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College Football Rankings Week 11: Oklahoma spirals after first loss

As we exit Week 11 of the 2021 college football season, our Top 25 rankings once again come into focus. What's the latest this week?

As Week 11 fades in the rearview mirror, let’s revisit our Top 25 College Football Rankings. This week, a big loss at the top reshaped the playoff conversation and gave a boost to many teams who needed it.

Week 11 College Football Rankings | 1-5

Who leads our Top 25 College Football Rankings following an exciting Week 11 of the 2021 college football season? A familiar name sits atop the throne.

1) Georgia Bulldogs (–)

The Georgia Bulldogs saw Hendon Hooker’s gaudy stat line ahead of Saturday — and scoffed at it. Even losing several defenders to injury, the Bulldogs trounced the Volunteers 41-17. Hooker never looked comfortable, and the team’s suffocating defense was a big reason why.

2) Alabama Crimson Tide (+1)

Oklahoma’s loss no doubt removes them from the playoff conversation, but it’s also increased the available space for other contenders like Alabama. The Crimson Tide now occupies the No. 2 spot in our Week 11 Top 25 College Football Rankings after demolishing an ill-fated New Mexico State team.

3) Ohio State Buckeyes (+1)

Ohio State may have one more non-conference loss than Michigan State and Michigan, but there’s no reason for anyone other than Ohio State to be the Big Ten East favorite. The reason why is simple — their passing offense.

C.J. Stroud is a man possessed. Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba compose the best WR room in the nation. Until someone can stop this offense, the Buckeyes are Big Ten favorites.

4) Cincinnati Bearcats (+1)

The biggest winner amidst Oklahoma’s loss might be Cincinnati. Some will still have the Bearcats outside the playoff four, but the Sooners’ prospective elimination reduced the field by one more team. As long as the Bearcats keep winning — like they did against South Florida — they’ll give themselves a chance to go dancing.

5) Oregon Ducks (+1)

Ohio State might not be as easily beatable in their current form, but Oregon can be boastful with their previous win against the Buckeyes. That win will be big in securing the Ducks’ playoff standing. Beating Washington State in Week 11 brought them another step up in our Top 25 College Football Rankings. But the work isn’t done yet for Mario Cristobal.

Week 11 College Football Rankings | 6-15

Which teams take up the 6-15 range in the Week 11 Top 25 College Football Rankings?

6) Michigan State Spartans (+1)

If you asked me who has a better chance to beat Ohio State between Michigan or Michigan State, I would say Michigan. The Spartans’ secondary has talent but continually plays inconsistent each week. That unit would be a sieve against Ohio State’s offense.

But there is hope, and it rests in the Spartans’ scoring unit. Kenneth Walker III, a top Heisman candidate, makes running backs matter again. He’ll be key in any continued success.

7) Michigan Wolverines (+1)

Michigan’s offense isn’t anything to write home about. Nevertheless, the Wolverines may have the kryptonite for Ohio State’s attack on the defensive side of the ball. Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo constitute a ferocious pass-rushing tandem — one that could get the best of Nicholas Petit-Frere and Dawand Jones. If Michigan can make Stroud uncomfortable, they might be able to keep the score low and close.

8) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+2)

The Fighting Irish benefited from Brennan Armstrong’s absence this past week. But nevertheless, they put up an impressive showing against Virginia, winning 28-3.

Even without Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame’s defense is potent, which showed in the dominant outing. Notre Dame might not have playoff hopes, but they’re in good position for a New Year’s bowl.

9) Oklahoma Sooners (-7)

Have you ever gone on a walk and seen those trees that are literally leaning over the path, begging to fall down? That was Oklahoma before this week. Sure, they were undefeated. And sure, they were playoff contenders. But all it took was one last strong wind gust to send them toppling. Baylor made it happen in Week 11, and now, Oklahoma is comfortably outside the top four in our Top 25 College Football Rankings.

10) Ole Miss Rebels (+1)

Some of the infighting that’s been going on in the SEC over the past few weeks would make the Pac-12 proud. Behind Georgia and Alabama, teams are cannibalizing each other week in and week out.

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Ole Miss joined in on the action in Week 11, sealing the deal over Texas A&M 29-19. That win moves them into the Top 10 again, and they could stay in this range to season’s end.

11) Oklahoma State Cowboys (+1)

Okay Oklahoma State, I see you! The Cowboys are clicking, now with a 63-17 win over the TCU Horned Frogs. TCU has been problematic for some opponents — notably Baylor — but Oklahoma State was having no nonsense in Week 11. The defense was expectedly strong, but the offense also turned in another productive outing on the ground.

12) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+1)

The loss to North Carolina was tough, but Wake Forest won the game they absolutely needed to win against NC State. NC State was Wake’s top Atlantic Division challenger. But the Demon Deacons snuck by and kept the inside track to the ACC Championship Game. Sam Hartman made mistakes, but he rebounded from them and ultimately got his team the win.

