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2018 College Football Rankings, Week 14: AP Top 25 Poll, CFP, Vegas Ratings, Coaches Poll

Nov 25, 2018 2:15 PM EST
  • Each set of college football rankings will see changes this week after three top-10 teams lost.
  • We're comparing our Vegas-style betting power ratings, the AP Top 25 Poll, the College Football Playoff rankings and Coaches Poll to see how different groups and voters value each team.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

The 2018 college football season is about to enter championship weekend, when some of the best teams in the country will make one last case for the College Football Playoff.

This week’s College Football Playoff rankings are important because they will tell us how the committee viewed Ohio State’s win over Michigan (the Buckeyes could jump Oklahoma), LSU’s nonsensical loss to Texas A&M and Washington State’s résumé, which now includes two losses.

We’re comparing the AP Top 25 Poll, Coaches Poll, CFP rankings and our Vegas-style betting power ratings to see how each group values teams differently.

2018 College Football Rankings, Week 14

Our ratings, like S&P+ or ESPN FPI, are meant to be predictive and not based on wins and losses. That’s why you’ll see a four-loss Mississippi State so high.

We’re compiling all the rankings as they roll out on Sunday and Tuesday.

Projecting the AP Top 25 Poll, Coaches Poll, CFP Rankings

If you’ve read this story before, you might be a little confused. Normally, we publish it Saturday with the previous week’s rankings heading into that slate of games.

This week, the piece is running Sunday and projecting the following week’s rankings, because more people read this on Sunday and the information should be more relevant. Anyway, here we go.

Alabama

  • CFP: 1
  • AP Poll: 1
  • Vegas: 1

Want to debate Alabama vs. Clemson? Go ahead, but I’m having none of it.

The Tide have passed every test this year with flying colors, while the Tigers probably should have lost to both Texas A&M and Syracuse. I like this Clemson team a lot, but based on résumé, it’s Alabama at No. 1, no doubt.

Clemson

  • CFP: 2
  • AP Poll: 2
  • Vegas: 2

Clemson actually has the best chance to reach the playoff, at least mathematically, since it just needs to beat Pittsburgh as a 22-point favorite next week. That will lock it into the No. 2 seed and could get it the top seed with a Georgia win over Alabama.

Notre Dame

  • CFP: 3
  • AP Poll: 3
  • Vegas: 6

Congrats to the Irish, who will go to the College Football Playoff for the first time. They’re still slightly overrated based on our power ratings, but they’ve been a much better team with quarterback Ian Book under center.

Georgia

  • CFP: 4
  • AP Poll: 4
  • Vegas: 3

Georgia will slide into the No. 4 spot in both the AP Poll and College Football Playoff after Michigan’s loss, but it’s moot until next week. If the Bulldogs beat Alabama, they’re in.

But what if Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State all lose, leaving one spot for a two-loss conference runner-up? I think that fourth spot goes to UGA.

Oklahoma

  • CFP: 5
  • AP Poll: 5
  • Vegas: 4

I could see Ohio State jumping Oklahoma right now because its trouncing of Michigan is undoubtedly the best win between the two teams. Outside of a 59-56 win over West Virginia, what is Oklahoma’s best win? A one-point victory over 6-6 Oklahoma State?

Ohio State

  • CFP: 6
  • AP Poll: 6
  • Vegas: 7

Considering three teams ahead of it lost, Ohio State should slide into the No. 6 slot in both the AP Poll and CFP rankings.

Michigan

  • CFP: 7
  • AP Poll: 8
  • Vegas: 4

Michigan looked horrific on Saturday, but its body of work is still pretty impressive, and there isn’t a two-loss Power 5 team that has a better résumé. The Wolverines will stay in the top 10.

UCF

  • CFP: 8
  • AP Poll: 7
  • Vegas: 55

Without quarterback McKenzie Milton, the Knights plummet to No. 55 in our power ratings.

I think AP Poll voters will move up UCF by default, since so many teams in front of it lost, but the committee doesn’t want the Knights to creep too close to the top four.

