2015 College Football Rankings, Week 13

Your College Football Rankings Heading Into Rivalry Week

Previous College Football Rankings:
10/5/15

10/12/15

10/19/15

10/26/15

11/02/15

11/10/15

11/17/15

What this ranking is: A ranking of team resumes so far. It’s a combination of many things – avoiding losses is the most important thing, as winning is the name of the game. Unique wins are a good thing, too – being the only team to beat another carries a lot of weight. Being one of two to beat another carries weight, but less. If the losses come to undefeated teams, that matters. And if they didn’t, how many losses the teams that beat you have piled up matter. Also, to a lesser extent, how you won and lost matters – blowouts, close wins, close losses – there are adjustments for all these. But it’s a look at what you’ve done in a vacuum separate from perceptions we hold about CFB teams. This isn’t in awe of Ohio State because of what Ohio State did last year, who coaches the Buckeyes, or the collection of talent on the roster. This is 100% score-based.

What this ranking is not: It’s NOT a measure of the best teams in the country. Try ESPN’s FPI or Football Outsiders’ F/+ rankings for really good measures of the best teams. This ranking is also not predictive – again, try those. A higher ranked team in this list isn’t suggested to be capable of beating a lower ranked team. That is not what this is. There’s an instinct people have to change all rankings into what they want rankings to be, and that’s an easy trap to fall into with OFR’s. “Man, ain’t no way [team ranked #15] is better than [team ranked #30]!” “[Team ranked #20] would destroy [team ranked #10]!” If you have either reaction, or anything similar, you need to re-read this section of the post. It’s just a look at resume, because at the end of the year, that’s what matters most. FSU wasn’t one of the 4 best teams in the country in 2014, but the Seminoles had one of the 4 best resumes, so they made the playoffs.

The Bottom Fourth (#s 128-97)

128. UCF (0-11)
127. Eastern Michigan (1-10)
126. Hawaii (2-10)
125. Wyoming (1-10)
124. UL-Monroe (1-10)
123. North Texas (1-10)
122. Charlotte (2-9)
121. Kansas (0-11)
120. Miami OH (3-9)
119. Massachusetts (2-9)
118. Tulane (3-8)
117. Army (2-9)
116. Oregon State (2-9)
115. Fresno State (3-8)
114. Florida Atlantic (2-9)
113. Idaho (3-8)
112. UTEP (4-7)
111. SMU (2-9)
110. Kent State (3-8)
109. UNLV (3-8)
108. UTSA (3-8)
107. FIU (5-7)
106. Ball State (3-8)
105. Rice (4-7)
104. Texas State (3-7)
103. New Mexico State (3-7)
102. Colorado (4-8)
101. Purdue (2-9)
100. Old Dominion (5-6)
99. Maryland (2-9)
98. Purdue (2-9)
97. Troy (3-7)

 

Not Good (#s 96-65)

GSU QB Nick Arbuckle  (Photo: Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)
GSU QB Nick Arbuckle (Photo: Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

96. UL-Lafayette (4-6)
95. Wake Forest (3-8)
94. Georgia State (4-6)
93. San Jose State (5-6)
92. Boston College (3-8)
91. Buffalo (5-6)
90. South Alabama (5-5)
89. Vanderbilt (4-7)
88. Tulsa (5-6)
87. New Mexico (6-5)
86. Nevada (6-5)
85. South Carolina (3-8)
84. Colorado State (6-5)
83. Rutgers (4-7)
82. Virginia (4-7)
81. Kentucky (5-6)
80. Georgia Tech (3-8)
79. Iowa State (3-8)
78. East Carolina (5-6)
77. Middle Tennessee (6-5)
76. Missouri (5-6)
75. Utah State (6-5)
74. Illinois (5-6)
73. Ohio (7-4)
72. Connecticut (6-5)
71. Arizona (6-6)
70. Washington (5-6)
69. Akron (6-5)
68. Kansas State (4-6)
67. Texas (4-6)
66. Virginia Tech (5-6)
65. Duke (6-5)

Not Bad (#s 64-26)

