Alabama climbs to No. 1 in Power Rankings after Week 12

0:52 | College Football
Could Mississippi State stay in college football top 4?
Tuesday November 18th, 2014

Nobody really likes the game Mouse Trap. I mean, there might be some people out there who claim they like Mouse Trap, but if they’re being honest with themselves, they don’t. The idea of Mouse Trap is great; look at this beautiful Rube Goldberg machine where all the moving parts come together, one influencing the other to get that cage to drop down on the mouse. It doesn’t work that way.

It never worked that way. After the first time you play it and the boot doesn’t kick the bucket, or the diver just falls over, or the cage gets stuck halfway down the pole, you’re looking for other games to play. And Mouse Trap sits unplayed until another poor kid gets wowed by the allure of a game that will never really work right.

College Football
Will Muschamp exudes grace while Florida takes the next step forward

That was the BCS in a lot of ways. It made sense on paper: humans and computers working together to pick the best two teams to play for the title. But it required everything working in harmony. College football laughs at the idea of harmony. College football is built on chaos.

So now we have the playoff. And chaos is ever-present, wreaking havoc in the background like Casper’s trouble-making relatives who were also ghosts. No machine is perfect. It just has to be good enough to relegate Mouse Trap to the back of the closet.

• ELLIS: Bowl Projections: Can Ohio State make the playoff?

1
1Alabama Crimson Tide
last week: 4
record: 9-1

Last game: Beat Mississippi State, 25-20
Next game: Saturday vs Western Carolina

2
2Florida State Seminoles
last week: 1
record: 10-0

Last game: Beat Miami, 30-26
Next game: Saturday vs. Boston College

3
3Oregon Ducks
last week: 3
record: 9-1

Last game: Beat Utah, 51-27
Next game: Saturday vs. Colorado

4
4Baylor Bears
last week: 6
record: 8-1

Last game: Beat Oklahoma, 48-14
Next game: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

5
5Mississippi State Bulldogs
last week: 2
record: 9-1

Last game: Lost to Alabama, 25-20
Next game: Saturday vs. Vanderbilt

6
6TCU Horned Frogs
last week: 5
record: 9-1

Last game: Beat Kansas, 34-30
Next game: Nov. 27 at Texas

7
7Ohio State Buckeyes
last week: 8
record: 9-1

Last game: Beat Minnesota, 31-24
Next game: Saturday vs. Indiana

8
8Michigan State Spartans
last week: 10
record: 8-2

Last game: Beat Maryland, 37-15
Next game: Saturday vs. Rutgers

9
9Ole Miss Rebels
last week: 12
record: 8-2

Last game: Beat Presbyterian, 48-0
Next game: Saturday at Arkansas

10
10Georgia Bulldogs
last week: 15
record: 8-2

Last game: Beat Auburn, 34-7
Next game: Saturday vs. Charleston Southern

11
11Kansas State Wildcats
last week: 14
record: 7-2

Last game: Lost to TCU, 41-20
Next game: Saturday at West Virginia

12
12UCLA Bruins
last week: 17
record: 8-2

Last game: Beat Washington, 44-30
Next game: Saturday vs. USC

13
13Arizona State Sun Devils
last week: 7
record: 8-2

Last game: Lost to Oregon State, 35-27
Next game: Saturday vs. Washington State

14
14Arizona Wildcats
last week: 19
record: 8-2

Last game: Beat Washington, 27-26
Next game: Saturday at Utah

15
15Wisconsin Badgers
last week: 23
record: 7-2

Last game: Beat Nebraska, 59-24
Next game: Saturday at Iowa

16
16Auburn Tigers
last week: 9
record: 7-3

Last game: Lost to Georgia, 34-7
Next game: Saturday vs. Samford

17
17Marshall Thundering Herd
last week: 20
record: 10-0

Last game: Beat Rice, 41-14
Next game: Saturday at UAB

18
18Colorado State Rams
last week: 22
record: 9-1

Last game: Beat Hawaii, 49-21
Next game: Saturday vs. New Mexico

19
19Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
last week: 24
record: 9-2

Last game: Beat Clemson, 28-6
Next game: Nov. 29 at Georgia

20
20Nebraska Cornhuskers
last week: 11
record: 8-2

Last game: Lost to Wisconsin, 59-24
Next game: Saturday vs. Minnesota

21
21Missouri Tigers
last week: 25
record: 8-2

Last game: Beat Texas A&M, 34-27
Next game: Saturday at Tennessee

22
22USC Trojans
last week: NR
record: 7-3

Last game: Beat Cal, 38-30
Next game: Saturday at UCLA

23
23Oklahoma Sooners
last week: NR
record: 7-3

Last game: Beat Texas Tech, 42-30
Next game: Saturday vs. Kansas

24
24Duke Blue Devils
last week: 16
record: 8-2

Last game: Lost to Virginia Tech, 17-16
Next game: Thursday vs. UNC

25
25Utah Utes
last week: NR
record: 7-3

Last game: Beat Stanford, 20-17 (2OT)
Next game: Saturday vs. Arizona

Next five: Boise State, Notre Dame, Clemson, Louisville, LSU

• BECHT: Bubble Watch: Who's in, who's out of the playoff after Week 12?

3:42 | College Football
College football roundup: Week 12
SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.