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College Football Top 25- Week 11

There are 4 teams clearly in front for a playoff berth, but history tells us a lot will change over the coming weeks.

With 2 weeks left until conference championships, the most likely playoff scenario is one of Alabama-Georgia, Clemson, Notre Dame, and the winner of Ohio State-Michigan. If Georgia beats Alabama, the calculus may change, and the Crimson Tide could find itself in the playoff again without a conference championship. Outside of that happening, the Big 12 champion, provided it only has 1 loss, would swoop in if Clemson or Notre Dame stumble, or if the Big 10 champ ends up with more than 1 loss. All of those things start happening, and that’s where Washington State or UCF could begin making a run. History tells us there’s plenty of change that can happen in these closing weeks.

This week, Syracuse-Notre Dame, West Virginia-Oklahoma State, Duke-Clemson, UAB-Texas A&M, Cincinnati-UCF, and Iowa State-Texas are the top contests.

Also Receiving Consideration: NC State, Army, Buffalo, Boise State, Houston, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, Duke, Arizona State, and Stanford

Dropped Out: Fresno State, Michigan State, Iowa, Auburn

25. UAB (9-1, Last Week NR)- Bill Clark has done an incredible job with the Blazers, and Jimbo Fisher has to loathe the fact that the once-defunct program could upset his Texas A&M squad this week.

24. Northwestern (6-4, Last Week NR)- Who had Northwestern in the Big 10 title game, especially after an embarrassing early season loss to Akron? Still, the Wildcats find themselves in an enviable position but can’t take Minnesota lightly.

24. Northwestern (6-4, Last Week NR)- Who had Northwestern in the Big 10 title game, especially after an embarrassing early season loss to Akron? Still, the Wildcats find themselves in an enviable position but can’t take Minnesota lightly.

23. Boston College (7-3, Last Week #17)- Boston College wasn’t supposed to beat Clemson, but this has still been a strong season for the Eagles. Expect them to power past FSU this week.

22. Mississippi State (6-4, Last Week #13)- There have been times where the Bulldogs have looked really strong this season, but that offense- which was held scoreless against Alabama- has looked awful at times as well. Arkansas should pose little threat, though.

21. Utah (7-3, Last Week NR)- Fresh off an impressive win over Oregon, the Utes should have no problem with a struggling Colorado team that is facing questions of a coaching change.

20. Washington (7-3, Last Week NR)- Big expectations to start the season have left Huskies fans disappointed. Losses to Auburn, Oregon, and Cal don’t look all that great anymore, but Oregon State shouldn’t pose much of a challenge.

19. Cincinnati (9-1, Last Week #24)- Luke Fickell is not getting enough credit for his outstanding work with the Bearcats. The week, they try to end UCF’s undefeated streak.

18. Kentucky (7-3, Last Week #12)- Losing by 17 to Tennessee is pretty embarrassing for a Kentucky team that started red hot. Can’t imagine them losing to Middle Tennessee, though.

17. Iowa State (6-3, Last Week #22)- After starting off 1-3, the Cyclones have won 5 straight. Matt Campbell will really be a hero if his resurgent squad can knock off Texas.

16. Penn State (7-3, Last Week #21)- The Nittany Lions pushed past a woefully disappointing Wisconsin team last week. Despite a somewhat lagging season, Penn State should defeat Rutgers this week.

15. Florida (7-3, Last Week #20)- Since beating LSU- becoming a short-lived playoff contender- the Gators have struggled against Vanderbilt (winning by 10 in a remarkable comeback), lost to UGA by 19, lost to lowly Missouri by 21, and beaten middling South Carolina by 4. Thankfully, Dan Mullen’s squad has an easy homestretch of Idaho and Florida State.

14. Utah State (9-1, Last Week #16)- Since their 1 TD Week 1 loss to Michigan State, the Aggies have been dominant- with only one game being decided by single digits.

13. Texas (7-3, Last Week #15)- Others may see it differently, but I see the Longhorns- which haven’t been blown out and have a BIG win on their resume- as the best 3 loss team. Iowa State will be a tough test this week, though.

12. Syracuse (8-2, Last Week #14)- Outside of an overtime loss to Pitt, we would be talking about Syracuse as a playoff contender should they beat Notre Dame this week. Instead, the nation looks to the Orange to play spoiler. Dino Babers will be a hot name for bigger jobs this offseason or next.

11. LSU (8-2, Last Week #11)- LSU managed only a 1 TD victory over hapless Arkansas, and I continue to believe that this team has been overrated by many pollsters. Rice poses no threat this week, however.

10. Washington State (9-1, Last Week #10)- A wounded Colorado team could not stop the Cougars’ march through the PAC 12. Gardner Minshew and Mike Leach would sure be interesting to have in the playoff, wouldn’t they?

9. UCF (9-0, Last Week #9)- UCF is on the verge of 2 straight undefeated seasons, but Cincinnati stands in their way. They probably lose out to Washington State in a wild scenario that has them in legitimate playoff consideration, though.

8. West Virginia (8-1, Last Week #8)- The Mountaineers have the toughest schedule of any of the playoff contenders beginning with a very tricky Oklahoma State team this week.

7. Ohio State (9-1, Last Week #7)- Pollsters have been a little slower to forgive Ohio State for the Purdue loss than I have, but here’s my question: if Ohio State wins out and beats Michigan, do they get kept out of the playoff? The only way I see them being omitted in that scenario is if UGA somehow beats Alabama.

6. Georgia (9-1, Last Week #6)- Auburn kept it close in the first half against Georgia, but the Dawgs ground attack proved to be too much. Tune up games against UMASS and Georgia Tech are ahead of a rematch against Alabama.

5. Oklahoma (9-1, Last Week #5)- Oklahoma’s last 2 games have been decided by a total of 6 points. I considered bumping them down but am keeping them here … for now.

4. Michigan (9-1, Last Week #4)- The red hot Wolverines must get past a scrappy Indiana team to set up a highly consequential Ohio State game.

3. Notre Dame (10-0, Last Week #3)- Fans of the Big 12, PAC 12, and SEC (which wants a 2nd team in the playoff for the 2nd straight season) are all pulling for Syracuse this weekend as they look to give the Irish their toughest test since Week 1.

2. Clemson (10-0, Last Week #2)- If anyone can challenge Alabama for supremacy, it’s the Tigers who handled business against Boston College. The 20 point margin was their closest margin since Syracuse on September 29th.

1. Alabama (10-0, Last Week #1)– For the second straight week, the Tide defense shut out a Top 25 opponent. Can we award Nick Saban and his NFL-esque team the championship already?

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