Michigan loss opens spot in top four of Power Rankings after Week 13

0:51 | College Football
No. 2 Ohio State defeats No. 3 Michigan in double overtime
Monday November 28th, 2016

Rivalry Week brought the heat, and now we wait for conference championships to settle the 2016 College Football Playoff rankings. I, for one, am very glad I’m not on the selection committee.

Alabama and Ohio State surely have two spots locked up, but how will the rest of the playoff shake out? It very well could end up with Clemson and Washington securing the final two berths in an underwhelming but still enticing manner... or, one or both could lose, and we could have true chaos.

Week 13 was plenty chaotic in its own right with 11 teams from last week’s rankings losing and six dropping out of the top 25 altogether. That six-team dropout was also reflected in the AP Top 25 for the fourth time since 1989, matching the all-time high.

So buckle up—something tells me the conference championships (plus Bedlam) won’t bore us.

• Coaches who need to improve to save their jobs next year

  • 1
    1Alabama Crimson Tide
    last week: 1
    record: 12–0
    A pair of first-half interceptions thrown by Jalen Hurts prevented Alabama from building more than a 13–9 lead at halftime against Auburn. But the Crimson Tide settled in in the second half to polish off their undefeated regular season. The Tigers have the SEC’s most productive rushing attack but managed just 66 yards on the ground Saturday. Now Alabama gets Florida in the SEC Championship Game for the second consecutive year, and the Gators enter after getting pasted by Florida State.

    Last week: Beat Auburn 30-12
    Next week: Saturday vs. Florida in SEC Championship Game

    College Football
    No. 1 Alabama uses stingy defense to throttle No. 13 Auburn in the Iron Bowl

  • 2
    2Ohio State Buckeyes
    last week: 2
    record: 11–1
    Michigan wasn’t far from claiming this No. 2 spot, as it took some late controversy in Columbus to give Ohio State a double-overtime win in Saturday’s instant classic. Instead, the Buckeyes—with wins over Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Oklahoma—seem well situated for the playoff despite their absence from the Big Ten championship game.

    Last week: Beat Michigan 30-27 in double overtime
    Next week: Off

    College Football
    Moments of lore: Four scenes that defined Ohio State's epic win over Michigan

  • 3
    3Clemson Tigers
    last week: 3
    record: 11–1
    Deshaun Watson’s final game in Death Valley was a breeze, as he tossed six touchdowns and Clemson cruised to a 56–7 victory over South Carolina. The Tigers are one win away from another trip to the playoff, but an impressive Virginia Tech team stands in their way in the ACC championship game.

    Last week: Beat South Carolina 56-7
    Next week: Saturday vs. Virginia Tech in ACC championship game

  • 4
    last week: 7
    record: 11–1
    If Washington hadn’t so thoroughly beat Washington State, Michigan might remain in this spot (after all, these are power rankings, not projected playoff rankings). Yet, the Huskies’ four-touchdown Apple Cup win provides a much-needed addition to Washington’s résumé. Their playoff hopes are contingent on beating Colorado in the Pac-12 championship game—no sure bet.

    Last week: Beat Washington State 45-17
    Next week: Friday vs. Colorado in Pac-12 championship game

    College Football
    Washington's path to a playoff spot is clear after its drubbing of Washington State

  • 5
    5Michigan Wolverines
    last week: 4
    record: 10–2
    Even with two losses, Michigan has the look, feel and résumé of a playoff team. The Wolverines hold wins over Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado and came within a yard of adding one over Ohio State. Yet any hope for a Michigan playoff bid likely hinges on losses by Clemson and Washington. Even then, one figures the selection committee would favor the Big Ten champion and possibly Oklahoma or Colorado (should they remain two-loss teams).

    Last week: Lost to Ohio State 30-27 in double overtime
    Next week: Off​

  • 6
    6Wisconsin Badgers
    last week: 5
    record: 10–2
    Two unimpressive quarters against Minnesota removed some of the sheen from Wisconsin’s stock, though the final result—a 31–17 victory over the eight-win, archrival Gophers—is certainly fine. The Badgers get Penn State in the Big Ten championship game, and the winner could very well reach the playoff with a loss by Clemson or Washington.

    Last week: Beat Minnesota 31-17
    Next week: Saturday vs. Penn State in Big Ten championship game

    College Football
    Sizing up the College Football Playoff picture after Week 13

  • 7
    7Oklahoma Sooners
    last week: 6
    record: 9-2
    Oklahoma enjoyed the week off before Bedlam vs. Oklahoma State, also known as the de facto Big 12 championship game. A win over the Cowboys keeps the Sooners’ faint playoff hopes alive, though they would need a significant amount of help.

