The REAL Top 25 - Week 11

It's hard to believe we only have three weeks left in the regular season. The ranked games get increasingly important from this point on, with many serving as de facto playoff games. There are five games featuring two ranked teams this week. Michigan-Penn State is the biggest from a national perspective. Neither team has a single ranked win, though - so how much can we really learn from this game?

It seems like we may be heading towards another CFP with two Big Ten teams - simply because the rest of their conference is absolute garbage. Ohio State will probably make the CFP even if they pick up another loss. We know the SEC winner will most likely make it. Florida State has a good chance even if they pick up a loss - as long as they win the ACC championship game. The Pac-12 winner will likely make it, but that assumes they can finish with only one loss. Texas will make it if they win out. But if Texas, Oregon, and Washington stumble... that opens the door for the winner of Michigan/Penn State. I don't know about you, but I don't like the idea of a team making the CFP that doesn't even win it's division, simply because they rack up a bunch of wins over weaker conference opponents.

Anyway, on to the rankings! As usual, let me know if you agree or disagree below in the comments.

1) Ohio State (9-0) Among the undefeated teams, Ohio State probably has the best pair of wins (Penn State, Notre Dame). But the Notre Dame win just lost a little bit of luster and frankly it’s hard to judge how good Penn State really is given their schedule. And even though the Buckeyes haven’t always looked like the best team in the country, I think they’ve earned it based on resume – for now. (Last week: 1)

2) Florida State (9-0) Their week one win over LSU is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. Florida State had a couple of close calls back in September, but they’ve been dominant since then - albeit over a relatively easy schedule. They seem very likely to go undefeated at this point. (Last week: 2)

3) Georgia (9-0) The Dawgs just picked up their best win of the year in Missouri – but the next two weeks could be even tougher (Ole Miss, Tennessee). (Last week: 5)

4) Washington (9-0) It hasn't always been pretty (defensively, anyway) but Washington keeps rolling along. They hold an impressive win over Oregon, but it sure seems like a question of if - not when - they will pick up a loss. (Last week: 4)

5) Michigan (9-0) They have been dominant, but I can't give them more credit until they actually beat someone. Their strength of schedule is currently ranked 111th! But they finally get a chance at Penn State this weekend. (Last week: 3)

6) Texas (8-1) Texas has a big quality win over Alabama, but their last-second loss to Oklahoma keeps them out of the top five for now. (Last week: 7)

7) Alabama (8-1) I think you could make the argument that Alabama is currently playing as well as anyone in the country, but (like Texas above) their early loss is currently a ceiling on how high they can go in the rankings. (Last week: 8)

8) Oregon (8-1) The pollsters currently have Oregon has the top one-loss team in the country, but I'm not so sure. Aside from the convincing win at Utah, I don't think they have been particularly impressive. Aside from Utah, they have four wins over conference opponents with a *combined* five Pac-12 wins. (Last week: 9)

9) Ole Miss (8-1) They haven't been overly convincing - four of their last five wins have been by one score - but they're getting the job done. Ole Miss obviously has a huge test this weekend at Georgia. (Last week: 10)

10) Louisville (8-1) I don't feel confident at all about putting Louisville in the top ten, but - like Ole Miss - they keep winning. They have a couple decent wins against Notre Dame and Duke, but they've definitely had one of the easier schedules among the top teams. (Last week: 12)

11) Penn State (8-1) The pollsters *and* computer rankings love this team. I don't. I'm sorry, but I don't consider Iowa and Maryland to be "quality" wins. (Last week: 15)

12) Oklahoma State (7-2) They just got a huge win in the last ever scheduled Bedlam game. If it wasn't for the perplexing early season blowout *at home* against South Alabama, I think they would have a solid claim to a top five resume with wins over Kansas State, Kansas, and Oklahoma. But unfortunately for them, the loss did happen. (Last week: 19)

13) Kansas (7-2) Kansas was able to avoid a letdown in the week after their big win over Oklahoma. I'm not sure how many people realize they are currently 7-2. (Last week: 21)

14) Oklahoma (7-2) It feels overly harsh to drop Oklahoma this far after a close rivalry loss. But their resume is pretty thin other than the win over Texas, and it wouldn't be right to rank them ahead of two teams that just beat them and have the same record. (Last week: 6)

15) Oregon State (7-2) We'll learn what Oregon State is made of the last two weeks of the season, when they have Washington and Oregon in back-to-back games. (Last week: 16)

16) Utah (7-2) Utah has some nice wins (Florida, UCLA, USC) but have struggled against higher-ranked opponents (Oregon State, Oregon). We'll see if they can change that pattern when they travel to Washington this weekend. (Last week: 18)

17) LSU (6-3) Their three losses are against teams currently in my top 9, so they shouldn't be penalized too much. But other than Missouri, they don't really have a quality win. (Last week: 11)

18) Tennessee (7-2) As a homer, I'd like to rank Tennessee somewhere around #12. But without a win over a currently ranked team, I just don't think I can justify it. (Last week: 17)

19) Missouri (7-2) They did well against Georgia but couldn't quite get it done. They get another chance for a big win against Tennessee this weekend. (Last week: 14)

20) Notre Dame (7-3) Disappointing loss to Clemson, but hard to drop them much lower given their wins over USC, Duke, and NC State. (Last week: 14)

21) USC (7-3) Like Missouri, they had a chance to pull off a top 5 win. But USC couldn't quite get it done against Washington. (Last week: 20)

22) Arizona (6-3) They picked up a nice win at UCLA - who most pollsters had ranked. But meanwhile, I had Arizona ranked last week, but not UCLA *pats self on back* (Last week: 24)

23) Duke (6-3) It went under the radar, but Duke picked up a convincing win over an underrated NC State a few weeks ago. Combined with their earlier win over Clemson (who just beat Notre Dame), that's good enough for me to put Duke back into the rankings. (Last week: unranked)

24) NC State (6-3) Like LSU above, their only losses are against teams in my top 25 (Notre Dame, Louisville, Duke). And they have a couple nice wins over Clemson and Miami. (Last week: unranked)

25) James Madison (9-0) Welcome to the rankings! This spot is reserved for you until you lose. Fun fact: their strength of schedule (115th) is only ranked four spots lower than Michigan. (Last week: unranked)

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