The undefeated Knights jumped one spot ahead of No. 10 Ohio State in the latest rankings released Tuesday night. It is the highest spot by a Group of 5 member in the history of the CFP. UCF and LSU are No. 8 in this week’s AP poll.
The Knights, No. 11 last week, crushed previously ranked Cincinnati 38-13 on Saturday, while the Buckeyes needed overtime to dispose of Maryland.
“We spent considerable time talking about UCF and Ohio State,” committee chair Rob Mullens told ESPN on Tuesday night. “While UCF may not have the depth of talent of Ohio State, the committee felt that right now, today after Week 12, UCF has the more all-around, complete team.”
Mullens was asked why the Cougars didn’t make up any ground, despite crushing Arizona 69-28. The Sooners, on the other hand, had a tougher-than-expected time with Kansas in a 55-40 win.
“We spent considerable time talking about 6, 7, 8,” Mullens told ESPN. “Obviously saw what Washington State did, putting up 55 points in the first half against Arizona. But again, looked at Oklahoma and that dynamic offense, and while their defense may still be struggling, their offense is carrying the day and still finding a way to win with their quarterback [Kyler Murray] being so dynamic.”
The Buckeyes were the only team outside the top eight to maintain their spot.
The Bearcats fell out of the rankings after the loss to UCF, as did Boston College, which fell to unranked Florida State last week. No. 25 Iowa State had the biggest tumble — nine spots — after a 24-10 loss to No. 14 Texas. No. 20 Syracuse dropped eight spots after the high-powered Orange offense failed to show up in a 36-3 loss to the Irish at Yankee Stadium.
No. 18 Mississippi State and No. 19 Northwestern were the week’s biggest climbers, each jumping three spots from last week — though the reappearance of No. 22 Texas A&M and the debut of the No. 24 Pittsburgh Panthers could be argued as the biggest climbs.
The rest of this week’s ranked teams — No. 11 Florida, No. 12 Penn State, No. 15 Kentucky, No. 16 Washington, No. 17 Utah, No. 21 Utah State and No. 23 Boise State — stayed within two spots of their rankings from last week.
There will be one more CFP rankings release before Selection Day on Dec. 2 — the day after conference championship weekend.