64. Western Michigan (6-5)
63. Minnesota (5-6)
62. Indiana (5-6)
61. Nebraska (5-6)
60. Central Michigan (6-5)
59. Arizona State (6-5)
58. Auburn (6-5)
57. Cincinnati (6-5)
56. Boise State (7-4)
55. South Florida (7-4)
54. California (6-5)
53. Texas Tech (6-5)
52. Louisville (6-5)
51. Arkansas (6-5)
50. Miami (7-4)
49. Air Force (8-3)
48. San Diego State (8-3)
47. NC State (7-4)
46. Arkansas State (7-3)
45. USC (7-4)
44. Southern Mississippi (8-3)
43. Penn State (7-4)
42. BYU (8-3)
41. Northern Illinois (8-3)
40. Louisiana Tech (8-3)
39. Georgia Southern (7-3)
38. Bowling Green (8-3)
37. West Virginia (6-4)
36. Texas A&M (8-3)
35. Georgia (8-3)
34. Memphis (8-3)
33. UCLA (8-3)
32. Mississippi State (8-3)
31. Marshall (9-2)
30. Utah (8-3)
29. Western Kentucky (9-2)
28. Tennessee (7-4)
27. Temple (9-2)
26. Washington State (8-3)

Really Good (#s 25-5)

25. Pittsburgh (8-3)
Signature Wins: none
Change: +3
Playoff odds: <1%
Pitt is already locked into a second place finish in the ACC Coastal division. They haven’t really beaten anyone of note this year, but they also generally avoided embarrassment against the tough end of their schedule – a 3 point loss to undefeated Iowa, a 7 point loss to 1-loss UNC, and a 12 point loss to 1-loss Notre Dame. They may be 0-3 against quality teams, but the o-3 were generally pretty close, and they’ve taken care of the rest.
This week: vs. Miami (Friday)

24. Oregon (8-3)
Signature Wins: Stanford, USC
Change: +3
Playoff odds: <1%
6 weeks into the season, Oregon was 3-3 and looked done. One loss was a 62-20 blowout at the hands of Utah. Another was an embarrassing loss at home to Washington State. But it turns out, those losses look a little better now. Utah and Wazzou turned out to be pretty good, as did the other team to beat Oregon – Michigan State (but we knew they were good then). The 5 game winning streak hasn’t been vintage Oregon – beating Washington by 6, Arizona State by 6, and Cal by just 16 is not something Chip Kelly was ever familiar with – but wins over Stanford and USC at least have fans feeling like things are back on track to some degree.
This week: vs Oregon State (Friday)

23. Appalachian State (8-2)
Signature Wins: Georgia Southern
Change: +1
Playoff odds: <1%
The only school ever from North Carolina to win a national title at any level of football has turned out to be a pretty nice addition to the FBS. They’re 14-2 over their last 16, with one of the losses coming to undefeated Clemson.
This week: vs. UL-Lafayette

22. LSU (7-3)
Signature Wins: Florida, Western Kentucky, Mississippi State
Change: -9
Playoff odds: <1%
From #1 to #22 is a pretty quick and sudden drop over 3 games, and I get that it’s disappointing, but goodness, LSU is about to lose their collective minds with this firing Les Miles talk. He’s not the greatest in-game tactician, but he elevated that program to a higher level than Nick Saban had it at, and he has built several incredible teams. If they go through with it, they better knock this hire out of the park.
This week: vs. Texas A&M

21. Ole Miss (8-3)
Signature Wins: Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU
Change: +4
Playoff odds: <1%
Ole Miss’ schedule is an amalgamation of good and bad. The Rebels own the most impressive win of the year – over Alabama in Tuscaloosa, they have two cupcake beatdowns where they scored 70+, and they dominated both Texas A&M and LSU. They were also blown out by Florida, lost by multiple scores to what turned out to be a very beatable Memphis team, struggled with a down Auburn team, and lost to 5-loss Arkansas. There’s still a shot that Ole Miss wins the SEC West – if Auburn can pull off the Iron Bowl upset and the Rebels win the Egg Bowl, Ole Miss will get a rematch with the Gators.
This week: at Mississippi State

20. Wisconsin (8-3)
Signature Wins: none
Change: -2
Playoff odds: <1%
Kind of like Pittsburgh, Wisconsin is here not as much because of who they beat (the best team is probably, oh my god, it’s Nebraska), but rather who beat them. They lost by 18 to Alabama, 4 to Iowa, and 6 to Northwestern in a game that many observers believe Wisconsin should have won, but lost on a controversial call that involved the definition of a catch. There’s no conference title in the mix, but Wisconsin could still get to 10 wins.
This week: at Minnesota

