Ranking 131 college football teams after Week 12: TCU keeps proving it belongs

There has been a basic sense across the College Football Playoff dialog that TCU is fortunate to be there and that one loss will knock the Horned Frogs out. But that should not be the case.

No doubt, TCU has wanted various second-half comebacks to win, none extra notable than the hearth drill game-winning discipline objective to beat Baylor on Saturday. But this goes again additional. Last week, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith dismissed the Frogs and mentioned they hadn’t performed anybody and that “competitors issues.” He learn off the schedule and mentioned it is not deserving of a top-four rating, even when undefeated.

It acquired a variety of response, as a result of that is the purpose, after all. But Smith was not alone. Paul Finebaum, in the identical section, agreed and downplayed the standard of the Big 12.

What Smith, Finebaum and others missed is that the Big 12 is the deepest convention within the nation. Eight of 10 teams are bowl-eligible. There are not any pushovers, and the 9 convention video games are greater than the SEC or ACC. Among the CFP high 4, TCU has the strongest power of schedule in a number of scores, together with ESPN’s FPI and Sagarin. The Horned Frogs are No. 1 in ESPN’s power of document, which evaluates the possibilities the typical top-25 staff would have that very same document towards the identical schedule.

An undefeated TCU will make the CFP. We know that. The dialog we must be having is whether or not or not a one-loss TCU ought to get in.

All of that mentioned, the place the place you possibly can ding the Frogs is that they lack a real marquee win. Georgia beat Oregon and Tennessee. Ohio State and Michigan beat Penn State. Every staff TCU has defeated has at the very least three losses. That’s partly because of the depth of the convention. But if you wish to show you possibly can beat a top-tier staff, TCU hasn’t performed that and will not have an opportunity to. (Michigan and Ohio State will attempt to show it towards one another.) That finally could possibly be what keeps TCU out if it would not win the following two video games.

But what you possibly can’t say is that TCU hasn’t performed anybody. You cannot say it hasn’t deserved these victories. After a weekend during which Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan all struggled towards far inferior opponents, possibly pulling out a late November comeback at Baylor proved the Horned Frogs do belong.

Here is that this week’s version of The Athletic 131.

1-10

Rank Team Record Prev

1

11-0

1

2

11-0

2

3

11-0

3

4

11-0

4

5

10-1

7

6

9-2

6

7

10-1

9

8

9-2

5

9

9-2

8

10

9-2

11

There is not any change within the high 4, and the second of fact is right here. After Michigan escaped Illinois, I assumed I might lastly put Ohio State forward. Then the Buckeyes needed to escape towards Maryland. Every argument you may make about these two teams has its factors. Ohio State has a greater second win (Notre Dame), whereas Michigan did not play anybody in nonconference. Michigan flattened Penn State, whereas Ohio State wanted a fourth-quarter comeback. Ohio State’s struggles in sure situations make me suppose this could possibly be a replay of final yr, when Michigan’s toughness within the trenches received out. But now Wolverines operating again Blake Corum could also be harm, and quarterback JJ McCarthy has not been excellent. I’m unsure if Michigan can win a giant sport along with his arm.

I nonetheless lean in the direction of Michigan barely, however now it will lastly be settled on the sphere and we are able to transfer on to arguing if the loser must be within the CFP.


Michigan held onto an undefeated document earlier than the Ohio State sport. (Rick Osentoski / USA Today)

USC lastly acquired a marquee win, beating UCLA 48-45, which strikes the Trojans forward of LSU. The Tigers do have wins towards Alabama and Ole Miss and the schedule is harder. But USC would not have a lopsided loss, and the Oregon State win on the highway is efficacious. Either manner, each of those teams nonetheless management their future for the CFP, I imagine.

Clemson jumps as much as No. 7 resulting from Tennessee’s lopsided loss to South Carolina. The loss to Notre Dame nonetheless holds Clemson down, however the Florida State win has gotten higher with time.

Tennessee’s 63-38 loss to South Carolina makes the Vols a really tough staff to put. They’re out of the CFP race, however wins towards LSU and Alabama hold them from dropping additional. The solely different change is Washington shifting into the highest 10 after Utah’s loss to Oregon.

11-25

Penn State is an odd staff to evaluate as properly. The 9-2 Nittany Lions have seven blowout wins, however they’re towards comparatively weak competitors. None of the wins stand out. They acquired manhandled at Michigan however performed Ohio State powerful. Oregon stays forward of Penn State as a result of it has two marquee wins towards Utah and UCLA. Notre Dame continues to inch up and up, and Clemson’s transfer again up makes that (*131*) win even higher. The (*131*) additionally moved forward of Florida State due to the Clemson outcomes between them.

