College Football Playoff Rankings: Projecting Boise State in the Week 13 Top 25
After coasting against New Mexico, will anything change for the Broncos in the CFP pecking order? We make our prediction.
How much will a blowout win matter this week?
The Boise State Broncos finally found a way to make winning easy for themselves on Saturday night, riding third-string quarterback Jaylon Henderson and a suffocating defensive effort to a big win over New Mexico, and with some Power 5 pieces on the move around them, it seems likely that they’ll be ascending yet again when the newest College Football Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday.
Will they be able to close the gap on the Group of 5 foes ahead of them, though? As always, keep this in mind first: A lot can change in a week and in the CFP 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:
- #8 Minnesota lost on the road to #20 Iowa, 23-19
- #12 Auburn lost at home to #4 Georgia, 21-14
- #13 Baylor lost at home to #10 Oklahoma, 34-31
- #19 Texas lost on the road to Iowa State, 23-21
- #23 Navy lost on the road to #16 Notre Dame, 52-20
- #24 Kansas State lost at home to West Virginia, 24-20
On Mountain West Wire’s Week 12 preview podcast, I briefly discussed that Iowa and Texas wedging themselves between Boise State and Cincinnati and Memphis had less to do with the Broncos and more to do with finding landing spots for falling and rising teams and, sure enough, neither team will be an obstacle in the new rankings. In case you needed more proof the Longhorns are definitely Not Back, here it is.
Other than that, there weren’t nearly as many disruptions to the pecking order as there was last week. Baylor and Minnesota fell from the ranks of the unbeatens, but it doesn’t seem likely they’ll fall that far. Back in 2016, Clemson and Washington were top four teams who lost to unranked Pitt by one and #20 USC by 13, respectively. The Tigers fell from #2 to #4 while the Huskies dropped from #4 to #6.
This isn’t even the first time this has happened to Baylor at this juncture, either. In 2015, the Bears were ranked sixth and lost by ten at home to #10 Oklahoma, falling four spots in the subsequent top 25.
By Way of Comparison: How did the rest of the Group of 5 fare?
- #17 Cincinnati defeated South Florida on the road, 20-17
- #18 Memphis defeated Houston on the road, 45-27
- #25 Appalachian State defeated Georgia State on the road, 56-27
- Louisiana Tech lost to Marshall on the road, 31-10
The Bearcats skated by in Tampa on the grace of #collegekickers, pushing their record to 3-0 in games decided by eight points or fewer. Like SMU, Cincinnati has really pushed their luck of late.
Meanwhile, Memphis and App State took some time to get going in their road victories but ultimately didn’t have much trouble in either case. Louisiana Tech went into Huntington with some of its best players suspended, including quarterback J’Mar Smith, and got bounced from the conversation. It’s good news for Boise State, though: The Herd now have the inside track to the Conference USA East division crown. Anything that helps boost the season-long resume helps.
SMU was idle this weekend and may benefit from teams like Texas and Navy getting bounced from the rankings.
Is it time to seriously consider Air Force?
Maybe? At this point, many of the advanced metrics would put the Falcons neck-and-neck, or maybe slightly ahead, of a team like SMU. The Mustangs may have the trump card of owning one loss rather than two, but their strength of schedule (per Jeff Sagarin) is nearly even: Air Force is 81st and SMU is 89th.
It wouldn’t be the first time a Group of 5 team cracked the top 25 this early with two losses, either. Boise State, coincidentally, has done it in each of the last two seasons by slipping into the rankings at #25. Memphis did it back in 2015, too, though not in the way anyone would want: They fell from #13 to #21 after two straight losses.
So what do I think the top 25 will look like? Read on.