2018 College Football Playoff Rankings, Week 12: CFP Top 25, AP Poll, Vegas Ratings

2018 College Football Playoff Rankings, Week 12: CFP Top 25, AP Poll, Vegas Ratings article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Trevor Lawrence and Rashan Gary

  • The 2018 College Football Playoff rankings stayed mostly the same entering Week 12, with the top 10 teams all taking care of business and retaining their spots.
  • This week, six of the top seven teams are a favorite of at least 28 points, so we're not expecting too much drama.
  • Here, we're comparing the College Football Playoff Top 25, AP Poll and our Vegas-style betting power ratings to see how each group values teams differently.

The top 10 spots in the 2018 College Football Playoff rankings remained exactly the same week over week, with the country’s best teams once again asserting their dominance.

This week, six of the top seven teams in the CFP Top 25 are at least a four-touchdown favorite, with No. 3 Notre Dame (-10) vs. No. 12 Syracuse the only exception.

Here, we’re comparing the AP Top 25 Poll, College Football Playoff rankings, our Vegas-style betting power ratings and the Coaches Poll to see how each group judges teams differently. You’ll see the biggest differences in our ratings.

2018 College Football Playoff Rankings, Week 12

Remember, our power ratings are meant to be predictive and don’t care as much about wins and losses as the AP Poll voters or College Football Playoff committee. They’re not focused on what’s happened or résumé, but what will happen moving forward.

Here are the rankings after Week 12. We’ll update as they roll out Sunday and Tuesday.

These were the rankings entering Week 12.

Comparing AP Poll, College Football Playoff Top 25, Vegas Ratings

All rankings are entering Saturday’s games:


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 1
  • AP Poll: 1
  • Vegas Rating: 1

Before Week 12: Coming off another shutout, the Tide will look to make it three straight against the Citadel as a 52-point favorite. But the biggest question looming is quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s knee injury, which has hampered him a bit the last two weeks. Nick Saban insists Tua will play on Saturday.

After Week 12: Saban got his dream result against The Citadel — a 33-point win, but he gets to scream at his players and the media for not taking the game serious because it was tied at halftime.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 2
  • AP Poll: 2
  • Vegas Rating: 2

Before Week 12: Clemson didn’t turn in its most dominant offensive performance against Boston College, but the defense was tremendous, holding the Eagles to just 113 yards. Trevor Lawrence and Co. continue to improve and seem like Alabama’s biggest threat in the College Football Playoff.

After Week 12: Man, this Clemson defense continues to look more impressive every week, which is astounding considering how high the bar was. Duke had 262 total yards in a 35-6 Tigers win.

Notre Dame

  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 3
  • AP Poll: 3
  • Vegas Rating: 6

Before Week 12: Without quarterback Ian Book, the Irish rolled over Florida State, and they should get the signal caller back against Syracuse this week.

After Week 12: Notre Dame looked impressive in a rout of Syracuse, especially on defense. The Orange lost quarterback Eric Dungey to a lower back injury, but the Irish limited their explosive offense to just three points.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 4
  • AP Poll: 4
  • Vegas Rating: 4

Before Week 12The Wolverines rolled Rutgers last week, and have Indiana and Ohio State remaining before a possible Big Ten Championship date against Northwestern.

After Week 12: Michigan always seems to struggle with Indiana, and always struggles the week before playing Ohio State. The Wolverines clawed out a 28-20 win to setup another high-stakes edition of “The Game.”


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 5
  • AP Poll: 5
  • Vegas Rating: 3

Before Week 12: Georgia continues to put up quality efforts and is growing in a lot of ways. We expected that after the Dawgs lost so many veterans from last year’s SEC Championship team. Saturday, UGA walked all over Auburn in a 27-10 win, running for 303 yards against a quality Tigers defense.

After Week 12: Georgia rolled UMass 66-27 and had 701 total yards. The Dawgs did allow UMass quarterback Ross Comis to have an effective day, as he went 23 of 31 for 278 yards and two scores.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 6
  • AP Poll: 6
  • Vegas Rating: 5

Before Week 12The Sooners needed some help to beat Oklahoma State 48-47, and the defense still has so many questions to answer. They won’t come this week against Kansas.

