College football rankings: what Michigan State’s loss to Purdue means for Ohio State, Cincinnati, and more


The chaos of college football gives, the chaos of college football takes away.

No. 3 State of Michigan – just like n. 2 Iowa – found out the hard way on Saturday, losing a 40-29 stunner to Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. one defeat and only three games to play.

So much more chaos to enjoy in this final stretch of the season.

MOREOVER: Spoiler? Purdue takes down Michigan State for another historic top five win

But what will defeat mean for the next series of rankings, unveiled on Tuesday? There are several teams that will benefit from losing the Spartans, especially considering how unbalanced it was (make no mistake, the game wasn’t as close as the score suggests).

Sporting News analyzes the teams that are about to rise and fall from the top 25 ahead of the second series of CFP rankings:

The rankings reflect the top 25 of the week 10 college football playoffs

BENDER: Heartbreaking defeat in the state of Ohio for Scott Frost heats up his place in Nebraska

Oregon (7-1)

Previous ranking: 4th

Oregon should rise to No. 3 in the latest round of Playoff rankings, assuming the Ducks deal with 4-4 Washington away. The bigger picture for Mario Cristobal and Co. is whether they can make it through the playoffs against a Big Ten champion with a single defeat.

The Ducks are cheering for the Big Ten to cannibalize themselves, which has been accomplished in each of the last two weeks with the Spartans ‘victory over Michigan and, on Saturday, the Boilermakers’ victory over the state of Michigan. Now each of Big Ten East’s top three teams, including Ohio State, have one loss each. Both Michigan State and Michigan face Ohio State on the left, creating a chance for each team to suffer yet another defeat. This is the end result for Oregon but, in the meantime, all they can do is win.

State of Ohio (8-1)

Previous ranking: 5

Ohio State will move up to fourth after a 26-17 win over Nebraska. It wasn’t an overly impressive win, but the Buckeyes will go up as a direct result of the Michigan State’s defeat to Purdue. The Ducks are the largest playoff competition in the state of Ohio for the remainder of the course. That said, Ohio State is in a good position – controlling its destiny in a tight division race and has ranked opponents in the Spartans and Wolverines to improve its resume.

Ohio State’s main goal is to make it to Indianapolis with a single defeat and win the conference championship. A win there almost certainly prepares the Buckeyes for a playoff spot.

Cincinnati (9-0)

Previous ranking: 6th

The Bearcats needed to use the College Football Playoff stage to show their Playoff value to the selection committee. Instead, they won 28-20 over Tulsa 3-6. To make matters worse, Golden Hurricane running back Steven Anderson nearly scored a touchdown that would have brought the score to 28-26 with 36 seconds left. But hey he fumbled the ball over the goal line , giving Cincinnati the ball and letting him run out of time.

Every team has this kind of wins occasionally. That said, the Bearcats were to leave no doubt against a Tulsa 3-5 team. Instead, he gave the playoff selection committee another reason to keep him at No. 6 in the latest ranking. Don’t be surprised even if you see the Bearcats leave another place.

Michigan (7-1)

Previous ranking: 7th

Michigan has yet to beat Indiana to take advantage of any losses. Assuming the Wolverines win – the Hoosiers won 38-21 last year in Bloomington, Ind. After all – they are poised to move up one or more places, potentially skipping Cincinnati to take the spot at No. 5.

Again, Michigan’s biggest priority is short-term, not long-term. He must first overcome Indiana, Penn State and Maryland before taking on Ohio State, a team he hasn’t beaten since 2011. Jim Harbaugh and his teammates are close to controlling their fate, but they must overcome history to get there.

MOREOVER: Sam Howell’s three touchdowns help North Carolina finish Wake Forest’s perfect season

Oklahoma (9-0)

Previous ranking: 8th

Oklahoma was inactive in week 9, but is still expected to move up one place to No. 7 with the loss of Michigan State. Purdue’s upheaval over the Spartans has been so thorough that there is little chance that the state of Michigan will maintain a ranking in the top eight.

Oklahoma appears to be in control of its fate. The Sooners still have games to play against No. 12 Baylor and No. 11 Oklahoma State – not to mention a potential rematch with one of those teams – to top the early CFP rankings. Oklahoma played much better with Caleb Williams as quarterback, and the Sooners will need him to continue that brilliance into the final stretch of the season.

State of Michigan (8-1)

Previous ranking: 3

Mel Tucker knew before Saturday’s game that Purdue had a history of massive upheaval against the top five opponents. Even so, his team couldn’t stop them from playing Spoilermaker in West Lafayette. The Spartans attack did its job, with Payton Thorne completing 20 of 30 passes for 276 yards and two scores plus an interception. Kenneth Walker III continued his campaign for the Heisman Trophy, adding 136 yards on 22 carries and one more score.

But the Spartan defense had no response for quarterback Aidan O’Connell or receiver David Bell. O’Connell completed 40 of 54 passes for 536 yards and three touchdowns. Bell received 11 passes for 217 yards and a score. This completely lackluster effort will drop the state of Michigan below Oklahoma in the latest CFP rankings. The question is, how low?

No. 9 Wake Forest lost 58-55 to unranked North Carolina and 11 Oklahoma State beat West Virginia 24-3, likely moving the Cowboys to the top 10. No. 12 Baylor lost to unranked TCU; No. 13 Auburn lost 20-3 to No. 14 Texas A&M. No. 15 BYUs and 16 Ole Misses also achieved quite convincing wins. Most likely, Spartans drop from 11 to 15 in the next top 25.

Like its other Big Ten East teams, Michigan State would have a strong playoff résumé if it won and went 12-1 as a Big Ten champion. But it can’t afford another defeat – upset or not – in the last three games.


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