College Football Playoff rankings winners and losers: Wake Forest, Cincinnati on roll; Gary Barta's ridiculous request

The College Football Playoff selection committee didn't rectify the main complaint with last week's rankings: that Michigan was ahead of Michigan State despite the Spartans' 37-33 win in late October.

In fact, the committee didn't do much on Tuesday night, largely maintaining the status quo and relying on this coming weekend's crowded slate of games to provide the basis for a late November shakeup of the Top 25.

This will be the first and only time the committee will be able to hit copy and paste. Saturday's slate includes Michigan State at Ohio State, Wake Forest at Clemson, Arkansas at Alabama, SMU at Cincinnati, Baylor at Kansas State and Oregon at Utah, with each game carrying enormous playoff and postseason implications.

Shakeups outside the top nine of the rankings lead the list of this week's biggest winners and losers:


Wake Forest

Baylor was projected to take over at No. 10 after Saturday's 27-14 win against Oklahoma, which dropped to No. 13 and third among teams from the Big 12. Another option was Ole Miss, which put together a very strong win against Texas A&M; the Rebels came in at No. 12, a three-spot move from last week's rankings. No. 10 belonged instead to the Demon Deacons, who rebounded from a shootout loss to North Carolina with a shootout win against North Carolina State and can clinch the ACC Coastal by beating Clemson on Saturday or Boston College on Nov. 27.

The bigger deal for Wake Forest is the statement this makes about the team's odds of reaching the top four, which seemed nearly dead in the water last Tuesday. But at least two of the three Big Ten teams higher in the rankings are guaranteed to add a second loss this month. The Deacons will have the chance to finish with more overall wins and nearly double as many wins against bowl teams as Notre Dame, not to mention a Power Five conference championship.

If Oregon and Cincinnati lose, Wake could be sitting at 12-1 on Dec. 4 and be firmly on the radar for the fourth spot in the field.


Cincinnati receiver Tre Tucker (7) celebrates his first-half touchdown against South Florida.
Cincinnati receiver Tre Tucker (7) celebrates his first-half touchdown against South Florida.

The Bearcats benefit from Houston landing at No. 24. The Cougars should rise after games against Memphis and Connecticut, if entirely as a result of losses from Power Five teams higher in the rankings instead of the committee actually putting stock in two meaningless wins. With SMU not in the rankings after a pair of recent losses, getting a ranked win against Houston in the American championship game would be hugely significant for Cincinnati's playoff resume.


Gary Barta

There was this nonsense from the committee chairman and Iowa athletics director in reference to the debate between the Spartans and Wolverines: "Set aside watching the games, though that’s certainly a part of it," Barta said on Tuesday night. "But statistically in just about every category, offensively and defensively, Michigan comes out on top over Michigan State."

To ask the rest of college football — players, coaches, fans, media — to "set aside the games" is the most ridiculous request in the format's history. Barta said the quiet part out loud: Inside that committee room, eye tests, reputations and helmets carry more weight than tangible results.

Texas-San Antonio

Getting into last week's rankings was the greatest moment in program history. One week later, it's becoming more obvious that UTSA is not going to represent the Group of Five in a New Year's Six bowl without significant help. If not in the top four, unbeaten Cincinnati will grab that bid without any close competition. If Houston wins out in November and beats the Bearcats, the Cougars will get into the New Year's Six with room to spare. And with San Diego State up to No. 19 after a good win against Nevada, the Aztecs will keep the Roadrunners at bay by finishing 12-1 with a Mountain West championship.

Follow colleges reporter Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football playoff rankings winners and losers for Week 11