NCAA Football Rankings 2022: Predicting Top Movers in Week 12 Top 25 Standings
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AP Photo/Andy Nelson
The Pac-12’s yearly implosion took place on Saturday night.
The Oregon Ducks fell in heartbreaking fashion at home to the Washington State Cougars, and then the UCLA Bruins dropped a home game versus the Arizona Wildcats.
The Pac-12 went from having three potential College Football Playoff teams to one program inside the top 10 of the AP Top 25 going 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-talked-about one-loss teams to place themselves inside the top 10.
For now, the North Carolina Tar Heels could be the biggest beneficiary of the Pac-12’s awful Saturday.
The Tar Heels needed help to boost themselves up the rankings, and they discovered it in two unlikely spots.
Oregon Ducks and UCLA Bruins
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AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
The Pac-12’s worst-case scenario sprung into action on Saturday night.
Oregon entered as the No. 6 team in the College Football Playoff rankings and AP Top 25.
The Ducks made a stunning decision to go for 4th-and-1 in their own territory with their backup quarterback on the field late in the fourth quarter. The decision backfired, and Washington ended up kicking a game-winning field goal.
Oregon’s top 10 fate was in danger for most of the game, as Michael Penix Jr. and the Huskies matched whatever Bo Nix and the Ducks produced on offense.
The loss dropped Oregon to 8-2 and likely out of the top 10 in both polls. The Ducks could still win the Pac-12 Championship Game, but they must beat the Utah Utes next week to qualify.
UCLA’s loss was even more stunning because of the opponent and the situation. The Bruins appeared ready 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 tumble well out of the top 10 after falling to a team with a losing record.
Chip Kelly’s team is out of the playoff conversation at 8-2, and its two conference losses could spell trouble to advance to the Pac-12 Championship Game.
UCLA needs a win over USC in Week 12 to stay alive on that front. A Bruins victory is now the last thing the conference needs because then it would take USC out of the playoff discussion.
North Carolina Tar Heels
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AP Photo/Chuck Burton
North Carolina locked up the ACC Coastal Division title on Saturday with a slim victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
The Tar Heels earned a nice road win and received help from the Pac-12 and SEC to set up a potential spot in the top 10.
Oregon, UCLA and Ole Miss are bound to drop spots, and a case could be made for the one-loss North Carolina to jump both Penn State and Utah in the playoff rankings and AP Top 25.
North Carolina needs a lot more help to be involved in the playoff discussion, but it is the one wild-card in the postseason format.
UNC should finish at 11-1 with home wins over Georgia Tech and NC State. That would set up a clash with the one-loss Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.
Drake Maye and Co. need an impressive performance against Clemson to even be considered for the top four. A win over the Tigers would at least place the Tar Heels in a New Year’s Six bowl.
A lot of results, including a few upsets, need to go North Carolina’s way to make the top four, but at minimum, it should be a top-10 team going into Week 12 with a slim, but still alive, hope of qualifying for the playoff.
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AP Photo/Matthew Hinton
The UCF Knights will be the highest-ranked Group of Five team in all rankings this week.
UCF produced a convincing win over the Tulane Green Wave to move to the top of the American Athletic Conference standings.
Gus Malzahn’s team will make up the six-spot difference between itself and Tulane, and it should be inside the top 20.
Tulane, NC State, Illinois and Texas lost from positions in front of UCF in the rankings, and Notre Dame only beat Navy by three points.
Those losses combined with UCF’s style of victory in New Orleans could boost the Knights close to the top 15.
UCF may have to face Tulane in the AAC Championship Game. The winner of the Tulane-Cincinnati clash on November 26 will match up with the Knights, as long as they win their final two games.
The Knights should beat Navy and South Florida to set up an AAC Championship Game in which they may be a top-15 team depending on results elsewhere over the next two weeks.