College Football Rankings 2016: Latest Polls, Predictions for Week 13 Standings

College Football Rankings 2016: Latest Polls, Predictions for Week 13 Standings

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The top of the Week 13 Associated Press and Amway Coaches polls experienced a bit of a shake-up as a College Football Playoff contender went down last weekend in blowout fashion.

Louisville squandered its best remaining matchup on Thursday night, losing 36-10 at Houston to end its national title hopes. As a result, the list of teams with a legitimate chance to make the playoff is now smaller. One conference also benefited greatly, as it could possibly sneak two teams into the field.

Let us take a look at the two major polls, as well as predictions based off of the new rankings. The full national standings can be found at


Can The Big Ten Land Two Teams in the CFB?

No conference gained more Thursday when Louisville lost than the Big Ten, and the Week 13 polls certainly reflect that.

Four Big Ten teams are ranked within the top eight of each poll, with Wisconsin coming in at No. 5 in the AP rankings ahead of Washington. This marks one of the best rankings results in league history, per Ralph Russo of the Associated Press:

With the way the schedule sets up, the Big Ten could become the first conference to place two teams into the playoff.

Michigan controls its own destiny, as it can win the Big Ten East with a win over Ohio State this week. If the Wolverines were to prevail in Columbus, then this would likely ensure that a one-loss Washington would earn a playoff spot. However, a Buckeyes win could create quite a bit of chaos.

Penn State, assuming it beats Michigan State, would win the East, which would likely set up a Big Ten title game with Wisconsin. Could this game decide the final playoff spot?

The polls indicate that Penn State and Wisconsin would likely be within the top six when the Big Ten title game kicks off, as Michigan would drop after losing to Ohio State. The final spot could then be between a Big Ten team or Washington.

Washington still has games against Washington State and the Pac-12 South champion. If it were to go down, the Big Ten would be in great shape, but the focus then shifts to who would get in.

Michigan beat both Penn State and Wisconsin, but could the Wolverines and Ohio State both get in without winning the conference? 

Given that the committee has favored conference champions in the past two seasons, Michigan would probably be the first team to go with its two losses. This means that either Penn State or Wisconsin would make it into the playoff. Fair or not, this would also put the first two-loss team in the playoff.


Oklahoma Climbing the Polls

Oklahoma entered this season with monster expectations, but the Sooners fell off after losing convincingly to Houston and Ohio State. Yet, the team is making some noise in the waning weeks of the regular season.

The Sooners are undefeated through eight Big 12 games, as they are averaging 49 points per game while rolling through their schedule. Oklahoma owns the Big 12 of late, with the team on a historic pace, per ESPN Stats and Info:

Fresh off of a 56-28 thrashing of a West Virginia team that was ranked within the top 10 of both polls, Oklahoma has a chance to earn another signature win in its Week 13 rivalry game against Oklahoma State, which is now No. 10 in both polls.

For weeks now, it seemed the Big 12 had no chance to land in the playoff, but recent events suggest that may not be entirely true. Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield believes his team should be in the mix, according to’s Jake Trotter:

If the results break out a certain way, Oklahoma could have a case.

In terms of the eye test, the Sooners are playing as well as any team in America at the moment, as they are dominating the Big 12. With a win this weekend, Oklahoma would have two straight wins over top teams.

The scenario Oklahoma would need to push for a playoff spot would be similar to the one mapped out above. If Washington were to stumble and Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin were to all have two losses, the Sooners would be one of the finalists for the last spot in the playoff.

The question would then come back to whether a two-loss Big Ten team is the most deserving school to play for a national title.

The polls indicate that Wisconsin is seen as the better team over Oklahoma, with Penn State sitting just behind the Sooners at No. 8. This makes it a safe bet that if the Badgers were to win the Big Ten, they would be in over Oklahoma.

The same would hold true for Penn State. Since the Big 12 has no conference title game, the Nittany Lions would have an extra chance to impress the committee. This game would also likely come against Wisconsin.

Thus, wins from Penn State or Wisconsin should put either team ahead of Oklahoma. The same is true if Michigan beats Ohio State in Week 13. The Sooners are playing quality football at the moment, but their early-season losses will likely doom their playoff hopes.


Statistics are courtesy of unless otherwise noted.