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Poll Watch: The AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll after Week 12 of College Football

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Even though only four ranked teams lost in Week 12, and only one of those was to an unranked team, the polls still had some major movement this week.

Michigan State v Ohio State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In recent weeks, Alabama overtook Cincinnati for the No. 2 spot in the AP Top 25. Many fans had several reactions to a one-loss team taking the spot of an undefeated one. In week 12, things didn’t get much clearer for the 62 AP voters, who haven’t separated the two squads by much in votes. Yesterday, Alabama and Cincinnati both won, but by way different margins. The debate among these two teams paves the way for OSU and Georgia being the only consensus teams in the top four.

Speaking of Ohio State, their matchup against Michigan State had all the hype of Mayweather vs. McGGregor. But just like the fight in the ring, the game fell completely flat and was lackluster. But since its college football we’ll only be allowed to sit in this disappointment for a few hours, since the Buckeyes play against Michigan next week.

The polls reflect the action on the field this weekend. The Spartans and Ducks saw drops after their losses and Utah took a leap after its 38-7 win over those same Ducks. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young helped the Crimson Tide outlast Arkansas 42-35. Baylor survived a tough road test from Kansas State and Wake Forest suffered its second loss of the season in a 48-27 destruction at the hands of the Clemson Tigers.

Even though there were a few upsets and scares, only four ranked teams lost in Week 12 and only Wake Forest lost to an unranked team. Let’s see how the polls decided to tier the teams after all of the action in college football this weekend.

College Football Playoff Rankings

Arkansas v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

1. Georgia Bulldogs

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

3. Oregon Ducks

4. Ohio State Buckeyes

5. Cincinnati Bearcats

6. Michigan Wolverines

7. Michigan State Spartans

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

9. Oklahoma State Cowboys

10. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

11. Baylor Bears

12. Ole Miss Rebels

13. Oklahoma Sooners

14. BYU Cougars

15. Wisconsin Badgers

16. Texas A&M Aggies

17. Iowa Hawkeyes

18. Pittsburgh Panthers

19. San Diego State Aztecs

20. NC State Wolfpack

21. Arkansas Razorbacks

22. USTA Roadrunners

23. Utah Utes

24. Houston Cougars

25. Mississippi State Bulldogs


Coaches Poll

Oregon v Utah Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

1. Georgia Bulldogs

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

4. Cincinnati Bearcats

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

6. Michigan Wolverines

7. Oklahoma State Cowboys

8. Ole Miss Rebels

9. Oklahoma Sooners

10. Baylor Bears

11. Oregon Ducks

12. Iowa Hawkeyes

13. Michigan State Spartans

14. Texas A&M Aggies

15. BYU Cougars

16. Houston Cougars

17. Pittsburgh Panthers

18. Wisconsin Badgers

19. Utah Utes

20. USTA Roadrunners

21. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

22. San Diego State Aztecs

23. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

24. NC State Wolfpack

25. Kentucky Wildcats

Other teams receiving votes: Arkansas 67; Clemson 56; Mississippi State 42; Penn State 22; Appalachian State 20; Purdue 10; Coastal Carolina 9; Air Force 9; Oregon State 2.


The AP Top 25

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Michigan at Maryland Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

1. Georgia Bulldogs

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

4. Cincinnati Bearcats

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

6. Michigan Wolverines

7. Oklahoma State Cowboys

8. Ole Miss Rebels

9. Baylor Bears

10. Oklahoma Sooners

11. Oregon Ducks

12. Michigan State Spartans

13. BYU Cougars

14. Texas A&M Aggies

15. USTA Roadrunners

16. Utah Utes

17. Iowa Hawkeyes

18. Wisconsin Badgers

19. Houston Cougars

20. Pittsburgh Panthers

21. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

22. San Diego State Aztecs

23. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

24. NC State Wolfpack

25. Arkansas Razorbacks

Other teams receiving votes: Clemson 101, Mississippi State 44, Penn State 26, Appalachian State 24, Kentucky 10, Purdue 3


Analysis

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Wake Forest at Clemson Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There are some concerns after watching the Crimson Tide’s defense against Arkansas on Saturday, but Bama still got a great performance from Bryce Young and clinched SEC West. Today, they’re ranked 3rd in the AP.

The Bearcats finally put a complete game together against a solid opponent since their win against ND several weeks ago. AP voters have been higher on Cincinnati than the CFP Selection Committee, and with the 48-14 win against an eight-win SMU team, the AP is looking right. Cincinnati’s defense held SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai to 66 yards passing and 2.5 yards per pass attempt. QB Desmond Ridder and running back Jerome Ford combined for five total touchdowns and put on a show. And now with Oregon out of the mix, the Bearcats are 11-0 and have a chance for the playoffs. They’re ranked 4th in the AP.

Elsewhere in the top 4, the Buckeyes poured on seven touchdowns in seven first-half. They’re 49-0 lead at halftime against Michigan State was appalling to watch. Ohio State may be the best one-loss teams in the country. Quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 432 yards and six touchdowns on 32-of-35 passing. Three different receivers for OSU went crazy for 100 yards and a score. The Spartans had just 224 yards of total offense, including just 66 rushing. Kenneth Walker III rushed for just 25 yards. His previous low was 57 yards in small carries against Youngstown State. The game was also OSU’s sixth straight win against MSU. Between and Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State, the usual Big Ten East contenders are a combined 2-20 against the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff era. The Buckeyes leaped all the way to two in the AP.

And now we get to Oregon, the Ducks have been up-and-downall season long, including games within 10 points against Cal, Stanford, Washington, and UCLA. Finally, their run came to an end. The Ducks were destroyed 38-7 by Utah for the program’s biggest loss since 2017. The loss eliminated Oregon from the College Football Playoff picture. They also may have to play this Utah team all over again in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Oregon dropped to 11 in the AP.

CFP contender, Notre Dame, had no letdown after they slaughtered Georgia Tech 55-0. They’re now 10-1 and rooting for chaos on conference championship Saturday to move up into the CFP conversation. They’re now ranked 5th in the AP.

A riser within the top 25 is the Utes since they’re riding the momentum of their win against Oregon. Kyle Whittingham’s program won huge on the big stage. You can decide between Texas A&M and Utah on who’s the best three-loss team in the country. To me, it's the Aggies since they have that win against Alabama. For now, Utah is ranked at 16th in the country.

A team that I have never showed love to through the weeks has been the Roadrunners. But after that wild ride yesterday, it’s time to talk. USTA’s crazy season survived after an insane run of plays. UTSA turned it over on downs with less than two minutes remaining, but the defense forced a punt. A series of big passes set up a goal-line showdown, where QB Frank Harris tipped a pass off a UAB defender to Oscar Cardenas. If Roadrunners lost, the they would’ve given up their spot in the C-USA title game. Instead, the title game will be in San Antonio. USTA’s close win had them at 15th in the polls.

Let’s touch on the ACC real quick. First, let me say, that the AP voters were lower on Wake Forest than the CFP committee for weeks. After their 48-27 loss to Clemson, you can see why. Their surging season won’t lead to them staying in the top 10. But they’re still ranked at 21 and will be in the ACC Championship Game.