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2019 NCAAF Power Rankings – Week 11

November is the month where pretenders are separated from contenders. While the first couple months of the College Football season identify the teams that could make a run to the playoff, November is the month when teams have to put up or shut up. 

Defending National Champion, Clemson finds itself left out of the Top 4 of the initial College Football Playoff rankings, but they shouldn’t worry too much as things have a way of working themselves out. This week, 2 marquee matchups among undefeated teams will help clear the muddied waters as LSU travels to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama and Minnesota hosts Penn State. 

The Top 4 spots in the Playoff will be debated ad nauseum for the next couple weeks, and many high-profile matchups remain in what should be a wild November. By the end of the month, the Playoff picture will crystalize into what could be the most exciting Playoff yet. Let’s see where the Top 25 teams in the nation check in for this week’s power rankings.

1. LSU Tigers 

Record: 8-0

AP Rank: 1

Standings: 1-SEC West

The Tigers have lost 8 straight to the Crimson Tide and are a 6.5-point underdog this week; however, they haven’t had a passing attack like this in years. Joe Burrow is a legitimate Heisman candidate who is completing an amazing 78.8% of his passes to go with 30 touchdowns. A win on Saturday would solidify LSU’s grasp on the #1 ranking, and barring a slip up, the Tigers would be primed for their first College Football Playoff appearance.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

Record: 8-0

AP Rank: 2

Standings: 1-SEC West

The Tide will be at full strength this week as QB Tua Tagovailoa is expected to return after missing their last game with a high ankle sprain. While the matchup with LSU is the marquee matchup of the week, a loss here for the Tide won’t do much to derail their Playoff ambitions. Sure, a loss hurts, but if Bama wins out and finish the season with their only loss to LSU, they could easily slip in the back door of the Playoff.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes 

Record: -0

AP Rank: 3

Standings: 1-Big 10 East

The Buckeyes have blown out everyone on their schedule to this point. That trend should continue this week against Maryland and next week against Rutgers; however, OSU finishes the season with two tough opponents in Penn State and Michigan. QB Justin Fields has been electric, and DE Chase Young is getting Heisman buzz for wreaking havoc on the defensive side of the ball. The Bucks appear to be the most complete team in college football. 

4. Penn State Nittany Lions 

Record: 8-0

AP Rank: 5

Standings: 1-Big 10 East

If the Nittany Lions can get past Minnesota this week and Indiana next, the table would be set for a massive matchup at Ohio State. Penn State has rolled over most of their opponents so far this season, and they are currently a 6.5 point favorite this week at Minnesota. The Nittany Lions must take it one week at a time, but they control their own destiny on their path to the Playoff.

5. Clemson Tigers 

Record: 9-0

AP Rank: 4

Standings: 1-ACC Atlantic

The unbeaten Tigers don’t play anyone, and that isn’t entirely their fault. To put it lightly, the ACC is garbage with Wake Forest being the only other ranked team in the league. After narrowly defeating North Carolina at the end of September, the Tigers have decimated their last 4 opponents. Look for them to finish undefeated for a second consecutive regular season.

6. Georgia Bulldogs 

Record: 7-1

AP Rank: 6

Standings: 1-Big 10 East

The Bulldogs are the highest rated 1 loss team in the CFP rankings, but have no margin for error the rest of the way. Luckily, they have a high-profile matchup with Auburn left on the schedule and a potential SEC Championship matchup against either Alabama or LSU. Should the Dawgs win out, they are all but assured a spot in the Playoff.

7. Oregon Ducks 

Record: 8-1

AP Rank: 7

Standings: 1-Pac 12 North

QB Justin Herbert has been great, but the story this year for the Ducks has been their much-improved defense. Oregon appears to be the class of the Pac 12 North and has 3 very winnable games left where they should be favored by double digits. A potential Pac 12 Championship against Utah will tell the tale if the Ducks are to make it back to the Playoff. 

8. Utah Utes

Record: 8-1

AP Rank: 8

Standings: 1-Pac 12 South

Utah escaped Seattle with a huge win against Washington last week. They are all alone atop the Pac 12 South and this week they get a much deserved off week. The Utes finish their season with 3 consecutive games against divisional opponents, but a path to a New Year’s 6 Bowl or even the Playoff remains in sight.

9. Oklahoma Sooners

Record: 7-1

AP Rank: 9

Standings: 1-Big 12

The Sooners were off last week after losing their first game of the season at Kansas State. The system at Oklahoma seems very much plug and play as Jalen Hurts has come in and taken over right where Kyler Murray left off. Iowa State comes to Norman this week before the Sooners travel to Waco for a matchup with undefeated Baylor. 

10. Baylor Bears

Record: 8-0

AP Rank: 11

Standings: 1-Big 12

Matt Rhule isn’t getting the credit he deserves for taking over a Baylor program that was literally left at rock bottom by Art Briles. The Bears 8-0 on the season, but this week they have a difficult matchup at TCU. If Baylor can survive this tough road test, the table will be set for a massive showdown with Oklahoma coming to Waco next week.

11. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Record: 8-0

AP Rank: 13

Standings: 1-Big 10 West

We will find out this week if the Gophers are for real when Penn State rolls into the Twin Cities. PJ Fleck, now in his third season, has quietly built a winner since arriving at Minnesota, but this week is the beginning of a very difficult November. Even with a win this week, the Gophers still have 2 ranked teams left on the schedule in Iowa and Wisconsin.

