On Tuesday night, the College Football Playoff selection committee released its third edition of the CFP rankings for the 2021 season, giving college football fans a window into how the top teams in the country stack up in the committee's eyes.
College Football Playoff rankings: Top 25 for Week 12
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The top seven teams remain the same
The teams ranked No. 1 through No. 7 in the CFP rankings stayed the same from Week 11 to Week 12: Georgia, Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Michigan and Michigan State.
The highest-ranked team in Week 11 that lost was previously undefeated Oklahoma, which was ranked No. 8 last week, before losing to Baylor. Notre Dame climbed one spot to No. 8 after Oklahoma's loss.
Where is Cincinnati ranked?
For the second week in a row, Cincinnati is ranked No. 5 in the CFP rankings. In Week 11, the Bearcats defeated the South Florida Bulls 45-28 on the road after taking a 31-7 in the third quarter. It was a more comfortable win for a Cincinnati win that escaped Week 10 with a 28-20 win over Tulsa.
The 10-0 Bearcats need just two more wins to complete an undefeated regular season and they'll face SMU in Week 12, followed by a road game at East Carolina. No. 24 Houston actually leads the American Athletic Conference since the Cougars have played one more conference game than the Bearcats. Both teams are undefeated in conference play.
The top two teams in the conference standings will meet in the conference championship.
Speaking of which, Houston is now ranked
The Cougars are 9-1 on the season and 7-0 in conference play, with their only loss coming in Week 1 to Texas Tech. The selection committee rewarded Houston with a No. 24 ranking in Week 12 and the Cougars represent a caliber of team that could potentially hand Cincinnati its first loss in the AAC Championship, or potentially provide the Bearcats with the opportunity for another quality win.
The biggest movers of the week
The aforementioned one-loss Oklahoma squad is tied with Texas A&M for the biggest mover in Week 12, as both schools dropped five spots in the CFP rankings to No. 13 and No. 16, respectively. NC State fell four spots to No. 20 after a loss of its own.A handful of teams improved their respective rankings by three spots apiece: Ole Miss, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pittsburgh and San Diego State.
Mississippi State rejoins the CFP rankings
As we've written before, there's enough depth of teams in the SEC West that the selection committee respects that even if a top-25 team from the division loses and falls out of the top 25, there's a good chance that a previously unranked team from the division could take its place.
Auburn fell out of the CFP rankings after losing to Mississippi State in Week 11 and as the Tigers fell out of the CFP rankings, the Bulldogs climbed into them at No. 25. Both schools are 6-4 on the season and have similar conference records (Mississippi State is 4-3 to Auburn's 3-3), and Mississippi State being ranked in the top 25 gives No. 2 Alabama another top-25 win.