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College Football Rankings Week 11: Georgia reclaims No. 1, Clemson and Alabama fall after Week 10 chaos

Matt Johnson
College Football Rankings, Georgia Bulldogs
Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

The first College Football Playoff rankings set the stage for a dramatic Week 10, with an array of top-25 matchups as some of the best teams in the nation faced off. As Saturday’s action draws to a close, it’s time to dive into the latest college football rankings.

It all started with some of the best teams in college football getting far too close to upset losses. The No. 7 TCU Horned Frogs needed a 21-point fourth quarter to take out unranked Texas Tech. Elsewhere, Michigan State stunned Illinois and the Ohio State Buckeyes fought for a win over Northwestern.

Fittingly, the highly-anticipated Tennessee Volunteers vs Georgia Bulldogs battle turned into an SEC snoozer. Meanwhile, the Texas Longhorns trounced Kansas State and Clemson fell flat on its face vs Notre Dame.

All of this set the stage for a chaotic Saturday night, highlighted by LSU stunning the Alabama Crimson Tide and Notre Dame knocking down its rival Clemson. Needless to say, a lot is changing in the latest top 25 rankings.

Related: Week 11 college football schedule

Let’s dive into our Week 11 college football rankings.

Dropped from Top 25 rankings: Oklahoma State Cowboys (15), Wake Forest Demon Deacons (18), Oregon State Beavers (23)

25. Baylor Bears (Previously: 25)

Syndication: The Oklahoman
NATHAN J FISH/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Baylor Bears record: 6-3
  • Week 11 opponent: vs Kansas State Wildcats

Craig “Sqwirl” Williams needed to put the team on his back in Week 10, but 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns proved to be enough. It gives Dave Aranda’s team a three-game winning streak, a nice recovery from that inexcusable loss to West Virginia. Whether or not this team has recovered completely or its just a minor blip of success will be determined vs Kansas State.

24. Washington Huskies (Previously: Unranked)

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Washington
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Washington Huskies record: 7-2
  • Next Opponent: @ Oregon Ducks

While Michael Penix Jr. isn’t playing at the level we saw early in the season, the Washington Huskies have recovered nicely from losses to UCLA and Arizona State. This marks the second four-game win streak for the Huskies in 2022, highlighted on Friday with a crucial victory over Oregon State. Unfortunately for Washington, this spot in the top 25 rankings is likely temporary.

23. Illinois Fighting Illini (Previously: 17)

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Illinois
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Illinois Fighting Illini record: 7-2
  • Week 11 opponent: vs Purdue Boilermakers

Incredibly, a 23-15 loss to the Michigan State Spartans wasn’t even as close as the scoreboard indicates. After Isaiah Williams’ 60-yard touchdown to open the scoring, Illinois wouldn’t return to the end zone until the fourth quarter when it trailed 23-7. The Fighting Illini were a great story, but it’s evident November will end their run in the rankings.

22. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Previously: Unranked)

NCAA Football: UNLV at Notre Dame
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish record: 6-3
  • Week 11 opponent: vs Navy Midshipmen

It’s been a rollercoaster season for Marcus Freeman and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Losses to Marshall and Stanford are ugly blemishes on Notre Dame’s schedule. On the other hand, Saturday showed that this team is capable of competing with the best of them. After knocking off Syracuse and Clemson, Notre Dame earned its ascent in the Week 11 college football rankings.

21. UCF Knights (Previously: Unranked)

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Memphis
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
  • UCF Knights record: 7-2
  • Next Opponent: @ Tulane Green Wave

After taking down the then-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats to close out October, Central Florida kept the good times rolling by knocking off Memphis on the road. It’s an excellent response following that brutal loss to East Carolina. More importantly, it sets up a fantastic matchup between UCF vs Tulane with a top-15 spot in the college football rankings on the line.

20. Kansas State Wildcats (Previously: 12)

NCAA Football: Texas at Kansas State
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
  • Kansas State Wildcats record: 6-3
  • Next Opponent: @ Baylor Bears

On the verge of achieving its highest placement in the college football rankings since 2014, Chris Klieman’s team came out flat in front of its home crowd. Things looked bleak early then Quinn Ewers tore the Wildcats’ secondary apart in the second quarter. The second-half rally provided some late hope, but there just wasn’t enough time to overcome that 31-10 deficit.

19. NC State Wolfpack (Previously: 22)

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at North Carolina State
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
  • NC State Wolfpack record: 7-2
  • Week 11 opponent: vs Boston College Eagles

It’s a new era for the NC State Wolfpack. After the season-ending injury for star quarterback Devin Leary, we wrote off Dave Doeren’s team. It turns out, freshman MJ Morris has a lot to offer. While he wasn’t sensational on Saturday, Morris clearly outplayed Sam Hartman and his recent play is keeping the Wolfpack’s hopes for a 10-win season alive.

