College Football Playoff Rankings: Projecting Boise State In The Week 12 Top 25
After another hard-fought Mountain West football victory, where will the Broncos end up in the CFP pecking order? We make our prediction.
Moving up, but by how much?
The Boise State Broncos didn’t have it easy on Saturday night, but after defeating the Wyoming Cowboys in a defensive showcase, their standing in the Group of 5’s College Football Playoff clump is intact. With San Diego State’s shocking defeat at home against Nevada, the Broncos once again stand alone as the conference’s standard-bearer for the New Year’s Six bowl bid.
Will the latest national developments be enough for Boise State to improve that standing, though? As always, keep this in mind first: A lot can change in a week and in the College Football Playoff era and things have definitely tended to change quite a bit over the course of a month or so.
Here’s a quick recap of the weekend that was and what it might mean.
From the top:
- #3 Alabama lost at home to #2 LSU, 46-41
- #4 Penn State lost on the road to #17 Minnesota, 31-26
- #16 Kansas State lost on the road to Texas, 27-24
- #18 Iowa lost on the road to #13 Wisconsin, 24-22
- #19 Wake Forest lost on the road to Virginia Tech, 36-17
For Boise State’s purposes, the last two losses on the list seem likely to translate to some upward mobility. At this time last year, 5-3 Texas A&M fell out of the rankings from #20 after losing to 5-3 Auburn, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see the same thing happen to Wake Forest and its bland resume (Have you heard the ACC is not good this year?).
Oddly enough, this is the second straight year the Hawkeyes have dropped a game immediately after the first CFP reveal, though this time around it’s not quite as egregious as losing to Purdue on the road. Last year, #17 Texas fell just two spots after losing by two to #13 West Virginia last season, so Iowa might just fall into the middle of the G5 morass this week.
Figuring out what will happen with Kansas State is a tougher nut to crack. From 2015 to 2018, seven teams ranked in the teens (13 to 19) have lost to unranked but better than .500 opponents after the first CFP rankings came out. Four of those teams fell out of the second top 25 altogether, but the aforementioned Iowa/Purdue game is instructive, as is Iowa State/West Virginia from 2017, since close losses are damaging — the Hawkeyes and Cyclones fell by five and six spots, respectively — but not fatal.
By Way of Comparison: How did the Group of 5 fare?
- #20 Cincinnati defeated UConn at home, 48-3
- #25 SMU defeated East Carolina at home, 59-51
- Appalachian State defeated South Carolina on the road, 20-15
- Louisiana Tech defeated North Texas at home, 52-17
- UCF lost on the road to Tulsa, 34-31
Congratulations are in order, first and foremost, for UCF coming to the realization that no matter much how you thump your chest, no football program can become Boise State overnight.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, did exactly what was expected in dispatching the Huskies, but their immediate problem is that they may not make much headway in the rankings on their own until they host Temple on November 16. UConn doesn’t move the needle and beating a sub-.500 South Florida team probably won’t do the trick, either.
SMU, meanwhile, seems to be more lucky than good lately, as they now stand at 5-1 in games decided by eight or fewer points. Teams that don’t play defense tend to see that catch up with them at some point in November, so while they’ll probably rise with the rest of the G5 tide this week and next while they’re on bye, their upcoming clash at Navy is going to be a real gut check.
Appalachian State and Louisiana Tech, on the other hand, face a similar struggle. They’re racking up wins, yes, but strength of schedule matters to the committee and neither the Mountaineers nor the Bulldogs have it right now. The template, until further notice, is 2014 Marshall, which didn’t reach the CFP rankings until getting to 11-0 on November 25. App State’s cause would be helped if both North Carolina and South Carolina can claw their way to bowl eligibility, while LaTech will get tested with back-to-back road games at Marshall and then division foe UAB. Stay tuned.
So what do I think the top 25 will look like? Read on.