LSU and TCU were two major forces, but down they both went in the first weekend of November football. At this point in the season, each game is of critical focus as we move towards the ultimate destination of the College Football Playoff. With Playoff Rankings officially out, and a shakeup at the top, it is now penultimate that these teams perform at a very high level going forward.

Week 11 Rankings

1. Clemson Tigers: After a 23-13 win over a very good Florida State team, Clemson has to be at the top of the spectrum. They are flying well on all cylinders, and DeShaun Watson is leading the way. Coach Dabo Swinney compared the performance to winning the Kentucky Derby, a marvelous feat. The Tigers may have clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game, but winning that one to advance to the Playoff will be no easy feat.

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2. Ohio State Buckeyes: The Buckeyes keep taking care of business in the Big 10. A 28-14 win over the Gophers of Minnesota this past weekend was no different, as Ezekiel Elliot’s 114 rushing yards paved the way for a Buckeye domination of the game. Cardale Jones was a little difficult at quarterback during J.T. Barrett’s suspension, and Barrett will get the start this week.

3. Baylor Bears: The Bears held off a Kansas State team 31-24 that played decently well given the strength of the Bears. Jared Stidham threw for 419 yards in his first game at quarterback for the injured Seth Russell, which means that the high-powered Baylor offense is attributed to the team as a whole and not just Russell’s arm. Hopefully, the Bears can see some improvement in the rankings this week given Stidham’s performance.

4. Alabama Crimson Tide: The Tide have what I hoped the Badgers and Trojans would have early on: the ability to lose very early in the season but then win out since and hop right back on top of the rankings. Not only has Alabama been dominant, but they asserted themselves well against an LSU team that was ranked even above them by winning 30-16 in Tuscaloosa. Derrick Henry’s 210 yards of rushing paved the way on offense, and a defense held Heiman frontrunner Leonard Fournette to just 31 yards, by far his lowest numbers of the season. This Crimson Tide team is scary good.

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5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: The Irish continue to play very well, which is still surprising given Malik Zaire’s injury at the beginning of the year. DeShone Kizer’s 5 touchdown passes helped the Irish top Pitt 42-30. Josh Adams’ run game was equally as impressive, and the Irish are right on the edge of an appearance in the College Football Playoff.

6. Stanford Cardinal: The Stanford Cardinal are clearly the leaders of the Pac 12, and a 42-10 win over the Colorado Buffaloes continues to assert their dominance. Christian McCaffrey had 220 all-purpose yards, including a touchdown pass, to guide the Cardinal. Kevin Hogan became the winningest quarterback in Cardinal history over Andrew Luck, and things are generally looking good in Palo Alto. Bring on Oregon.

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7. Iowa Hawkeyes: The Big 10 is looking like it will have its first ever championship game that both Wisconsin and Michigan State are not in. Iowa’s 35-27 win over Indiana kept them undefeated, including a remarkable 5-0 in conference play. C.J. Beathard’s crucial touchdown throw with six minutes left put Iowa up top, and they stayed there for another win. The Hawkeyes continue to look as strong as ever, and are looking forward to some easier weeks against Minnesota and Purdue coming up.

8. Oklahoma State Cowboys: You have to give some credit to these Cowboys for a huge upset of TCU 49-29. Mason Rudolph’s 352 yards and five touchdowns plus James Washington’s 184 yards receiving and three touchdowns was instrumental in the Cowboy victory. Also, Trevone Boykin of TCU threw a career-high four interceptions which was very uncharacteristic of him. With this backdrop, the Cowboys could be a sneaky favorite into the College Football Playoff.

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9. Florida Gators: The Swamp will keep biting away opponents, as the Gators delivered with a 9-7 win over Vanderbilt. Although it was way closer than it should have been, the win is what counts and the Gators are back in the SEC East Championship game for the first time since 2009, when their quarterback was a southpaw by the name of Tim Tebow. Treon Harris will need to step it up, however, because their opponent from the West is going to be a giant.

10. Utah Utes: Just two weeks after my very own USC Trojans trumped the Utes, Utah finds itself back in the conversation after a key win over Washington 34-23. Despite no ranking next to their name, the Huskies are a good team and so the Utes’ win was strong. Devontae Booker had over 150 yards and the Utes’ lead in the Pac-12 south was restored. For Utah to maintain that lead, they must win out the rest of the season. If they do not, teams like UCLA and USC are chomping on the bit for the chance to play in Santa Clara.

11. LSU Tigers

12. Michigan Wolverines

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13. Oklahoma Sooners

14. Houston Cougars

15. TCU Horned Frogs

16. Michigan State Spartans

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17. Florida State Seminoles

18. UCLA Bruins

19. Mississippi State Bulldogs

20. North Carolina Tar Heels

21. Wisconsin Badgers

22. USC Trojans

23. Northwestern Wildcats

24. Navy Midshipman

25. BYU Cougars

Week 11 – Key Matchups

Florida at South Carolina

Alabama at Mississippi State

Memphis at Houston

Oklahoma at Baylor



All images are courtesy of Getty Images.