NCAA Football Rankings 2018: Predicting Week 11 Poll for Top 25 Teams

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 4, 2018

Clemson's Isaiah Simmons (11) celebrates after returning an interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Louisville, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

Trying to predict where teams will land in the college football polls each week is becoming more difficult than winning the lottery.

Beneath the top handful of programs, the AP Top 25 has featured a revolving door of teams thanks to a large amount of upsets in recent weeks.

Week 10 brought a similar carnage to the rankings, as nine teams from the initial College Football Playoff standings dropped results.

That leaves yet another mess underneath the serious playoff contenders, and because of the mediocrity of power conference programs, a few Group of Five schools could experience surges in the College Football Player rankings and AP Top 25 ahead of Week 11.


Week 11 Poll Predictions

College Football Playoff

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Notre Dame

4. Michigan

5. Georgia

6. Oklahoma

7. Washington State

8. Ohio State

9. UCF

10. West Virginia

11. LSU

12. Kentucky

13. Mississippi State

14. Florida

15. Syracuse

16. NC State 

17. Boston College

18. Fresno State

19. Penn State

20. Texas 

21. Iowa State

22. Utah State

23. Washington 

24. Michigan State

25. Iowa


AP Top 25

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Notre Dame

4. Michigan

5. Georgia

6. Oklahoma

7. Ohio State

8. UCF

9. Washington State

10. West Virginia

11. LSU

12. Utah State

13. Fresno State

14. Mississippi State

15. Syracuse

16. Boston College

17. Kentucky

18. Florida

19. Washington

20. NC State 

21. Michigan State

22. Cincinnati 

23. UAB 

24. Penn State

25. Texas


Clemson's Schedule Looks Better as ACC Teams Rise 

One of the few knocks on Clemson has been its weak schedule, as the ACC hasn't produced the most successful season.

However, the Tigers' schedule is starting to look better because of the success of Syracuse, NC State and Boston College.

The Orange, Wolfpack and Eagles all won Saturday, which means they are set to benefit from the handful of losses suffered by teams in the middle of the Top 25.

Of the three, Boston College's ranking is the most significant to the Tigers because they visit the Eagles for a Saturday night clash in Week 11.

Matt Bell/Associated Press

The highest-ranked team the Tigers have defeated was NC State, who sat at No. 16 going into the October 20 game that Clemson dominated.

Ideally, Clemson would like Boston College to move into the Top 15 to make Saturday's showdown look more impressive on paper, but the Eagles should slide in behind Syracuse and NC State in the playoff rankings as part of the ACC wave moving up the charts.

The best-case scenario for Clemson entering the College Football Playoff is for these three teams to continue improving. That way, its victories over the trio look better.

Syracuse's success could also help Notre Dame earn a quality win, as the Orange and Fighting Irish face off November 17 at Yankee Stadium.


Group of Five Teams Make More Noise

Where the Group of Five programs land in the Top 25 after Week 10 will be intriguing to follow.

We already know from the playoff committee's treatment of UCF that it doesn't value the success of Group of Five teams as much as the AP Top 25, but with a shakeup expected in the middle of the rankings, a few programs could make their season debuts in the playoff rankings.

Fresno State was the only other Group of Five team to be ranked by the committee, at No. 23, and it will receive a boost following a Week 10 win over UNLV.

John Locher/Associated Press

Utah State was ranked higher in the AP poll than Fresno State, and the Mountain West Conference Mountain Division leader could strike the top 15 after the five programs directly in front of it lost in Week 10.

The Aggies are worthy of a spot in the playoff rankings as well, as they sit at 8-1 and have controlled the majority of their games.

Outside of UCF, the contingent from The American hasn't looked great in recent weeks, with South Florida and Houston both being upset in Week 10. But those losses could open the door for Cincinnati to move back into the Top 25 at 8-1 with a clash against UCF upcoming in Week 12.

The positioning of the Group of Five teams is intriguing because if UCF stumbles in November, there will be a scramble for a spot in the New Year's Six between the programs from the Mountain West and The American.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.