CBS Sports 128 rankings: Ohio State at No. 2, USC surprises with jump into top 10 –

Alabama Crimson Tide
is the only constant in our current college football world.
Michigan Wolverines
Clemson Tigers
Washington Huskies
all suffered their first loss of the season on the same day (a historic day of losing for top teams) and now only the Tide, No. 1 in the newest college football rankings from the coaches, and
Western Michigan Broncos
remain unbeaten.

It’s a shakeup to what was viewed as a stable set of title contenders up top, but the resulting CBS Sports 128 rankings after Week 11 show that even losing won’t change the perception of the pecking order.
Ohio State Buckeyes
‘s performances since losing to
Penn State Nittany Lions
have boosted the Buckeyes’ stock, and now Urban Meyer’s high-scoring bunch is No. 2 heading into a two-week run to close the season against
Michigan State Spartans
and Michigan, which fell down to No. 5 after losing at
Iowa Hawkeyes

But Michigan’s loss actually hurts the Buckeyes’ Big Ten title chances because of the tiebreakers. Now Penn State, up to No. 9 in the CBS 128, has a great chance to make a run at the division title if the Nittany Lions win out and the Wolverines lose one game.

The most notable change in the top 10 after the shakeup weekend is the arrival of Southern California. The Trojans had the look of a Pac-12 title contender in knocking off Washington in Seattle. It makes you wonder both how far
Sam Darnold
can take this team in his bright future and what might have been if he took over the quarterback job earlier.
Southern California Trojans
is still mathematically in the hunt for a Pac-12 title but needs
Utah Utes
Colorado Buffaloes
to each lose once to make the conference title game.

Week 11 bumped college football’s chess board and threw off the alignment for what we thought was a pretty clear playoff picture. No team should feel comfortable and no fan should feel so confident that they can start booking tickets. There’s a lot of pieces to move before Selection Sunday and this past weekend was another reminder about the thin margin for error for title contenders in November.

College football experts from CBS Sports — and for the first time this year, partner 247Sports — contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top-25 below, and 26-128 on our rankings page.

1 Alabama 10-0 1
2 Ohio State 9-1 6
Louisville Cardinals
9-1 5
4 Clemson 9-1 3
5 Michigan 9-1 2
6 Washington 9-1 4
Wisconsin Badgers
8-2 8
Oklahoma Sooners
8-2 9
9 Penn State 8-2 10
10 USC 7-3 21
West Virginia Mountaineers
8-1 13
12 Western Michigan 10-0 12
13 Colorado 8-2 14
14 Auburn 7-3 7
15 Utah 8-2 16
Washington State Cougars
8-2 17
LSU Tigers
6-3 15
Oklahoma State Cowboys
8-2 23
Nebraska Cornhuskers
8-2 20
Florida Gators
7-2 19
Boise State Broncos
9-1 24
San Diego State Aztecs
9-1 26
Florida State Seminoles
7-3 25
24 Texas A&M 7-3 11
Virginia Tech Hokies
7-3 18

North Carolina Tar Heels
fell out of the top 25 in the CBS 128 after losing to
Duke Blue Devils
on Thursday night, while fellow ACC Coastal Division rival
Pittsburgh Panthers
saw a boost (to No. 35) after upsetting Clemson in Death Valley.
Troy Trojans
, now the clear favorite in the Sun Belt after beating
Appalachian State Mountaineers
, is lurking at No. 28 and still hoping for enough chaos to make a run at the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six golden ticket.

Biggest movers

  • USC (+11): The Trojans have won six games in a row, including victories against both Pac-12 South frontrunner Colorado and current Pac-12 North favorite Washington. This team is rolling right now and making a statement behind Darnold’s exquisite quarterback play. The Pac-12 schedule concludes at
    UCLA Bruins
    this weekend before the regular-season finale against
    Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    in the Coliseum.
  • Oklahoma State (+5): The Cowboys remain in the mix for the Big 12 title, holding a head-to-head advantage against West Virginia and chasing down the rival Sooners. The CBS 128 voters (myself included) have been slow to react to Oklahoma State’s six-game winning streak, but the momentum is building for a fun finish in the Big 12.
  • Virginia Tech (-7): The Hokies had a shot to lock up a spot in the ACC title game and couldn’t get the job done, at home, against a
    Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
    team playing its backup quarterback. It’s a disappointing Monday in Blacksburg, but North Carolina’s loss keeps Virginia Tech in control of the division race.
  • Texas A&M (-13): The Aggies failed to emerge victorious in the Backup Quarterback Bowl. Talented as ever, for sure, but Texas A&M looks a little bit shaky right now after two straight outright losses as a double-digit favorite.

Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 128: Teams ranked 26-128


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