13) Pittsburgh Panthers (+1)

Pittsburgh staved off a hungry UNC team in a tense Thursday night showdown. That, along with Texas A&M’s loss, helps Pitt rise a spot in our Week 11 Top 25 College Football Rankings. Kenny Pickett remains a top Heisman contender, and if his Panthers can keep winning, they’ll have a date with Wake Forest in the ACC Championship.

14) Baylor Bears (+7)

The Bears did it! Not only did they unseat the undefeated Oklahoma Sooners, but they did so by multiple possessions. Baylor’s defense is legitimately stacked with next-level talent, and that proved to be the difference against an Oklahoma team that had a lot go wrong on offense — most notably a tweak of Caleb Williams’ throwing hand. Baylor has new life after this one.

15) Texas A&M Aggies (-6)

Texas A&M had been rolling since their victory over Alabama, but Week 11 brought the Aggies back down to Earth. Zach Calzada tossed 2 picks, and Isaiah Spiller averaged 2.1 yards per carry in a forgettable offensive outing. Devon Achane was a bright spot, but the Aggies are one loss poorer, regardless.

Week 11 College Football Rankings | 16-25

Here’s who rounds out our Top 25 College Football Rankings coming into Week 11. The Big Ten has some big movers in this group.

16) Houston Cougars (-1)

Perhaps one of the most unsurprising results from Week 11 action, the Houston Cougars beat Temple 37-8. However, they still move down a spot in our Week 11 Top 25 College Football Rankings, courtesy of Baylor’s rise. But make no mistake — Houston deserves a lot of respect for what they’ve done to this point.

17) UTSA Roadrunners (-1)

Like Houston, UTSA falls a spot in our Week 11 Top 25 College Football Rankings to account for Baylor’s move up. The Roadrunners cut it close against a 1-9 Southern Miss team. Heading into the fourth quarter, they were tied 17-17. But UTSA managed to close it out, protecting their undefeated record. They’re 10-0, with UAB and North Texas left to go.

18) Wisconsin Badgers (+5)

We shouldn’t overreact to Wisconsin drubbing a lowly Big Ten West opponent, but the Badgers’ 35-7 win over Northwestern was impressive for several reasons. The defense was expectedly dominant, but Graham Mertz also appeared to have perhaps his best game of the season. If that continues, Wisconsin could stay in our Top 25 College Football Rankings past Week 11.

19) Iowa Hawkeyes (–)

Iowa barely got the win against an ailing Minnesota team. That win maintains their standing for now. However, Wisconsin leapfrogs them in our Week 11 Top 25 College Football Rankings, largely because of Wisconsin’s head-to-head win against the Hawkeyes. With Illinois and Nebraska on deck, however, Iowa could move up again.

20) NC State Wolfpack (-2)

The Wolfpack fought admirably behind the arm of Devin Leary. Alas, NC State fell to the Demon Deacons by a score of 45-42. It’s not the end of the world for an already bowl-eligible NC State squad, but it does essentially extinguish their hopes of winning the Atlantic Division.

21) BYU Cougars (+1)

Thanks to Auburn, the BYU Cougars spent their bye week moving up a spot in our Week 11 Top 25 College Football Rankings. Jaren Hall and Tyler Allgeier will be back in action next week against Georgia Southern.

22) Purdue Boilermakers (-5)

Purdue could exploit Michigan State and Iowa because both teams had glaring weaknesses. For Iowa, it was their offense. For Michigan State, it was their defense. Ohio State, however, is harder to exploit — because you can’t make mistakes if you want to keep up with them.

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The Boilermakers learned that the hard way on Saturday. They don’t deserve to fall out of our rankings, but at 6-4, they can’t afford to lose again.

23) Utah Utes (+1)

Utah was without several starters, and they still managed to beat Arizona by more than a possession. This was a routine week and a routine win for the Utes. At 7-3, they remain perhaps the best Pac-12 football team aside from Oregon. They’ll get their shot to upend the Ducks next week.

24) Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (+1)

Louisiana handled a trepidatious Troy squad with relative ease this week, winning 35-21. Additionally, their close loss to Georgia State looks a little bit better, now that Georgia State beat a Grayson McCall-less Coastal Carolina team.

25) Mississippi State Bulldogs (N/A)

After beating the 20th-ranked Auburn Tigers, the Mississippi State Bulldogs essentially take Auburn’s place in our Week 11 Top 25 College Football Rankings. Mike Leach’s offense is starting to find its wings. Will Rogers threw for at least 380 yards and 4 touchdowns for the third time in four weeks.

Moving Out

  • Auburn Tigers

Closing In

  • Kentucky Wildcats
  • Appalachian State Mountaineers
  • San Diego State Aztecs
  • Utah State Aggies
  • Clemson Tigers
  • SMU Mustangs

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.

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