We’re entering Week 12 of the 2019 college football season, but more importantly, we’re entering the second week of this year’s College Football Playoff rankings.
And just one week in, the top four has been shaken up. Our new top four, in order, is LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia. Alabama fell from third to fifth, and Oregon moved up from seventh to sixth. It's the first time LSU has been ranked No. 1 in the CFP era.
It was a wild week of football and no team held their spot from the previous week. Making one of the longer falls was Penn State, who went from fourth to ninth after falling to Minnesota. The Gophers jumped up from 17th to eighth after that victory, making the biggest leap into the top 10 since the CFP rankings began.
Let’s take a closer look at the rankings.
END OF AN ERA: LSU snaps eight-game skid against Alabama
Impact from LSU, Minnesota wins
The highly anticipated matchup between LSU and Alabama did not disappoint. The Tigers went into Tuscaloosa and beat the Crimson Tide for the first time in eight years behind a stellar performance from Heisman contender Joe Burrow, who threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns.
It’s difficult to argue with LSU taking the No. 1 spot this week. The Tigers are undefeated through nine games and have played a difficult schedule, beating four teams who were ranked in the AP Top 10 when the Tigers faced them in Texas, Florida, Auburn and Alabama. Remaining on the Tigers schedule is Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M and likely a trip to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, Georgia.
FULL SCHEDULE: Track every SEC football game this season
Meanwhile, in the Big Ten, Minnesota pulled off a win that shook up the playoff picture, staying undefeated and taking down previously-ranked No. 4 Penn State. Tanner Morgan completed 18-of-20 passes for 339 yards and three scores.
With the win, the Gophers leaped over several one-loss teams in the rankings, moving from No. 17 to No. 8 this week. And the Gophers will have the chance to improve their standing even more in the coming weeks, as they’ll face No. 20 Iowa and No. 14 Wisconsin. Playoff hopes are very much alive for P.J. Fleck’s side.
UNDEFEATED TRACKER: When might each unbeaten team lose?
Can Baylor do what Minnesota did?
Like Minnesota was a week ago, Baylor is undefeated but doesn’t have a super impressive win on its resume. But the Bears are going to get the chance to prove some folks wrong this week as it takes on No. 10 Oklahoma.
If the Bears can beat the Sooners, then No. 19 Texas awaits them. Should Baylor win both of those games, they could make a big jump in the rankings like the Gophers did. Undefeated at No. 13, Baylor could be the Big 12’s best shot at making the playoff this season.
At No. 13, Baylor is the lowest ranked a 9-0 power conference team has ever been in the CFP era.
Auburn probably won’t be in the playoff, but the Tigers are important
Sitting at No. 12 with two losses, Auburn’s playoff chances are slim. However, the Tigers will have a big impact in who’s in and who is out of the playoff.
This Saturday, the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs go into Jordan-Hare Stadium. With a loss at home to unranked South Carolina earlier this season, it’s unlikely that Georgia can lose another game and still make the playoff. Auburn winning would throw a wrench into the Dawgs’ playoff hopes.
And then on Nov. 30, one of the best rivalries in college football will be renewed when No. 5 Alabama comes into Jordan-Hare Stadium for the Iron Bowl. Auburn last beat Alabama in 2017, but the Crimson Tide got in the playoff anyways, only to lose to Deshaun Watson and Clemson in the title game.
It’s unclear if Alabama could suffer two losses and still somehow find its way into the playoff this season.
Group of Five race gets thicker
The race among the Group of Five teams for the bid to the Cotton Bowl got a little bit more crowded this week with Appalachian State entering the rankings at No. 25. The Mountaineers went to Columbia, South Carolina on Saturday and upset the Gamecocks, improving their record to 8-1 on the year.
Leading the race is still Cincinnati, which moved up from No. 20 to No. 17. Memphis is right behind the Bearcats at No. 18, Boise State checks in at No. 21 and Navy is in the hunt at No. 23.
Cincinnati faces South Florida this week, Memphis takes on Houston, Boise State hosts New Mexico and App State travels to Georgia State.
Navy has perhaps the most to gain this week among the group as the Mids will travel to South Bend, Indiana to battle No. 16 Notre Dame, an annual rival. A win over a ranked team could go a long way for Ken Niumatalolo’s side.