After Week 12: Oklahoma gave up 40 points to Kansas. Kansas! The Sooners can clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game with a win over West Virginia on Friday in Morgantown, but this defense still needs so much work.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 7
  • AP Poll: 10
  • Vegas Rating: 9

Before Week 12: LSU didn’t cover against Arkansas in a 24-17 win — it totally should have — but dominated the game. The Tigers held the Hogs to just 216 total yards and 16 yards rushing.

After Week 12: LSU eased up on Rice in the second half, winning 42-10. The Tigers can finish 10-2 with a win over Texas A&M next week.

Washington State

  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 8
  • AP Poll: 8
  • Vegas Rating: 22

Before Week 12Just when you think Washington State might be at risk of dropping a game, the Cougars respond and take care of business. They crushed Colorado in a tricky spot last week, 31-7, and play Arizona at home this week.

After Week 12: Keep fading Washington State at your own risk, apparently. The Cougars hung 55 first-half points in a 69-28 win over Arizona.

West Virginia

  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 9
  • AP Poll: 7
  • Vegas Rating: 8

Before Week 12WVU took advantage of a downtrodden TCU team, blowing out the Horned Frogs 47-10 last week. The Mountaineers go to Oklahoma State this week, trying to survive a difficult test in Stillwater that Texas already failed.

After Week 12: West Virginia lost a heartbreaker to Oklahoma State to end its College Football Playoff dreams. It can still make the Big 12 Championship Game if it beats Oklahoma on Friday.

Ohio State

  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 10
  • AP Poll: 9
  • Vegas Rating: 7

Before Week 12: Ohio State deserves all the criticism it’s gotten, but the Buckeyes gutted out a 26-6 at Michigan State last week. They’re at Maryland this week.

After Week 12: Ohio State played the game of the day against Maryland on Saturday, winning 52-51 in overtime when Terps quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome missed a wide-open receiver on a 2-point conversion that would have won it. The Buckeyes College Football Playoff hopes are technically alive.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 11
  • AP Poll: 11
  • Vegas Rating: 34

Before Week 12: UCF took care of business against a down Navy team, but it wasn’t easy. The Knights host Cincinnati in a game that should decide the AAC West on Saturday night in primetime.

After Week 12: UCF made a statement against Cincinnati on Saturday, but it won’t do anything to change the narrative on the Knights.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 12
  • AP Poll: 12
  • Vegas Rating: 41

Before Week 11: If you’re a Power 5 team that keeps winning, you’ll keep rising in the AP Poll, no matter what. Syracuse’s best win came at home against N.C. State, and its second-best win is … over a 1-8 North Carolina? A Friday night trashing of Louisville probably won’t do anything to help the Orange in our power ratings, but beating Notre Dame will.

After Week 12: Cuse has had an excellent season, but never had a shot to win its division or make the CFP with two losses. A third to Notre Dame knocks the Orange out of a New Year’s Six bowl spot.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 13
  • AP Poll: 15
  • Vegas Rating: 15

Before Week 12: Florida is in good shape to make a New Year’s Six Bowl as an at-large bid, but needs to take care of business against Idaho and Florida State in the final two weeks.

After Week 12: The Gators rolled Idaho and can end Florida State’s 36-year bowl streak with a win on Saturday.

Penn State

  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 14
  • AP Poll: 16
  • Vegas Rating: 14

Before Week 12: The Nittany Lions are on the outside looking in for a New Year’s Six spot, and I’m not sure if wins over Rutgers and Maryland in their past two games will be enough to jump into that tier. They’ll need some help in the form of a loss by Florida or West Virginia.

After Week 12: Penn State is not making a compelling case for a final at-large spot in a New Year’s Six bowl. The Nittany Lions beat Rutgers 20-7, and the offense continues to look dysfunctional.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 15
  • AP Poll: 13
  • Vegas Rating: 21

Before Week 12: The Longhorns can still reach the Big 12 Championship Game with a win over Iowa State on Saturday and some help. They close the season with Kansas.

