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College Football Power Rankings: Week 11 (2021)

by November 8, 2021
Kenneth Walker

Another week in college football filled with upsets and top 25 teams falling out of the rankings.

This week, the third-ranked Michigan State Spartans followed up a huge victory over Michigan with a deflating loss against Purdue – the second time the Boilermakers took down a top-three conference opponent in the last month. Wake Forest also took a tumble. Despite scoring 55 points of their own, they allowed 58 to North Carolina, ending their undefeated season and any real shot of making the playoffs.

Cincinnati, Ohio State, and Alabama all survived close calls. The Bearcats once again squeaked by an inferior conference opponent, and after being left out of the playoff rankings last week, put up zero style points to sway the committee in their favor. The Buckeyes defense continues to improve, but a narrow victory over Nebraska isn’t going to beef up their resume the way they hoped this game would. And Alabama looked out of sorts against arch-rival LSU. A win is a win, but Nick Saban is going to be all over the Crimson Tide for taking the Tigers for granted. Let’s check out where these teams landed in the rankings this week.

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College Football Power Rankings Week 11

* (NR) = not ranked in last week's power rankings

Big Movers

Michigan State Spartans
Oh no. You could feel the letdown game coming right from the opening possession. After a massive win against Michigan just a week ago, the Spartans went into Purdue and were thoroughly beaten by the Boilermakers. Michigan State can still win the conference and theoretically get into the playoffs, but man - this loss is a killer for Sparty.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons
If Wake Forest finished the season as the undefeated ACC champions, they were getting into the College Football Playoff - full stop. An undefeated Power 5 champion gets in, no questions asked. Too bad we don't even have to have that debate now after the Deacons couldn't stop the Tar Heels at all on Saturday, allowing 58 points in a three-point loss. Just a few weeks back, Wake beat Army 70-56 and we knew a performance like that wouldn't work against stiffer competition. Well, it didn't.

Baylor Bears
Baylor has been ripping off win after win, including two huge ones in a row against BYU and Texas, but they ran into a motivated TCU team and couldn't overcome it. This is a crushing loss for Baylor's postseason hopes, and instead of watching the Bears try to keep it rolling against the Sooners next weekend, they'll be looking to bounce back against a big-time offense. If they play as they did on defense against the Horned Frogs, they'll be losers of two in a row.

BYU Cougars
The Cougars fell out of the power rankings at one point thanks to a little bit of a lull in the middle of their season, but they're back to the beat-you-up, tough team that impressed me a lot early on. Granted, they played FCS Idaho State, so let's not go throwing any parades in Provo, but BYU did exactly what an FBS team is supposed to do to an FCS opponent - destroy them.

Newcomers

Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers were once upon a time 1-3. They are now 6-3 and actually look like the Wisconsin Badgers team that we all assumed would come to play this year. They blew out Rutgers by 49 on their home field and did it the Wisconsin way - with defense and an effective, hard-nosed run game. Graham Mertz had a nice game, too. Watch out for the Badgers as the weather starts to get chilly.

Purdue Boilermakers 
The giant-slaying Boilermakers have done it again. Just a month ago, Purdue walked into Iowa and toppled the second-ranked Hawkeyes and completely exposed them to the rest of the conference. This week, Purdue took on another highly-ranked Big Ten opponent in Michigan State and did the exact same thing, just in a different fashion. Instead of pulling out a stout 24-7 victory as they did in Iowa, Purdue racked up 40 points on the Spartans and crushed Michigan State's hopes of an undefeated season. Purdue isn't a finished product, but this program finally looks to be headed in the right direction.

Random Musings

Texas San-Antonio Roadrunners
UTSA's schedule isn't going to blow anyone away, and instead of hammering them for playing a weak slate, how about we celebrate them for somehow being the best team in Texas and one of the best in the country? UTEP was 6-2 coming into this game. Is their 6-2 the same as say, Auburn's 6-2 record entering Week 10? Of course not, but this is still a good team that UTSA completely dominated and complied 44 points against. It's going to be fun watching the Roadrunners in whichever bowl game they're invited to.

Houston Cougars
The Cougars opened some eyes against SMU last week, taking a kickoff back for a game-winning touchdown with under a minute left. This week, despite perhaps not playing their best defensive game, Houston put themselves on the map as a legitimate threat to pull an upset in a big bowl game. This offense is lethal, and they just put up their sixth 40-point scoring output of the year. Somehow, the two best college football teams in Texas right now are the aforementioned Roadrunners of UTSA and these Houston Cougars.

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