19. Florida State (9-2)
Signature Wins: Miami, South Florida, NC State
Change: +4
Playoff odds: <1%
Georgia Tech remains a really bad opponent to have lost to. How often since Florida State joined the ACC have they served as someone’s only conference win? It’s one of the more embarrassing losses in program history. But other than that, the season has been pretty solid. It’s Clemson’s year, and FSU hung with them for 3 1/2 quarters. The Noles were sluggish over the first 6 weeks or so, but since then they’ve been pretty good against lesser teams, beating Louisville (41-21), Syracuse (45-21), and NC State (34-17) by healthy margins. The season could get a LOT better with a win in the Swamp this Saturday, ruining their biggest rival’s dark horse shot at a playoff bid.
This week: at Florida

18. TCU (9-2)
Signature Wins: West Virginia
Change: -4
Playoff odds: <1%
Down 1 with less than a minute to play, and having just scored the potentially game-tying TD against Oklahoma, Gary Patterson channeled his inner Tom Osborne and went for 2. It didn’t work out, as the Sooners batted down the pass to win 30-29, but it’s hard to really hate the decision. TCU had just moved the ball downfield, mounting a comeback against a Sooner team that, at the moment, couldn’t stop them. Their odds of winning in OT was probably a little under 50%, considering the game was in Norman, so if they thought their odds of making the 2-pt conversion was better than 50% (and it typically is over 50%, and that’s among much more average teams that only go for 2 when they have to), it was the smart play. It just didn’t work out. TCU’s conference and playoff dreams are over for 2015, but they could still give Baylor some payback for ruining their 2014 playoff bid.
This week: vs. Baylor (Friday)

17. Houston (10-1)
Signature Wins: Memphis
Change: -9
Playoff odds: <1%
The Cinderella run is over, thanks to a 20-17 loss to UConn over the weekend, but Houston can still win the AAC. They’ll play Navy on Friday afternoon in what is the de facto AAC West championship game. The winner will face either Temple or South Florida. If that winner is Houston, the game will be a home game for the Cougars. There’s still a lot to play for. It’s just more in line with preseason expectations now.
This week: vs. Navy (Friday)

LB Anthony Walker (Photo: Nathan Richards/Daily Northwestern)
LB Anthony Walker (Photo: Nathan Richards/Daily Northwestern)

16. Northwestern (9-2)
Signature Wins: Stanford, Wisconsin, Penn State
Change: +4
Playoff odds: <1%
It’s the resume that just keeps chugging along. Northwestern keeps winning, beating teams I honestly thought were better than them, like Penn State and Wisconsin. Their losses were by large margins, but against what remain really good teams – Michigan and Iowa. Northwestern just won’t go away, and at this point I’m not sure they should.
This week: vs. Illinois (neutral site)

15. Toledo (9-1)
Signature Wins: Arkansas State, Bowling Green
Change: +4
Playoff odds: <1%
A 5 point loss to NIU is the only blemish, but their schedule wasn’t strong enough to survive any blemishes. Besides, Toledo had the NIU game circled pre-season. It was their playoff game, and they didn’t win it. Now they need Ohio to upset the Huskies this weekend just to make it to the MAC title game.
This week: vs. Western Michigan (Friday)

14. North Carolina (10-1)
Signature Wins: Pittsburgh, Miami
Change: +2
Playoff odds: 11%
They’re a dark horse, but they are a playoff contender, which means I can say their 4 point loss to South Carolina was the worst of any playoff contender. They lost to a team that lost to The Citadel. Many have jumped onto the UNC bandwagon lately, and it’s easy to see why. They dominated Duke and Miami in back to back weeks, and UNC is also one of those teams we always expect to turn a corner at some point. I’ve had it in the back of my mind for years, and while you never really expect it to be UNC’s year, you’re also mentally prepared enough to not be stunned when it is. However, I wonder if the hot streak is coming to a close. Letting 6-loss Virginia Tech take you to overtime isn’t the mark of a team that is ready for a playoff run. Speaking of, what does UNC need to happen? They need lots of losses among 1-loss teams, and they’ll have to take care of business against Clemson in the ACC title game. It’s all possible, but it’s a long shot.
This week: at NC State.