    Last week: Off
    Next week: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

  • 8
    8Penn State Nittany Lions
    last week: 8
    record: 10–2
    Like Wisconsin, Penn State was slow out of the gate Saturday before running away from Michigan State. The Nittany Lions’ Oct. 22 win over Ohio State serves as the Big Ten East division tiebreaker, meaning that James Franklin has gone from hot seat speculation at the beginning of the season to holding onto legitimate playoff hopes.

    Last week: Beat Michigan State 45-12
    Next week: Saturday vs. Wisconsin in Big Ten championship game

  • 9
    9Colorado Buffaloes
    last week: 9
    record: 10-2
    Colorado turned it on the second half to avoid losing to Utah, again showcasing its incredible defense and setting up perhaps the country’s most enticing conference championship matchup. Who knows what will happen to the playoff picture should the Buffaloes knock off Washington, but this is a great moment to marvel at Mike MacIntyre’s coaching job in Boulder. Before this season, the Buffs had a pair of four-win seasons sandwiching the two-win campaign in 2014. Now, they have a very real shot at the Pac-12 title.

    Last week: Beat Utah 27-22
    Next week: Friday vs. Washington in Pac-12 championship game

    College Football
    Colorado punches ticket to Pac-12 title game with impressive Utah win

  • 10
    10USC Trojans
    last week: 10
    record: 9–3
    Adoree’ Jackson’s Heisman Trophy-worthy effort vs. Notre Dame—three touchdowns, one on a 52-yard reception, one on a 55-yard punt return and one on a 97-yard kickoff return—gave the Trojans their eighth consecutive win. That’s a remarkable feat considering USC entered the final week of September with a 1–3 record and a pair of conference losses. Now the Trojans could be set up for a Rose Bowl bid.

    Last week: Beat Notre Dame 45-27
    Next week: Off

  • 11
    11Oklahoma State Cowboys
    last week: 12
    record: 9–2
    Unless a host of upsets go down, Bedlam might not have a ton of playoff implications. But this matchup isn’t any dimmer. Oklahoma can clinch the Big 12 title on its home field, while Oklahoma State can win just its second Big 12 championship.

    Last week: Off
    Next week: Saturday at Oklahoma

  • 12
    12Florida State Seminoles
    last week: 15
    record: 9–3
    Winning the so-called state championship on Saturday keeps Florida State’s Orange Bowl hopes alive, although that spot might still end up going to Louisville. Nonetheless, finishing the regular season with nine wins is a solid accomplishment for the Seminoles considering the adversity that followed their 3–2 start.

    Last week: Beat Florida 31-13
    Next week: Off

  • 13
    13Western Michigan Broncos
    last week: 13
    record: 12–0
    Western Michigan’s remarkable season continued Friday night when the Broncos dismantled a solid Toledo squad. Corey Davis became the FBS all-time leader in receiving yards as Western Michigan reached its first MAC championship game since 2000. A win there over Ohio, and P.J. Fleck’s Broncos could be rowing the boat to the Cotton Bowl.

    Last week: Beat Toledo 55-35
    Next week: Friday vs. Ohio in MAC championship game

  • 14
    last week: 18
    record: 9–2
    West Virginia recovered from its Big 12- and playoff-hopes crushing loss to Oklahoma by outscoring Iowa State 28–3 in the second half. A win over Baylor on Saturday would give the Mountaineers their first 10-win season since joining the Big 12 before the 2012 season.

    Last week: Beat Iowa State 49-19
    Next week: Saturday vs. Baylor

  • 15
    15Stanford Cardinal
    last week: 25
    record: 9–3
    Stanford’s once-lackluster season is concluding with a five-game winning streak, each decided by at least an 11-point margin. Saturday’s victory over Rice ensured the Cardinal would finish with more than eight wins, the program-low under David Shaw set in 2014.

    Last week: Beat Rice 41-17
    Next week: Off

  • 16
    last week: 11
    record: 9–3
    Consecutive losses to unranked teams have diminished the final outlook for Louisville’s season, as well as possibly Lamar Jackson’s Heisman hopes. An Orange Bowl bid—no longer a certainty but still likely—would be an impressive capstone on the season but still a bit of a disappointment after the Cardinals eyed a playoff berth.