18. Texas Longhorns (Previously: 24)

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman
Mikala Compton/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Texas Longhorns record: 6-3
  • Next Opponent: vs TCU Horned Frogs

Bijan Robinson looked like the best player in college football on Saturday night. Against a six-win Kansas State program, the star running back erupted for over 150 yards before halftime. Texas only needed two quarters, scoring 31 point, to take control in Manhattan. It sets the stage for a fantastic in-state battle vs TCU. But who wins will come down to whether we see the first-half Texas team or the Longhorns that allowed 17 unanswered points in the second half.

Related: Hungry for more College Football news? Tap here for the hottest headlines breaking right now.

17. Tulane Green Wave (Previously: 20)

NCAA Football: Tulane at Tulsa
Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
  • Tulane Green Wave record: 8-1
  • Week 11 opponent: vs UCF Knights

The Green Wave keeps on sweeping through its schedule. Tulane delivered its fourth consecutive double-digit victory on Saturday, making relatively easy work against Tulsa. These are the games you expect the Green Wave to win, with the litmus test coming in Week 11 at home vs UCF.

16. Liberty Flames (Previously: 21)

NCAA Football: Liberty at Arkansas
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
  • Liberty Flames record: 8-1
  • Next Opponent: @ UConn Huskies

Bizarrely kept out of the CFB Playoff rankings on Tuesday, it should be considered robbery if the Liberty Flames. With Hugh Freeze squarely on the radar for the Auburn Tigers, his team showed once more that it is a force to be reckoned with. Beating an SEC team on the road, even if it’s Arkansas, is more than enough to strengthen Liberty’s resume as one of the best teams outside the top 10 college football rankings.

15. North Carolina Tar Heels (Previously: 19)

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Virginia
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
  • North Carolina Tar Heels record: 8-1
  • Next Opponent: @ Wake Forest Demon Deacons

A trip to Virginia provided the North Carolina Tar Heels with quite the scare on Saturday afternoon. Fortunately, after trailing 14-10 at halftime, Drake Maye and Elijah Green led a second-half comeback to propel North Carolina to its first five-game road win streak since 1997. There will need to be a more consistent effort on the road in Week 11 at Wake Forest to make the big jump in the college football rankings.

14. Penn State Nittany Lions (Previously: 16)

NCAA Football: Penn State at Purdue
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
  • Penn State Nittany Lions record: 7-2
  • Week 11 opponent: vs Maryland Terrapins

We can only hope James Franklin will let the Drew Allar era begin before long. Loyalty to a veteran quarterback is great, but Allar’s talent gives Penn State the best chance to compete in big games. It might seem risky to start the freshman quarterback, but the Nittany Lions have nothing to lose with two losses already on the resume.

13. Ole Miss Rebels (Previously; 14)

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Louisiana State
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
  • Ole Miss Rebels record: 8-2
  • Week 11 opponent: vs Alabama Crimson Tide

We’ll start with the good news. The Ole Miss Rebels are off to a much better start than anyone expected coming into the season. We also haven’t seen the Alabama Crimson Tide be nearly as dominant as witnessed in previous seasons. It opens the door for an upset, but Nick Saban likely has far too much talent to drop this Week 11 meeting against his former assistant.

12. Clemson Tigers (Previously: 6)

Syndication: The Greenville News
Ken Ruinard / USA Today Network / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Clemson Tigers record: 8-1
  • Next Opponent: vs Louisville Cardinals

One of the most inconsistent offenses in college football, led by a quarterback who never recaptured his early glory, plummets down the college football rankings. The Clemson Tigers were the inferior team on Saturday night and those wins over Syracuse and NC State don’t look nearly as impressive months later. Kiss the Tigers’ playoff hopes goodbye.

Related: Clemson Tigers schedule

11. Utah Utes (Previously: 11)

NCAA Football: Arizona at Utah
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
  • Utah Utes record: 7-2
  • Next Opponent: vs Stanford Cardinals

Cameron Rising is back and that makes all the difference for the Utah Utes offense. Utah destroyed Arizona in the first half, allowing it to coast the rest of the way. Anticipate the same outcome in Week 11 vs Stanford, assuming the Utes don’t fall into the trap with their eyes on that Oregon matchup on Nov. 19.

