SALT LAKE CITY — Week 12 of action featured two games where an undefeated team dropped a close game; but the most heartbreaking came as Baylor failed to hold on to a 28-3 lead and suffered its first loss of the season.
Rising: Iowa, Utah
Iowa knocked off a PJ Fleck Minnesota team that was coming off a big win over Penn State the week prior. The Hawkeyes didn’t let the Minnesota hype get in the way of simply taking care of business and exposing the Golden Gophers. Iowa now has a Top 25 win and has been good enough to hover around the middle of the Top 25, which is appropriate for their up-and-down play.
Utah dominated a UCLA program that had strung together three consecutive wins and was hoping to add some chaos to the Pac-12 South Division title race. But the Utes beat the Bruins by 46 points and didn’t allow a touchdown all game. This was the fourth game this season Utah hasn’t allowed a touchdown, and the 14th consecutive quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium without a touchdown scored against its defense.
Falling: Auburn, Baylor, Minnesota
Too many people reacted to Minnesota’s win over Penn State and with an emotional decision to move them up high in the rankings, but it was all for naught as the Golden Gophers dropped their first game of the season. Sure, Minnesota lost to a ranked opponent, but that doesn’t change the fact that Minnesota lacks a solid resume.
Baylor, Baylor, Baylor. The game was theirs for the taking after an incredible 28-3 start, but it just wasn’t enough to stop Jalen Hurts and an Oklahoma offense that is never out of a game until the final whistle is blown. Baylor was on borrowed time and the luck eventually ran out for the Bears.
Auburn has regressed. Quarterback Bo Nix went from being a dynamic slinger in the first part of the season to a mediocre quarterback at times. He’s got the talent to lead Auburn to victory, but then he makes bad throws and decisions to take his team out of the equation. At this point, I don’t know what Auburn we’re going to see on any given week, which is too bad because Nix could be a great player.
Added: Air Force, Appalachian State, USC
The bottom of the Top 25 is kind of a crapshoot at this point in the season, and so there’s not really any standouts to round out the rest of the rankings. Appalachian State continues to take care of business, but the Sun Belt isn’t exactly comparable to the other conferences with better teams.
Air Force has only two losses on the season and has been consistently challenging Boise State for an opportunity to lead the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference. And though USC has four losses on the season, they continue to find ways to win in the Pac-12. The noise around them is hard to distance, but they have a talented roster that’s keeping Clay Helton afloat longer than many predicted.
Dropped out: Indiana, Navy, Texas
Texas is certainly not back; Indiana at least got ranked once in the last decade-plus; and Navy ran into the good Notre Dame this week.
Teams in consideration: Iowa State, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Virginia Tech
As always, hit me up on Twitter (@JFurKSL) if you have any questions about my ballot.
If you can't see the ballot below, click here.