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College Football Playoff Poll: Week 12

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Some surprises in the top 4 this week as we finally have a Big 12 representative.

Why, Hello there TCU.
Why, Hello there TCU.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Rank Team Last week Week 11 result Toughest opponent left (per F/+) If the season ended today ...
1 Mississippi State (9-0) 1 Won 45-16 vs. Tennessee-Martin Alabama Sugar Bowl vs. TCU
2 Oregon (9-1) 4 Won 51-27 at No. 17 Utah Oregon State Rose Bowl vs. Florida State
3 Florida State (9-0) 2 Won 34-20 vs. Virginia Miami Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
4 TCU (8-1) 6 Won 41-20 vs. No. 7 Kansas State Texas Sugar Bowl vs. Mississippi State
5 Alabama (8-1) 5 Won 20-13 (OT) at No. 16 LSU Auburn Orange Bowl vs. Clemson
6 Arizona State (8-1) 14 Won 55-31 vs. No. 10 Notre Dame Arizona New Year's bowl
7 Baylor (8-1) 13 Won 48-14 at No. 15 Oklahoma Kansas State New Year's bowl
8 Ohio State (8-1) 14 Won 49-37 at No. 8 Michigan State Minnesota New Year's bowl
9 Auburn (7-2) 3 Lost 41-38 vs. Texas A&M Alabama New Year's bowl
10 Ole Miss (8-2) 12 Won 48-0 vs. Presbyterian Mississippi State New Year's bowl
11 UCLA (8-2) 18 Won 44-30 at Washington USC New Year's bowl
12 Michigan State (7-2) 8 Lost 49-37 vs. No. 14 Ohio State Maryland
13 Kansas State (7-2) 7 Lost 41-20 at No. 6 TCU Baylor
14 Arizona (7-2) 19 Won 38-20 vs. Colorado Arizona State
15 Georgia (7-2) 20 Won 63-31 at Kentucky Auburn
16 Nebraska (8-1) 13 Idle Wisconsin
17 LSU (7-3) 16 Lost 20-13 (OT) vs. No. 5 Alabama Arkansas
18 Notre Dame (7-2) 10 Lost 55-31 at No. 9 Arizona State Louisville
19 Clemson (7-2) 21 Won 34-20 at Wake Forest Georgia Tech Orange Bowl vs. Alabama
20 Wisconsin (7-2) 25 Won 34-16 at Purdue Nebraska
21 Duke (8-1) 22 Won 27-10 at Syracuse Virginia Tech
22 Georgia Tech (8-2) 24 Won 56-23 at NC State Georgia
23 Utah (6-3) 17 Lost 51-27 vs. No. 4 Oregon Arizona
24 Texas A&M (7-3) NR Won 41-38 at No. 3 Auburn LSU
25 Minnesota (7-2) NR Won 51-14 vs. Iowa Ohio State

(F+ numbers brought to you by footballoutsiders.com)

Because I'm partial, obviously, we are going to talk Kansas State first. After picking up their first conference loss of the season, the Wildcats fell six spots in the poll. This was not unexpected and put the Cats at the lowest spot all season. The silver lining: there are only a handful of other two loss teams ahead of the Purple Wizard's horde and very few teams also have the distinction of their two losses being against highly ranked teams, but with only four spots to fill for the playoffs, it'll will take some massive shakeups for this team to earn one of those coveted spots.

The Big 12 does, however, make their debut in the Top 4. TCU snagged the 4th spot fresh off welcoming Kansas State into their stomping grounds and promptly showing everyone that they are second to none in the conference. With the remainder of the season scheduled in the Horned Frogs favor, it is good bet that they hold on to play in the very first college football playoffs. In the meantime, let's just say "You're welcome, Frogs!"

Baylor also jumped up in the rankings, ironically trading places with the Wildcats. However, considering the Wildcats are their toughest opponent left, their final outcome is far from secure. With TCU at 4th, Baylor at 7th, and Kansas State at 13th, there is a fairly wide discrepancy between the teams currently sitting at three-way tie for the Big 12 Championship.

On a particularly fun note, the once-defeated Oregon jumped up two spots from their previous 4th, passing the undefeated Florida State Seminoles. Auburn fell six spots after their loss to Texas A&M who made their debut in the Top 25, coming in at 24th. The biggest fall of the week, belongs to Notre Dame. They stopped their eight spot free fall at 18th after losing to Arizona State. In turn, Arizona State grabbed biggest mover awards with their eight spot climb to 6th.

We all knew this weekend was going to provide some clarity for the top four spots, and it appears we were correct in this assertion. You have to believe that if these top 4 teams win out they will still be considered the top 4 in the final rankings. Overall, Baylor has their work cut out for them if they hope to crack the playoffs.