13. Stanford (9-2)
Signature Wins: UCLA, Washington State, USC
Change: +4
Playoff odds: 11%
Another long shot, but they’ve got a chance. The losses were respectable enough, by 10 at Northwestern and by 2 against Oregon. If they win the Pac-12, they’ll have multiple wins over its runner up, be that UCLA or USC. They could have a win over Notre Dame as well. It’s not a terrible resume, but it’ll need help to get there. I think Stanford is a team that is well-liked by decision-makers, so if they can get into the conversation, I could see them getting more love than they maybe deserve.
This week: vs. Notre Dame

12. Navy (9-1)
Signature Wins: Air Force, Memphis, South Florida
Change: none
Playoff odds: <1%
The Houston loss didn’t just hurt Houston, it also took away Navy’s chance at something really eye-catching this weekend – a win over an undefeated team in late November. Navy’s only loss was by 17 to Notre Dame, so they’re not really on par with the better teams, but it still would have been fun to watch Navy make a playoff push. There’s still a good shot at a New Year’s Six bowl. They’ll have to win Friday to get there.
This week: at Houston (Friday)

11. Florida (10-1)
Signature Wins: Georgia, Ole Miss, Tennessee
Change: -1
Playoff odds: 17%
The Gators would prefer LSU’s freefall to end as well as their own. Since the 27-3 win over UGA, when Florida looked great, the Gators have gone 3-0 in about the most unimpressive way possible. They won 9-7 over Vanderbilt in a game that the televising network probably should have apologized for airing. They beat South Carolina 24-14 in a game that was far too close for far too long. This weekend it reached peak meltdown mode, as Florida let a very bad Florida Atlantic team take them to overtime, where the Gators missed a PAT and then needed a no-call on a blatant pass interference (or defensive holding – the defender did both) to keep the Owls out of the endzone and avoid a 21-20 loss. That would’ve been the worst loss in UF history. It would’ve been worse than losing to FCS Georgia Southern in 2013, because in 2013, Florida wasn’t very good (and Georgia Southern is always pretty respectable). Disaster was avoided Saturday, but the Gators really can’t keep living this way, because they’ve got back to back dates with Florida State and (probably) Alabama.
This week: vs. Florida State

10. Oklahoma State (10-1)
Signature Wins: TCU, West Virginia
Change: -5
Playoff odds: 9%
Inevitability finally arrived for the Cowboys, a team that played far too many close games to really sustain their unbeaten record, losing 45-35 to Baylor. Oklahoma State will find out Friday whether they can win the conference or not on Saturday – they need TCU to beat Baylor for that to be a possibility. If TCU wins, Bedlam will serve as the Big XII’s championship game. Even if it doesn’t, this is still OSU’s biggest game of every season, and the Cowboys will happily send Baylor to the playoffs if it means keeping Oklahoma out. Also, I might have OSU 10th right now, but the top 10 of my rankings, at least #’s 2-9, are incredibly close. Oklahoma State is as close to #2 as #2 is to #1. That’s how tight everything is.
This week: vs. Oklahoma

9. Michigan (9-2)
Signature Wins: Northwestern, BYU, Penn State
Change: none
Playoff odds: 6%
With 2 losses, a lot has to happen for Michigan to get much higher, but they are capable of making a push. First, they need Penn State to upset Michigan State, which is unlikely but not out of the question. Next, they have to beat Ohio State. They also need Iowa to remain undefeated, so as to give them a big win in the Big Ten championship. Texas losing a couple more times wouldn’t be bad, to serve as a bigger chink in Oklahoma’s armor, and it’d be nice if Stanford could beat Notre Dame and then lose in the Pac-12 title game. Like I said, it’s a lot that has to go their way, but none of it is strikingly unreasonable. 1 in 16 sounds about right.
This week: vs. Ohio State

8. Ohio State (10-1)
Signature Wins: Northern Illinois, Penn State
Change: -2
Playoff odds: 33%
Like Michigan, Ohio State is rooting hard for Penn State against Michigan State. If the Lions win, Ohio State goes back to pretty much controlling its own destiny. With wins over Michigan and probably undefeated Iowa, they’d arguably have wins that could match Oklahoma’s, with a much less embarrassing loss to boot. They only need that first domino to fall, but it’s the unlikeliest.
This week: at Michigan