After Week 12: In the most-bet game of the day, when a lot of folks were on the Cyclones, Texas’ defense played inspired in a 24-10 win.

Iowa State

  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 16
  • AP Poll: 18
  • Vegas Rating: 18

Before Week 12: Iowa State continues to impress, and has looked like a different team with Brock Purdy under center. Like Texas, the Cyclones can still reach the Big 12 Championship Game.

After Week 12: Iowa State’s conference title game hopes came crashing down on Saturday in a loss to Texas.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 17
  • AP Poll: 20
  • Vegas Rating: 44

Before Week 12I didn’t think Kentucky would still be in the College Football Playoff rankings after getting embarrassed by Tennessee in Knoxville, but here it is. The Cats gained 262 total yards in a 24-7 loss. This week, UK hosts Middle Tennessee State.

After Week 12: The Cats beat Middle Tennessee State in a game I’m not sure a single person watched.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 18
  • AP Poll: 17
  • Vegas Rating: 10

Before Week 12: The Huskies have crept back up into the College Football Playoff rankings and can still win the Pac-12 North by beating Washington State next weekend.

After Week 12: Washington rolled Oregon State in another game I’m not sure a single person watched. The Huskies can win the Pac-12 North with a win over Washington State on Friday.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 19
  • AP Poll: 21
  • Vegas Rating: 11

Before Week 12: Without their top quarterback and running back, the Utes survived at home against Oregon last week. With a win at Colorado this week, Utah will clinch a share of the Pac-12 South title. It would still need Arizona State to lose again to clinch a trip to Santa Clara for the league championship game.

After Week 12: Utah beat Colorado to clinch the Pac-12 South. The Utes will play the Washington-Washington State winner.

Boston College

  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 20
  • AP Poll: 22
  • Vegas Rating: 31

Before Week 12: The College Football Playoff committee doesn’t seem too interested in punishing teams for losing to top-10 teams. The Eagles hardly dropped after a loss to Clemson.

Mississippi State

  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 21
  • AP Poll: 25
  • Vegas Rating: 12

Before Week 12: Like Boston College, the committee didn’t drop the Bulldogs out of the Top 25 despite being shut out by Alabama. MSU’s defense very much hung with the Tide last Saturday, but couldn’t get anything going on offense. Mississippi State hosts Arkansas this week.

After Week 12: It’s a shame the No. 1 scoring defense in the SEC and No. 2 nationally has four losses, three of which the offense was completely inept. The Bulldogs rolled Arkansas on Saturday, 52-6.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 22
  • AP Poll: 24
  • Vegas Rating: 40

Before Week 12: One of the luckiest teams in the country just continues to find ways to win. Despite going 0-3 in non-conference play — including a loss to Akron! — the Wildcats have clinched the Big Ten West with two weeks remaining. They’re in a brutal situational spot at Minnesota this week.

After Week 12: Northwestern survived that tricky situational spot against Minnesota, winning 24-14.

Utah State

  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 23
  • AP Poll: 14
  • Vegas Rating: 35

Before Week 12: Utah State’s lone loss is to Michigan State in Week 1, and the Aggies can wrap up the Mountain West Mountain division with a win over Boise State next week. If UCF falls to Cincinnati on Saturday, USU could also be in position to take the Group of 5’s New Year’s Six slot.

After Week 12: Utah State almost lost to Colorado State on a last-second Hail Mary, but the receiver had stepped out of bounds and it was called back.


  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 24
  • AP Poll: 19
  • Vegas Rating: 56

Before Week 12: The Bearcats have somehow played a worse schedule than UCF, but can prove they’re not pretenders when they play the Golden Knights in primetime on Saturday.

After Week 12: We can’t discredit anything Cincy has done this season, but in its first really tough test, the Bearcats got trounced by UCF.

Boise State

  • College Football Playoff Ranking: 25
  • AP Poll: 23
  • Vegas Rating: 38

Before Week 12: Boise cleaned up against New Mexico in a tricky situational spot, which sets up a mammoth showdown with Utah State to end the season.

After Week 12: Boise beat down New Mexico to setup that Mountain West-deciding showdown with the Aggies to end the season.


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