    Last week: Lost to Kentucky 41-38
    Next week: Off

  • 17
    17Auburn Tigers
    last week: 14
    record: 8–4
    As expected, a banged-up Auburn team posed little threat to Alabama in the Iron Bowl. However, this weekend’s losses by Florida, Texas A&M and Tennessee could put the Tigers in the Sugar Bowl, which would mark an impressive conclusion to an up-and-down season.

    Last week: Lost to Alabama 30-12
    Next week: Off

  • 18
    18Florida Gators
    last week: 17
    record: 8–3
    Florida followed up its win over LSU with a lifeless performance by its offense against Florida State, managing only 205 total yards and losing two fumbles. Now the Gators must beat Alabama for any shot at a New Year’s Six bowl. Don’t count on it.

    Last week: Lost to Florida State 31-13
    Next week: Saturday vs. Alabama in SEC Championship Game

  • 19
    last week: NOT RANKED
    record: 9-2
    Navy smacked SMU to stay in contention with Western Michigan for the Cotton Bowl. But regardless of whether the Midshipmen get there, let’s reflect on what an incredible campaign it’s been for Ken Niumatalolo’s team. The possibility remains for Navy to set the program record with 12 wins.

    Last week: Beat SMU 75-31
    Next week: Saturday vs. Temple in AAC championship game

  • 20
    20Virginia Tech Hokies
    last week: Not ranked
    record: 9–3
    Virginia Tech enters its first ACC championship game since 2011 (also against Clemson) after routing Virginia for its 13th consecutive win over its in-state rival. It’s been quite the debut season for Justin Fuente already, and that’s before facing the Tigers in Orlando and seeing where the Hokies end up playing their bowl game.

    Last week: Beat Virginia 52-10
    Next week: Saturday vs. Clemson in ACC championship game

    College Football
    AP Top 25: Michigan dips to No. 5 after loss to Ohio State

  • 21
    last week: NOT RANKED
    record: 7–4
    Ed Orgeron now has the permanent head coaching job at LSU, and regardless of whatever Tom Herman’s level of interest in the job was, it’s impossible to say Coach O doesn’t deserve it. The Tigers capped their remarkable turnaround of the 2016 season with a dismantling of Texas A&M despite playing without Leonard Fournette and leading tackler Kendell Beckwith. Wherever LSU ends up in bowl season, Tigers fans have to feel good about the program moving forward after a rocky year.

    Last week: Beat Texas A&M 54-39
    Next week: Off

    Can Ed Orgeron return LSU to glory?

  • 22
    22South florida bulls
    last week: NOT RANKED
    record: 10-2
    Willie Taggart continues to do work down in Tampa, having built the Bulls’ win total in each of his four seasons from two to four to eight to 10 and counting this year. USF has college football’s longest streak of games with more than 30 points scored, most recently defeating UCF 48–31 on Saturday. Another late-December bowl bid awaits the Bulls, and how much higher they can climb will be one of the more intriguing storylines to watch over the next few seasons. Of course, that depends heavily on how long Taggart stays put… but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.

    Last week: Beat UCF 48-31
    Next week: Off

  • 23
    last week: noT RANKED
    record: 8–4
    Iowa returns to the rankings having won three straight, including victories over Michigan and Nebraska. At eight regular-season wins, the Hawkeyes have fallen a bit from last year’s Rose Bowl campaign, though that was largely expected. Now, can they win their first bowl game since 2010?

    Last week: Beat Nebraska 40-10
    Next week: Off

  • 24
    24Nebraska cornhuskers
    last week: 16
    record: 9–3
    How long ago does that 7–0 start feel? Each of Nebraska’s three losses this season has been crushing for a variety of reasons; first came the overtime defeat at Wisconsin, then the 62–3 debacle at Ohio State and finally Saturday’s 40–10 embarrassment in Iowa City. Still, the Huskers have the opportunity to hit 10 wins for the first time since 2012 with a bowl win, and Mike Riley’s second season has definitely been an improvement over year one.

    Last week: Lost to Iowa 40-10
    Next week: Off

  • 25
    25Pittsburgh Panthers
    last week: Not ranked
    record: 8–4
    Saturday’s meeting with Syracuse ended as the highest-scoring regulation game in FBS history, a result neither side is probably all that proud of—particularly a defensive-minded coach like Pat Narduzzi. Still, Pitt has now won three straight, including its Nov. 12 road upset of Clemson, and has won at least eight games for the second time in as many seasons under Narduzzi.

    Last week: Beat Syracuse 76-61
    Next week: Off

Dropped out: Boise State, Houston, Utah, Texas A&M, Washington State, Tennessee
Next five: Boise State, Houston, Utah, Washington State, Temple

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