NCAA Football Rankings 2022: Predicting Top Movers in Week 12 Top 25 standings
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AP Photo/Andy Nelson
The annual Pac-12 implosion took place on Saturday night.
The Oregon Ducks lost at home to the Washington State Cougars in heartbreaking fashion, and then the UCLA Bruins dropped a home game to the Arizona Wildcats.
The Pac-12 has progressed from three potential college football playoff teams to a program in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 heading into the third week of November.
Lincoln Riley’s USC Trojans are now the only playoff hope for the Pac-12, and the door is now open for some lesser-known one-loss teams to place in the top 10.
Right now, the North Carolina Tar Heels could be the biggest beneficiaries of the Pac-12’s horrific Saturday.
The Tar Heels needed help climbing the leaderboard, and they found it in two unlikely places.
Oregon Ducks and UCLA Bruins
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AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
The Pac-12’s worst-case scenario came into action on Saturday night.
Oregon competed as the No. 6 team in the College Football Playoff rankings and the AP Top 25.
The Ducks made an amazing decision to finish 4th and 1st in their own territory with their backup quarterback late in the fourth quarter. The decision backfired, and Washington ended up scoring a game-winning field goal.
Oregon’s top-10 fortunes were in jeopardy for most of the game as Michael Penix Jr. and the Huskies matched anything Bo Nix and the Ducks produced on offense.
The loss dropped Oregon to 8-2 and likely dropped out of the top 10 in both polls. The Ducks could still win the Pac-12 championship game, but they need to beat the Utah Utes next week to qualify.
UCLA’s loss was even more impressive because of the opponent and the situation. The Bruins seemed poised to take advantage of Oregon’s mishap, but instead they fell flat at home to Arizona.
The Bruins were No. 9 in the AP Top 25 and No. 12 in the playoff rankings. They should fall well out of the top 10 after falling to a team with a losing record.
Chip Kelly’s team is 8-2 out of the playoff talk and their two conference losses could spell trouble in advancing to the Pac-12 championship game.
UCLA needs a win over USC in Week 12 to stay alive on this front. A Bruins win is the last thing the conference needs now because it would take USC out of the playoff discussion.
Tar heels from North Carolina
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AP Photo/Chuck Burton
North Carolina clinched the ACC Coastal Division title Saturday with a narrow win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
The Tar Heels pulled off a nice road win and got help from Pac-12 and SEC to earn a potential top 10 spot.
Oregon, UCLA and Ole Miss will inevitably drop places, and it could be a case for North Carolina with a loss to skip both Penn State and Utah in the playoff rankings and the AP Top 25.
North Carolina needs a lot more help to get involved in the playoff discussion, but it’s the only wildcard in the postseason format.
UNC should finish 11-1 with home wins over Georgia Tech and NC State. That would result in a clash with the one-loss Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.
Drake Maye and company need an impressive performance against Clemson to even be considered for the top four. A win over the Tigers would at least put the Tar Heels in a New Year’s Six Bowl.
Plenty of results, including some upsets, need to see North Carolina make their way into the top four, but at the very least it should be a top-10 team going into Week 12 with a slim but still alive hope of qualifying for the playoffs.
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AP Photo/Matthew Hinton
The UCF Knights will be the top-ranked Group of Five team across all ladders this week.
UCF delivered a convincing win over the Tulane Green Wave to move to the top of the American Athletic Conference standings.
Gus Malzahn’s team will close the six-point difference with Tulane and should be in the top 20.
Tulane, NC State, Illinois and Texas all lost ahead of UCF in the rankings, and Notre Dame beat Navy by just three points.
Those losses combined with UCF’s winning style in New Orleans could put the Knights close to the top 15.
UCF may have to face Tulane in the AAC championship game. The winner of the Nov. 26 match between Tulane and Cincinnati will play against the Knights as long as they win their last two games.
The Knights should beat Navy and South Florida to set up an AAC championship game where they could be a top-15 team over the next two weeks depending on results elsewhere.