Top 25 rankings: Best teams in college football

10. Alabama Crimson Tide (Previously: 5)

NCAA Football: Alabama at Louisiana State
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
  • Alabama Crimson Tide record: 7-2
  • Next Opponent: @ Ole Miss Rebels

It’s time to view the Alabama Crimson Tide in a different light. The greatest dynasty in college football history is gone, this is now a program that isn’t running circles around its closest competition on the recruiting front. If the loss to Tennessee didn’t prove it, Saturday’s defeat at Tiger Stadium will likely start the conversation about Nick Saban’s future and eventual retirement.

9. UCLA Bruins (Previously: 9)

NCAA Football: Stanford at UCLA
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
  • UCLA Bruins record: 8-1
  • Week 11 opponent: vs Arizona Wildcats

UCLA has already surpassed the kindest expectations for it this year, especially when you consider some thought Chip Kelly could be fired. The Pac-12 Conference’s odds of having a playoff team skyrocketed on Saturday and it could all come down to that Nov. 19 matchup vs USC.

8. USC Trojans (Previously: 9)

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
  • USC Trojans record: 8-1
  • Next Opponent: vs Colorado Buffaloes

The USC Trojans needed just about everything to go right to have any shot at a spot in the CFP Semifinal. If the start of November is any indication of what’s to come, all the dominoes might just fall in their favor. There is still plenty of games ahead, but USC is at least breathing a bit heading into Week 11.

7. Oregon Ducks (Previously: 8)

NCAA Football: Oregon at California
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
  • Oregon Ducks record: 8-1
  • Week 11 opponent: vs Washington Huskies

Utter domination by the Oregon Ducks, precisely what you’d expect against Colorado. Bo Nix and Co. are rolling since that season-opening loss to Georgia and we just saw what the Bulldogs did to Tennessee. While the Huskies will provide some competition in Week 11, Oregon’s hostile crowd and this win streak should make the Ducks a heavy favorite.

6. TCU Horned Frogs (Previously: 7)

Syndication: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • TCU Horned Frogs record: 8-0
  • Next Opponent: @ Texas Longhorns

The TCU Horned Frogs will be much higher in the AP Top 25 rankings and likely even the CFB Playoff rankings. However, our evaluation compares the best teams and how they would fare against one another. TCU is a very good team, but it’s a tier below the elites in college football.

5. LSU Tigers (Previously: 13)

NCAA Football: Alabama at Louisiana State
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
  • LSU Tigers record: 7-2
  • Next Opponent: @ Arkansas Razorbacks

A players-only meeting saved the LSU Tigers’ season. Whatever words were spoken during that session sparked an emerging power in college football. Jayden Daniels is scorching hot right now, delivering consecutive wins over top-10 teams. Two losses make a playoff spot improbable, but this is one of the best teams in the nation right now.

College Football Rankings Week 11: CFB Playoff hunt

4. Tennessee Volunteers (Previously: 1)

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Georgia
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
  • Tennessee Volunteers record: 8-1
  • Next Opponent: vs. Missouri Tigers

The Tennessee Volunteers were rattled the moment they step foot into Sanford Stadium. From the offensive line committing false starts on practically every drive to the collapse of Tennessee’s secondary, Saturday’s game was over before the second quarter. The Volunteers might still be one of the five best teams in college football, but the gap between them and Georgia is massive. Yet, incredibly, Tennessee’s playoff odds might have improved tonight.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (Previously: 3)

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Ohio State Buckeyes record: 9-0
  • Week 11 opponent: vs Indiana Hoosiers

While it’s always challenging to face well-coached teams, struggling to beat Northwestern is an alarming red flag for Ohio State. The Buckeyes don’t have a strong resume as it is, raising questions about how they would fare in a CFP Semifinal. For now, Ohio State will happily take the 9-0 record, but it’s a tier below Georgia.

Related: How to Watch the Ohio State Buckeyes football games

2. Michigan Wolverines (Previously: 4)

NCAA Football: Michigan at Rutgers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
  • Michigan Wolverines record: 9-0
  • Next Opponent: vs Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Michigan Wolverines snag the No. 2 spot in the college football rankings today, but there is miles of distance from reaching the top. Michigan trailed Rutgers (4-5) 17-14 at halftime before a 21-point third quarter flipped the game entirely. The good news for Michigan? Ohio State doesn’t look any better right now.

1. Georgia Bulldogs (Previously: 2)

Syndication: Online Athens
Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Georgia Bulldogs record: 9-0
  • Week 11 opponent: @ Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs flipped a switch in Week 10. After allowing things to get way too close against Kent State, Missouri and Florida, Georgia played like a national champion vs Tennessee. Defensively, this looked like the unit from the 2021 season. Meanwhile, Stetson Bennett thrust his name back into the Heisman Trophy race with a phenomenal performance. Georgia is the best team in college football once again, a lock for the CFB Playoff and it would be stunning if they don’t repeat as national champions.

Related: How to Watch the Georgia Bulldogs