NCAA Football Rankings 2021: Week 13 College Top 25 Standings Shakeup Prediction

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 21, 2021

NCAA Football Rankings 2021: Week 13 College Top 25 Standings Shakeup Prediction

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    Alex Goodlett/Associated Press

    The 2021 college football season received its largest dose of clarity Saturday.

    The Oregon Ducks and Michigan State Spartans were eliminated from playoff contention following lopsided defeats. They should experience the two biggest falls down the rankings after Week 12. Oregon fell flat on the road against the Utah Utes, while Michigan State was blown out on its travels versus the Ohio State Buckeyes.

    Those losses should allow the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Oklahoma State Cowboys to continue their rises up the top 10.

    Utah should make the biggest jump outside of the top 10. The Utes were fantastic against Oregon, and they can make a case they are much better than the other programs around them in the rankings.

Oregon Tumbles After Loss to Utah

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Oregon failed to pass its final road test of the regular season.

    The Ducks were outclassed in every facet of their 38-7 loss to Utah, and now they have to fight just to make the Pac-12 Championship Game.

    Oregon enters its rivalry clash with the Oregon State Beavers one game ahead of its in-state rival and the Washington State Cougars in the Pac-12 North standings. If Oregon does not win, it could go from the No. 3 team in the College Football Playoff rankings to missing out on its conference championship game.

    For now, the Ducks should expect to fall multiple positions in Sunday's AP Top 25 and in Tuesday's CFB Playoff rankings release. Oregon could fall as far as No. 8 or No. 9 in both rankings. Ohio State, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Michigan and Oklahoma State—all of whom are still in the playoff race—should jump the Ducks.

    Mario Cristobal's team can still finish the season inside the top 10 if it wins next time out and in the Pac-12 Championship Game, but its playoff aspirations are over.

Michigan State Plummets Out of Top 10

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Michigan State's life as a top-10 team this season is over.

    The Spartans stood no chance against Ohio State's passing attack. The Buckeyes put up 49 first-half points on Mel Tucker's side, and it failed to recover in the second half.

    Michigan State should exit the part of the rankings it has resided in for most of the season and be bypassed by at least three or four teams.

    Notre Dame and Oklahoma State will move into the top six, while Baylor, Ole Miss and Oklahoma could make cases to leap the Spartans as well.

    Baylor and Oklahoma are still in contention for the Big 12 title, and Ole Miss is the second-best team in the SEC West, which is one of the two toughest divisions in college football along with the Big Ten East.

    Michigan State can still finish second in the Big Ten East if Ohio State beats Michigan. That result could come with a spot in a premier bowl game, but that seems like nothing compared to what the Spartans could have achieved in the playoff.

Utah Makes Biggest Jump

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Utah should skyrocket up the Top 25.

    The Utes earned one of the two biggest wins of Week 12. They proved against Oregon that they are better than the No. 23 ranking assigned to them by the playoff selection committee.

    Utah deserves to be inside the top 20, at minimum, when the AP Top 25 comes out Sunday. The Utes entered Saturday as the No. 24 team in the AP poll. Kyle Whittingham's team should leap the Group of Five teams around it in both that poll and the CFP ranking. A case could be made for it to jump Wisconsin, Pittsburgh and Iowa as well.

    Wisconsin and Iowa are slightly above-average teams in the Big Ten, and Pittsburgh is a two-loss team playing for a conference championship.

    Utah belongs in that collection of teams because it is a three-loss program playing for a league championship with a top-three victory. Wisconsin and Pittsburgh can't boast that, and Iowa's top-five win over Penn State carries less value than it did in October.

    Utah's ceiling is a top-15 spot and a Rose Bowl berth, but to get there, it may have to beat Oregon again in the Pac-12 Championship Game.