12. Florida Gators 

Record: 7-2

AP Rank: 10

Standings: 2-SEC East

The Gators couldn’t get it done against Georgia last week, but the remainder of their schedule is easily navigable. Games against two inferior SEC East teams and a matchup with a rudderless Florida State squad that just fired their head coach, should put Florida in the mix for a marquee bowl game.  

13. Auburn Tigers 

Record: 7-2

AP Rank: 12

Standings: 3-SEC West

With games remaining against Georgia and Alabama, the Tigers will get a chance to play spoiler for the rest of the season. If Auburn can win one of those games, the pressure on Head Coach Gus Malzahn will decrease slightly, but lose both, and even with a massive buyout, Malzahn could be done at Auburn.

14. Michigan Wolverines

Record: 7-2

AP Rank: 14

Standings: 3-Big 10 East

The Wolverines have been inconsistent at times this year. This has been mostly due to the uneven QB play of Shea Patterson, but the offense has been impressive the last two weeks in big wins over Notre Dame and Maryland. Michigan is off this week before closing out the season with 3 conference games highlighted by their season ending matchup with Ohio State.

15. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Record: 6-2

AP Rank: 15

Standings: Independent

The Irish looked great in a loss at Georgia but couldn’t get out of their own way in an embarrassing loss at Michigan. Their playoff hopes appear to be dashed, and with rumors swirling about Brian Kelly’s job security, Notre Dame needs a big effort this week at Duke.

16. Cincinnati Bearcats

Record: 7-1

AP Rank: 17

Standings: 1-AAC East

Currently the highest ranked group of 5 team. A matchup with Memphis in 3 weeks will tell the story of their season. A win against the Tigers and a 1 loss season would catapult the Bearcats into their first NY 6 Bowl in the program’s history.

17. Memphis Tigers

Record: 8-1

AP Rank: 19

Standings: 1-AAC West

Fresh off a win over undefeated SMU in a week that saw College Gameday come to town, the Tigers get a much-deserved bye week. To finish the season, they have difficult road tests at Houston and USF before finishing with a home game against Cincinnati. Their season is far from over, but if Memphis can run the table, the Tigers will find themselves in a New Year’s 6 Bowl for the first time.

18. Wisconsin Badgers

Record: 6-2

AP Rank: 16

Standings: 2-Big 10 West 

Wisconsin came out of the gates swinging in 2019, and people were talking about this finally being their year to break through to the Playoff. Then came back to back losses to Illinois and Ohio State, and the Badgers are suddenly a team searching for answers. They look to get back on track this week when Iowa visits Madison.

19. Kansas State Wildcats 

Record: 6-2

AP Rank: 20

Standings: 3-Big 12

The Wildcats are two weeks removed from upsetting Oklahoma, and they managed to avoid a letdown last week when they disposed of Kansas 38-10. Life in the Big 12 isn’t easy, but Chris Klieman is doing a wonderful job in his first year as the head man in the Little Apple. This week will be a tough test for the Wildcats as they are a 7-point underdog at Texas.

20. Iowa Hawkeyes

Record: 6-2

AP Rank: 18

Standings: 2-Big 10 West

It’s put up or shut up time for the Hawkeyes who already have 2 losses on the year. They play at Wisconsin this week and host Minnesota next week. Iowa is an 8.5-point underdog at Wisconsin, but given the Badgers recent struggles, this should be a close game all the way to the final whistle.

21. Boise State Broncos

Record: 7-1

AP Rank: 21

Standings: 1-MW Mountain

In College Football there aren’t many guarantees, but every year it seems like you can set your watch to the Broncos winning the Mountain West. This year is no different as Boise controls their own destiny with 4 games left on the schedule. Wyoming, who has surprised a lot of people this year, is next on the schedule; however, they don’t appear to have the firepower necessary get the upset on the Smurf Turf.

22. SMU Mustangs

Record: 8-1

AP Rank: 23

Standings: 2-AAC West

Although they aren’t still undefeated, the Mustangs still have plenty to play for. Over the last couple weeks, they will have a say in how the AAC shakes out starting with a visit from East Carolina. If SMU can win out and get some help in the form of a Memphis loss, they could find their way playing in the AAC Championship game. 

23. Navy Midshipman

Record: 7-1

AP Rank: 25

Standings: 2-AAC West

Navy lost at Memphis so they will need a little help from the Tigers if they want to win the division. The Midshipmen have a bye this week before traveling to Notre Dame on November 16th. Navy closes the season with must win conference games against SMU and Houston to keep their AAC Championship hopes alive. 

24. San Diego State Aztecs

Record: 7-1

AP Rank: 24

Standings: 1-MW West

Their lone loss came at home against Utah State, but since that setback, the Aztecs have reeled off 4 straight wins. SDSU finishes the season with 3 of their final 4 games at home beginning with a visit from Nevada this week. They are favored by 17.5 this week so it should be an easy stroll in the park for the Aztecs.

25. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Record: 7-1

AP Rank: 22

Standings: 2-ACC Atlantic

Wake Forest is the only ACC team besides Clemson that finds itself anywhere near the Top 25. As a whole, the ACC is not a good conference this year. Wake travels to Virginia Tech this week, and if they can get a win on the road, next week’s game at Clemson will be a major opportunity to prove they deserve some respect.