NCAA Football Rankings 2018: Week 13 College Top 25 Standings Shakeup PredictionNovember 18, 2018
The Week 12 results across college football set the stage for an exciting conclusion to the regular season.
Although some teams in the top 10 experienced difficulties at some point Saturday, only West Virginia was upset.
With the Mountaineers going down, the door is open for UCF, impressive in the national spotlight with a blowout win over Cincinnati, to climb into the upper echelon of the rankings. The Knights could even leapfrog a struggling team from a power conference.
Further down the Top 25, programs that went through tough times earlier in the season are lining up to make the best bowl game possible despite owning three losses.
Week 13 Top 25 Prediction
3. Notre Dame
8. Washington State
10. Ohio State
12. Penn State
16. West Virginia
18. Mississippi State
21. Utah State
22. Boise State'
24. Iowa State
UCF Moves Ahead of Ohio State
UCF delivered the statement it needed to make to voters in both polls and the College Football Playoff selection committee in Week 12.
The Knights breezed past Cincinnati at home to earn their first victory over a ranked opponent, and they deserve a boost in the standings, especially after the poor performances from the teams directly above them.
UCF entered Week 11 two spots behind Ohio State in the AP Top 25 and one place beneath the Buckeyes in the playoff rankings.
Given how poor the Buckeyes looked in their overtime win over Maryland, it feels like an easy decision to finally reward UCF for its performance and boost it up a few spots in the rankings.
Despite receiving more respect than it has in most weeks, UCF won't make enough noise to be considered as a challenger for the playoff.
An argument can be made to put UCF over Oklahoma because the Sooners defense has given up 40 points in each of the past three games, but Lincoln Riley's team still played better opposition than the Knights.
You could even make a case the Knights belong above a one-loss Washington State and two-loss LSU, but the voters still see value in the power conferences, especially in the SEC.
While some UCF fans will still feel slighted about being ranked ninth, it will still be significant because of the teams the Knights jumped over.
Penn State Continues Move Back Toward Top 10
At the start of November, we wrote off Penn State after its third loss of the season.
Because of the attrition that's occurred in the middle of the Top 25 every week, the Nittany Lions are back in the conversation for a high-profile bowl thanks to wins over Wisconsin and Rutgers.
A victory over Maryland in Week 13 could secure a spot in the top 10 for James Franklin's team ahead of the postseason.
Penn State is set to move up two positions because of the losses suffered by West Virginia and Syracuse in Week 12, and it's guaranteed to move up at least one more spot if Ohio State falls to Michigan in Week 13.
At worst, Penn State has put itself in position to play in the Citrus Bowl or Outback Bowl as one of the top-tier Big Ten teams.
While it seems peculiar that a three-loss team could qualify for a New Year's Six bowl, Penn State could be the Big Ten's second representative in the playoff-affiliated bowls, and it might have an outside chance at the Rose Bowl if Ohio State fails to impress once again versus Michigan.
If the Rose Bowl opts to go with a two-loss Ohio State team, then Penn State's chances at a New Year's Six bowl are bleak. But there is a path for the Big Ten to be represented by three teams if a few results fall in its favor.
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