Most key college football contests on the Week 12 slate didn’t live up to their billing. But the results did lend some clarity to the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll, which has a new-look top 10.
Georgia and Alabama continue to hold down the top two spots with their upcoming encounter in the SEC championship game now assured. The Bulldogs remain the unanimous top choice. The Crimson Tide had to stave off a stiff challenge from Arkansas but still clinched the West Division.
Ohio State vaults into the No. 3 spot after rolling past then-No. 8 Michigan State, as the Spartans slip to No. 13. Cincinnati slides to No. 4 despite its rout of SMU, arguably the Bearcats’ most complete performance since their October victory at Notre Dame.
Speaking of the Fighting Irish, they climb to No. 5, finishing just eight poll points ahead of No. 6 Michigan. But the Wolverines figure to move into the top five if they can beat Ohio State in the marquee matchup of Thanksgiving weekend.
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The rest of the top 10 features three Big 12 teams. No. 7 Oklahoma State heads the group on the eve of its annual Bedlam showdown with No. 9 Oklahoma. Baylor is back up to No. 10 and has a chance to play for the conference title. Amid the Big 12 trio is No. 8 Mississippi, which can’t win the SEC but is well-positioned for a major bowl invitation if it gets past Mississippi State in what should be an entertaining Egg Bowl clash Thursday night.
Utah makes the biggest move in the poll, climbing six places to No. 19 after a dominant win against Oregon, The Ducks tumble six spots to No. 11 but could earn a rematch with the Utes by beating archrival Oregon State. Wake Forest takes the biggest drop, falling nine positions to No. 21 after losing at Clemson.
Arkansas, despite its strong performance in defeat at Alabama, falls out of the poll, replaced by No. 25 Kentucky.