa improved to 4-1 against Associated Press Top Five teams at home since 2008 and scored the most points ever against an Urban Meyer-coached team. It was OSU’s worst Big Ten defeat since a 63-14 loss to Penn State in 1994.
J.T. Barrett was intercepted four times, three times by Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson. At 6-3, the Hawkeyes have no hopes of a Big Ten West title or CFP bid. But they’ve shown they’re an excellent spoiler. Beware of Kinnick when the leaves start falling, folks.
Keep an Eye on: Toledo Rockets
While Matt Campbell’s rapid turnaround at Iowa State has gained plenty of attention nationally (and rightfully so), the situation he left behind at Toledo should be noted. Toledo smartly elevated assistant Jason Candle into the head role when ISU plucked up Campbell, and the Rockets have been firing on all cylinders ever since. Following Thursday’s 27-17 win over Northern Illinois, Toledo is 8-1, 5-0 in MAC play, and looks like the league’s best team.
Toledo’s only loss came at then-No. 14 Miami, with a final score of 52-30. Far from a terrible defeat, given that the Rockets actually led 16-10 at halftime. Logan Woodside is one of the nation’s most underrated quarterbacks; he threw for 361 yards against NIU and has 2,656 yards with 19 touchdowns against just two interceptions this season. While Central Florida has the inside track on the Group of Five New Year’s Day bid, don’t count out the Rockets if UCF stumbles along the way. Either way, keep Candle on your coaching carousel radar; he’s 18-5 since being promoted and will receive some calls this winter.
What to Watch For: No. 2 Georgia at No. 10 Auburn
The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is one of the best, most evenly contested rivalries in college football. Georgia leads Auburn 57-55-8 after winning the last three matchups in the series, and this year’s edition promises to be one of its most meaningful.
No. 1 Georgia has turned a corner in Kirby Smart’s second season thanks to the play of freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, backfield duo Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and a stingy defense that entered this week as the nation’s No. 3 scoring defense. The Bulldogs clinched an SEC East championship following Saturday’s 24-10 win over South Carolina, but they will face a significant hurdle next week at No. 14 Auburn.
Auburn has a potent offense led by transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Kerryon (My Wayward Son) Johnson, who has 15 rushing touchdowns on the season. The Tigers have scored at least 42 points in five of their six SEC games (including Saturday’s 42-27 win at Texas A&M), with the only exception a 27-23 loss at LSU. They also have a tough defense that ranks in the Top 10 nationally in points allowed.
Gus Malzahn’s group is 7-2 and on the fringes of the College Football Playoff picture, but this team could have plenty to say about it with No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama at home in the final three weeks. The Bulldogs' visit will have Jordan-Hare Stadium in a frenzy and could have a real impact on the playoff standings going forward.
That’s far from the only fascinating game in the upcoming week. Notre Dame at Miami and TCU at Oklahoma are both high-level games that could also play a big role in the playoff picture.