Texas

  • CFP: 9
  • AP Poll: 9
  • Vegas: 18

Texas didn’t look great in a win over Kansas, but by default the Longhorns make a jump into the top 10.

Florida

  • CFP: 10
  • AP Poll: 10
  • Vegas: 12

Florida routed Florida State, setting the Gators up for a New Year’s Six bowl spot.

Penn State

  • CFP: 11
  • AP Poll: 14
  • Vegas: 17

The Nittany Lions took care of business against Maryland, but their résumé still isn’t all that impressive. They lost to the three best teams they played and were at home when they beat Iowa.

The College Football Playoff committee has been a little more favorable to Penn State than AP Poll voters, who are typically even more reactionary and value good wins in the short term (i.e. Washington beating Washington State).

Washington

  • CFP: 12
  • AP Poll: 11
  • Vegas: 10

The Huskies’ win over Washington State was impressive, but they still have three losses, and the committee despises the Pac-12.

LSU

  • CFP: 13
  • AP Poll: 13
  • Vegas: 11

I think AP Poll voters woke up to the shock and horror of LSU’s loss to Texas A&M and will give the Tigers a little bit of a pass. If you value LSU any less after Saturday, you didn’t value it that much in the first place.

West Virginia

  • CFP: 14
  • AP Poll: 12
  • Vegas: 9

The Mountaineers lost their past two games by a combined seven points, eliminating them from Big 12 Championship Game contention.

Kentucky

  • CFP: 15
  • AP Poll: 16
  • Vegas: 40

Kentucky wrapped up an excellent regular season with a rout of rival Louisville. The Cats won’t sniff a New Year’s Six bowl, but they could head to the Citrus Bowl, the top game for SEC teams.

Washington State

  • CFP: 16
  • AP Poll: 15
  • Vegas: 19

It feels weird to drop Washington State this far — and it probably won’t fall to this point — but who do you put the Cougars ahead of if you’re the College Football Playoff committee? Kentucky? Washington? LSU? The Pac-12 has routinely been disrespected, and I expect that to continue.

Utah

  • CFP: 17
  • AP Poll: 17
  • Vegas: 13

The Utes have been higher in our power ratings than in the AP Poll all season, and they can reach the Rose Bowl with a win over Washington on Friday night.

Mississippi State

  • CFP: 18
  • AP Poll: 20
  • Vegas: 8

The College Football Playoff committee has always liked the Bulldogs more than AP Poll voters (and our ratings like them the most), so expect Cowbell to stay at No. 18 in the CFP rankings.

Syracuse

  • CFP: 19
  • AP Poll: 18
  • Vegas: 32

The Orange were impressive in a win over Boston College and have the second-best record in the ACC.

Northwestern

  • CFP: 20
  • AP Poll: 21
  • Vegas: 44

Northwestern edged Illinois by eight points, which won’t do the Cats any favors in the eyes of AP Poll voters. They’ll get jumped by Boise State in that poll.

Boise State

  • CFP: 21
  • AP Poll: 19
  • Vegas: 34

Boise’s win over Utah State could get the Broncos into a New Year’s Six bowl if they can beat Fresno State and Memphis beats UCF.

Texas A&M

  • CFP: 22
  • AP Poll: 22
  • Vegas: 15

AP Poll voters love to vault big programs back into the top 25 after big wins, which Texas A&M somehow got on Saturday by beating No. 7 LSU in dramatic fashion.

Iowa State

  • CFP: 23
  • AP Poll: 23
  • Vegas: 22

The market has finally caught up on Iowa State, which escaped with a comeback win over Kansas State on Saturday.

Army

  • CFP: 24
  • AP Poll: 23
  • Vegas: 22

I have no idea how the committee values Army, but the Black Knights were off this week and a bunch of teams lost, so they’ll slide in for now.

Fresno State

  • CFP: 25
  • AP Poll: 25
  • Vegas: 41

Pitt and Utah State will drop out of the CFP Top 25, opening up the last spot for Fresno State, which can also still take the Group of 5’s New Year’s Six spot with a win over Boise State and a UCF loss to Memphis.

Credit:

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Alabama fans

Follow Steve Petrella on Twitter
@steve_petrella

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