7. Michigan State (10-1)
Signature Wins: Ohio State, Michigan, Air Force, Oregon
Change: +8
Playoff odds: 44%
They’ve got a pretty direct path. Beat Penn State, beat Iowa. Neither is a cinch, and I honestly doubt if MSU could beat both, especially with Connor Cook ailing lately, but I think MSU gets into the playoffs if they win their next two, at least if Iowa is undefeated. If Iowa loses to Nebraska, it complicates things a bit, but the Spartans will still have quite an argument. Gotta get it done first, though.
This week: vs. Penn State

Michigan State QB Connor Cook  (Photo: Mike Carter, USA Today Sports)
Michigan State QB Connor Cook (Photo: Mike Carter, USA Today Sports)

6. Baylor (9-1)
Signature Wins: Oklahoma State, West Virginia
Change: +5
Playoff odds: 19%
Assuming Baylor beats TCU, the Bears need Oklahoma State to beat Oklahoma, and Baylor can claim the Big XII championship. If that happens, they’ll have a decent enough resume to be in the conversation with Notre Dame for the 4th spot.
This week: at TCU (Friday)

5. Notre Dame (10-1)
Signature Wins: Navy, Temple, Pittsburgh, USC
Change: -1
Playoff odds: 31%
Last week I noted that Notre Dame’s schedule was suddenly doing them no favors, despite looking pretty good in the preseason. Temple getting shelled by South Florida hurt. Stanford losing to Oregon hurt in terms of potential future gains that were lost. USC losing to Oregon hurt. Georgia Tech and Texas turned out to be duds. Boston College is much worse than expected. It just hasn’t gone right for Notre Dame, a very good team in a sea of very good teams. They’re certainly not out of it, and they’ll be in the mix for a spot if they win out. It’s just less certain than it seemed a month ago.
This week: at Stanford

The Four

4. Iowa (11-0)
Signature Wins: Northwestern, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh
Change: -1
Playoff odds: 29%

Even after 11 straight wins, it’s still hard to fully believe in Iowa. I myself am guilty. Just last night I was talking with another OFR author about how I though Iowa could be in trouble against Nebraska, a team coming off a bye looking to salvage its season with bowl eligibility, and that requires a win over Iowa. If not Friday, Iowa’s comeuppance could come next Saturday in the Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State, Ohio State, or Michigan. I can’t imagine the Hawkeyes, despite the better record, would be favored against any of them. That doesn’t mean I’m not rooting for Iowa by now, though. There’d be no more beautiful chaotic nonsense than having Iowa beat Clemson 15-8 in the national championship game. It would be truly magnificent, and if your favorite team isn’t still in the hunt, Iowa is who to root for.
This weekend: at Nebraska (Friday)

3. Oklahoma (10-1)
Signature Wins: Baylor, TCU, Tennessee, West Virginia
Change: +4
Playoff odds: 55%

If Oklahoma wins Bedlam on Saturday in Stillwater, they win the Big XII, and it’ll be tough to keep them out of the playoffs at that point. Wins over Baylor, TCU, and OSU, plus a non-conference win at Tennessee (a competent SEC East team – they DO exist!).  Oklahoma is beloved by the metrics and everyone outside the SEC wants to see Bob Stoops shed his silly “Big Game Bob” nickname. The Texas loss is awful, but a similar loss didn’t keep Ohio State out last year, and Oklahoma has a better resume outside the loss than the Buckeyes did a year ago.
This weekend: at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

2. Alabama (10-1)
Signature Wins: Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State, Wisconsin
Change: none
Playoff odds: 66%

It really can’t be set up any better for Bama. Auburn isn’t very good, and Florida is a mess and will be coming off their biggest rivalry game of the year. If Alabama doesn’t become the SEC’s first back-to-back conference champ since Tennessee in 1997-1998, it will require an embarrassing collapse on the part of the Tide. That would be wildly entertaining to watch, but I don’t expect to see it happen.
This weekend: at Auburn

1. Clemson (11-0)
Signature Wins: Notre Dame, Florida State, Appalachian State, Miami, NC State
Change: none
Playoff odds: 69%

More of the same for Clemson. What more needs to be said? They have commanding control of the #1 spot. The only way this gets truly interesting is if Clemson somehow loses to South Carolina, then goes on to win the ACC against UNC. I don’t expect Clemson to lose either remaining game, however, so it’s moot, but Clemson’s resume is so good it really might survive a loss, at least if Notre Dame and FSU can win their rivalry games.
This weekend: at South Carolina

About Brent Blackwell 139 Articles
Brent Blackwell also writes for College Football By The Numbers at www.cfbtn.com.

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