NCAA Football Rankings 2021: Predicting Movers in Week 14 After Latest Results
The Michigan Wolverines brought about a seismic shift in the college football season Saturday.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh got the better of the Ohio State Buckeyes for the first time in six attempts, and by doing so, his team eliminated the Buckeyes from the College Football Playoff conversation.
Michigan's victory should place it into the top three of the latest College Football Playoff rankings, which will come out Tuesday.
The first poll movement will come from Sunday's AP Top 25, which should also have the Wolverines move up several places.
Ohio State was the biggest loser of the weekend, and it should tumble a handful of spots. As should the Oklahoma Sooners, whose Big 12 Championship Game hopes were ended by the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
On Saturday, Michigan put itself in position to qualify for the College Football Playoff.
The Wolverines defeated Ohio State for the first time since 2011 to clinch the Big Ten East title and move on to the Big Ten Championship Game.
Michigan used a dominant rushing attack to control the game inside Michigan Stadium.
The Wolverines finished with a 297-64 edge in rushing yards, and the manner in which Michigan beat Ohio State should play a role in how high it moves up the rankings.
Michigan is at least deserving of a top-three position alongside the Georgia Bulldogs and Cincinnati Bearcats. The Wolverines should not be No. 4 entering December.
Georgia will be No. 1 in every poll, but a legitimate debate could be had between Michigan and undefeated Cincinnati because of the magnitude of Michigan's win over Ohio State.
Cincinnati is undefeated and owns an impressive win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, but some voters may value Michigan's win over the No. 2 team in the country more.
Michigan's ranking in the AP Top 25 and CFB Playoff polls will not matter going into Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game against the Iowa Hawkeyes. As long as Michigan defeats Iowa, it will have one of the four College Football Playoff spots.
Ohio State will suffer the same fate so many top-three teams have experienced this season.
The Buckeyes will drop a handful of spots after their defeat on the road in Michigan.
Ohio State's landing spot is likely No. 6 or No. 7. Michigan, Cincinnati, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Oklahoma State Cowboys are all expected to move up.
Ryan Day's team is 10-2, and its losses came against ranked foes, so its overall resume should keep it from tumbling out of the top 10. The Buckeyes should slot in above of the Baylor Bears and Ole Miss Rebels, who were eighth and ninth in the most recent AP Top 25 and CFB Playoff rankings.
Ohio State's title quest is over, but it could still play in a meaningful game if Michigan makes the playoff. The Buckeyes could be the Big Ten's Rose Bowl representative if the Wolverines are in the top four.
Oklahoma was the second-biggest loser of Rivalry Week.
The Sooners blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter of their loss in Bedlam to Oklahoma State.
Lincoln Riley's team went from having one more shot to make the Big 12 Championship Game to clinging on to a spot in the top 15.
Oklahoma's loss to a top-10 team, combined with the lack of high-quality teams beneath its No. 10 ranking, should prevent it from a large tumble down the Top 25. No. 15 would be a nice landing spot for the Sooners. That spot was occupied by the Wisconsin Badgers entering Week 13, and they lost to the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
A five-spot drop would put two-loss Oklahoma ahead of a few notable two-loss teams. Iowa, the Pittsburgh Panthers and Wake Forest Demon Deacons were all outside the top 15 in the CFB Playoff rankings and are all participating in conference championship games.
Oklahoma's ranking could drop more after if Iowa upsets Michigan on Saturday, but for now, No. 15 seems like a fair spot for the 10-win Sooners.