The Group of 5’s New Year’s Six spot continues to be prone to go to the American Athletic Conference champ, however it’s about time Coastal Carolina, UTSA and Troy are acknowledged for the seasons they’re having as properly.

26-50

Illinois stays put after the slender loss at Michigan due to the hassle and due to different outcomes across the nation. UCF drops out of the highest 25 after a loss to Navy however stays forward of Cincinnati due to the head-to-head. That might change when Cincinnati and Tulane meet this week. Iowa is again, controlling its future within the Big Ten West after beating Minnesota. Kirk Ferentz keeps doing simply sufficient.

South Carolina is one other powerful staff to put. The blowout win towards Tennessee is among the most spectacular of the season, however the Gamecocks additionally acquired trounced by Florida final week and misplaced to Arkansas earlier within the season. The Razorbacks keep behind Liberty due to the head-to-head loss.

Oklahoma strikes forward of Oklahoma State after Saturday’s 28-13 Bedlam win. Boise State’s win at Wyoming clinched the Mountain West’s Mountain division and residential discipline within the league championship sport. The Broncos are 6-1 since a 2-2 begin, after they fired their offensive coordinator and QB Hank Bachmeier entered the switch portal. They’ve figured issues out, however losses to UTEP and BYU nonetheless hold them behind different Group of 5 teams.

51-75

Wisconsin sneaked into bowl eligibility for the twenty first consecutive season with a 15-14 comeback win towards Nebraska. It hasn’t been fairly, however it appears to be like like Jim Leonhard will in all probability get the full-time job. Houston demolished East Carolina 42-3 and continues to be probably the most inconsistent teams within the nation. James Madison is 7-3 in its first FBS season, however it isn’t eligible for the postseason as a transitioning FCS staff. However, the Dukes can nonetheless win a share of the Sun Belt East in the event that they beat Coastal Carolina this week.

Iowa State misplaced 14-10 to Texas Tech and can miss a bowl sport. The Cyclones are 3-11 in one-possession video games over the previous two seasons. SMU has allowed 145 factors over the previous three video games, together with 59 in Thursday’s loss to Tulane. Wyoming’s slender loss to Boise State would not drop the Cowboys far. Appalachian State and Georgia Southern will play for bowl eligibility of their rivalry sport subsequent week, as App State isn’t but eligible as a result of it has two FCS wins. Texas A&M acquired previous UMass in one other uninspiring efficiency. How about Vanderbilt? The Commodores have defeated Kentucky and Florida in consecutive weeks.

Fresno State circled its season in a giant manner and clinched the Mountain West’s West division with a 41-14 win towards Nevada, its sixth consecutive win. San Diego State has received 5 of six (the loss coming to Fresno State) and quarterback Jalen Mayden has provided that offense a lift for the primary time in a very long time.

76-100

Miami had 9 yards at halftime towards Clemson and misplaced 40-10. The Canes should beat Pitt to get to a bowl sport. Georgia Tech beat North Carolina 21-17, and Brent Key is 4-3 as interim head coach with two Top 25 wins. Ohio’s bounce-back continued with a 32-18 win towards Ball State, and the Bobcats are one win away from profitable the MAC East, however the standing of injured quarterback Kurtis Rourke is essential.

Cal beat rival Stanford 27-20. UConn misplaced to Army 34-17 and should wait and hope for a bowl choice. FAU misplaced 49-21 to Middle Tennessee with bowl eligibility on the road and should beat WKU subsequent week. Rice (at North Texas) and UTEP (at UTSA) additionally want upsets subsequent week to get to bowl video games and maybe save their coaches’ jobs. Indiana beat Michigan State 39-31 in double extra time regardless of being closely outgained and finishing simply two passes. Virginia Tech ended its lengthy dropping streak with a 23-22 win at Liberty. UNLV began the season 4-1 however has misplaced six consecutive video games after a 31-25 loss at Hawaii, ending its bowl hopes.

101-131

Bowling Green acquired bowl-eligible with a last-second landing at Toledo within the snow in a wild end. The Falcons are nonetheless within the combine for the MAC East title if they will beat Ohio. Buffalo’s sport towards Akron was snowed out and will affect that MAC East tiebreaker. Navy beat UCF and Army beat UConn, and each did so with out finishing a move. Neither academy can have a bowl sport or the Commander-In-Chief’s trophy to compete for (as a result of Army has two FCS wins and Air Force clinched the CIC), however that rivalry sport is at all times particular. The center of the MAC continues to have a variety of parity. UMass fought valiantly towards Texas A&M and lined the unfold in a 20-3 loss, however it’s not sufficient to maneuver out of the underside spot.

(Top photograph: Tom Pennington / Getty Images)

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