College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 12 predictions

LSU could leapfrog Ohio State as the No. 1 ranked team in the College Football Playoff rankings this week, after defeating Alabama 46-41 on Saturday in the remake of the "Game of the Century".

The Tigers and the Crimson Tide debuted at No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in the first CFP rankings of the season behind Ohio State, but Saturday's matchup in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has radically altered the picture.

Joe Burrow threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns, as LSU became the first team since September 2015 to defeat Alabama on the road and the first program to win in Tuscaloosa twice since Nick Saban took charge of the Crimson Tide in 2007.

The Tigers now top both the Associated Press Top 25 poll and USA Today coaches' poll and could make it a clean sweep when the second weekly CFP rankings are announced on November 12.

Joe Burrow, LSU Tigers
Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers celebrates after a fourth quarter rushing touchdown by Clyde Edwards-Helaire #22 against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Kevin C. Cox/Getty

When are College Football Playoff rankings announced?

The second College Football Playoff rankings of the season will be released on Tuesday, November 12.

Weekly updates will follow until December 3, culminating in the College Football Playoff selection show, which is scheduled for December 8.

TV coverage

Every weekly rankings show is broadcast on ESPN. This Tuesday's show airs at 9 p.m. on ET.

Live stream

A live stream of the weekly rankings will be available via ESPN's website and via the ESPN App.

Will LSU claim top spot?

Almost surely. The Tigers are 9-0 this season, top both the AP and USA Today coaches' poll and have just defeated Alabama on the road to take control of the SEC West and almost certainly guarantee themselves a spot in the SEC Championship Game.

The 46-41 in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, however, had implications stretching far beyond the conference boundaries. With the exception of Nick Saban's first season in Alabama in 2007, the Crimson Tide had lost just four games at home in the last 11 years and nobody had come within three touchdowns since LSU lost by 14 points two years ago.

On Saturday, LSU stuck to its guns, relying yet again on a high-octane offense, which delivered the goods when it mattered most, torching a defense that had conceded just 15.3 points per game this season up until Saturday.

The Tigers have built up a head of steam throughout the season and have now defeated four Top 25-ranked programs. No. 1 in the CFP looms large.

Can Ohio State hang on to the No. 1 spot?

While it's hard to argue against LSU surging to No. 1, Ohio State made a compelling case to be considered the best college football team in the country for a second consecutive week.

Five days after debuting at No. 1 in the first CFP rankings of the season, the Buckeyes tore Maryland to shreds in a 73-14 rout. Like LSU, Ohio State is 9-0 and has outscored opponents by 382 points so far this season and has defeated two ranked programs.

Ohio State has climbed up to second in both the AP and the coaches' poll and it fails to hold onto No. 1 in the CFP rankings it is more because of LSU's brilliance than through any fault of its own.

Ohio State Buckeyes, Ryan Day
Ryan Day, head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, shouts instructions to his team in the third quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium on November 9 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Maryland 73-14. Jamie Sabau/Getty

Where will Clemson and Alabama rank?

The loss to LSU will in all likelihood see Alabama drop down the rankings, potentially even out of the top four. The Crimson Tide fell two spots to No. 4 in the AP Poll and three spots to No. 3 in the coaches' poll and will not hang on to its third spot in the CFP rankings.

Clemson, meanwhile, debuted at No. 5 last week but could force its way back into the top four after moving to 10-0 for the season with a 55-10 rout of North Carolina State on Saturday.

The reigning national champions climbed back into the top three of the AP poll for the first time since Week 7 and are expected to gain ground in the CFP rankings on Tuesday.

What about the rest?

Penn State came in at No. 4 in the CFP rankings last week but has since fallen to No. 9 in the AP poll after losing to 31-26 to Minnesota and is expected to fall out of the top four.

At 8-1, the Nittany Lions are now level with the likes of Georgia, Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma and Utah and forcing their way back into CFP contention is an arduous task.

Georgia has breathed new life into its season with three straight wins and is now in the driver's seat for a spot in the SEC Championship Game, while Oregon climbed up a spot in the AP poll despite being on a bye in Week 11.

Minnesota, meanwhile could be poised for a significant gain as it's one of the only five FBS programs still undefeated.

Top 10 prediction for Week 12

  • LSU
  • Ohio State
  • Clemson
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Oregon
  • Minnesota
  • Oklahoma
  • Penn State
  • Baylor

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

About the writer

Dan Cancian is currently a reporter for Newsweek based in London, England. Prior to joining Newsweek in January 2018, he was a news and business reporter at International Business Times UK. Dan has also written for The Guardian and The Observer. 

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