College football rankings: UCF jumps Ohio State and LSU in the new CBS Sports 129

Saturday night saw UCF thrive in its biggest spotlight game of the year, dominating Cincinnati from start to finish to improve to 10-0 as it pursues yet another undefeated season. The performance was so impressive it called for an adjustment in the CBS Sports 129, our comprehensive 129-team ranking of all FBS teams, as our voters moved the Knights past LSU and Ohio State to take over the No. 8 spot in the new rankings. 

The 38-13 win against Cincinnati was UCF’s best win of the season, and it took place in front of the second-largest crowd in school history. Josh Huepel and the 2018 Knights have already made College Football Playoff history with the highest-ever ranking for a Group of Five team, but the continued push towards the top four will require some help and continued stellar play over the next weeks. 

The balloting of CBS Sports and 247Sports experts resulted in no change among the top five, from No. 1 Alabama to No. 5 Georgia. Washington State moved up over Oklahoma into the No. 6 spot after its 69-28 win against Arizona as both the Cougars and the Sooners prepare for Week 13 contests that serve as play-in games for their respective conference championships. 

One of the biggest moves of the week was Pitt’s arrival in the top 25 of our rankings (more on that below) along with the continued increase in representation among Group of Five teams, with No. 14 Utah State, No. 20 Fresno State and No. 21 Boise State all joining the Knights in the top two dozen spots of our rankings. 

College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top-25 below, and 26-129 on our rankings page.

Biggest movers 

  • Pittsburgh (+10): The Panthers have put together one of the most impressive turnarounds we’ve seen in college football this year. After getting blown out by Penn State and UCF and losing close at North Carolina, few expected that Pat Narduzzi’s team could roll off five straight ACC wins (and play Notre Dame close in South Bend) to clinch the ACC Coastal. It’s a compliment to the program’s resiliency as it becomes the sixth different team to represent the division in Charlotte in the last six years. 
  • Oregon (+7):  A move from No. 42 to No. 35 has the Ducks moving up after beating Arizona State in Eugene. The Ducks win snapped a run of three losses in four games and has the team 7-4 heading into the Civl War against Oregon State. 
  • Mississippi State (+7): For a team that has struggled on offense at times this year, Mississippi State looked renewed, recharged and refreshed in a 52-6 trouncing of Arkansas. The Bulldogs have relied on their defense through most of the year and doing this kind of damage in a conference game had our voters bringing Joe Moorhead’s group back into the top 25 spots of the rankings. 
  • Boise State (+6): Everything is on the line for Boise State in Week 13. A 45-14 win at New Mexico guarantees that the winner of Saturday’s home game against Utah State will play for the Mountain West title. 
  • West Virginia (-4): Losing to Oklahoma State has created a sense of desperation around the Mountaineers. It’s only the second loss of the season so our voters didn’t make too many big adjustments, but now Friday night’s game against Oklahoma is a win-to-get-in championship game scenario for both teams. 
  • Syracuse (-6): It’s hard to drop the Orange too far when you consider both the opponent and the loss of starting quarterback Eric Dungey to injury in the first half. Now 8-3, Syracuse travels to Boston College to close out what’s already been a banner year for Dino Babers’ program.

Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 129: Teams ranked 26-129

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