Matt Porter’s Associated Press college football top 25 ballot, Week 12

Neither of these man have any idea what the playoff committee will do. (Getty Images)

Neither of these man have any idea what the playoff committee will do. (Getty Images)

Rivalry week is in the books, and the second-to-last playoff rankings come out Tuesday, and intrigue is sky-high.

Here’s the ballot I submitted to the Associated Press top 25:

  1. Alabama (where I had ‘em last week: 1; record: 12-0, 8-0 SEC). Next: Florida, SEC championship. Status: A playoff lock. Could lose next week and still get in.
  2. Ohio State (2 – 11-1, 8-1 Big Ten). Next: awaits playoff fate. Status: Even without a Big Ten championship, beat Michigan and owns the best non-champ resume and a win over potential Big 12 champ Oklahoma.
  3. Clemson (4 – 11-1, 7-1 ACC). Next: Virginia Tech, ACC championship. Status: Feeling great after trouncing South Carolina in a testy rivalry game. A win in Orlando sews up a playoff spot.
  4. Washington (6 – 11-1, 8-1 Pac-12). Next: Colorado, Pac-12 championship. Status: Smoked Washington State for the Apple Cup and the Pac-12 North title. A win over Colorado probably seals a playoff berth … unless the committee focuses on its weak nonconference schedule (Rutgers, Idaho and FCS Portland State, which are a combined 12-22).
  5. Michigan (3 – 10-2, 7-2 Big Ten). Next: awaits bowl fate. Status: Loss in double OT to Ohio State probably means no playoff. But look at the resume: easily handled Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado. Definitely heading for a New Year’s Six bowl.
  6. Penn State (8 – 10-2, 8-1 Big Ten). Next: Playing Wisconsin in an unlikely Big Ten title matchup. Status: Unsure if the committee would bypass a potential champion for Ohio State. New Year’s Six-bound regardless.
  7. Wisconsin (7 – 10-2, 7-2 Big Ten). Next: Playing Penn State in the aforementioned unlikely Big Ten title matchup. Status: Like Penn State, wondering about its playoff hopes. Cotton, Rose or Sugar Bowl awaits if it loses the conference championship.
  8. Colorado (9 – 10-2, 8-1 Pac-12). Next: Faces Washington in the Pac-12 championship. Status: Like Nos. 6 and 7, happy with a wonderful year and hopeful about what could be next (but not certain about much of anything). Worst-case, gets jumped by USC for the Rose Bowl.
  9. Oklahoma (5– 9-2, 8-0 Big 12). Next: hosts Oklahoma State this week for the Big 12 title. Status: Frustrated with how bad the Big 12 has been. It’s hard to see its champion getting into the playoff. The Houston loss didn’t help. Probably playing in the Sugar Bowl.
  10. Oklahoma State (11 – 9-2, 7-1 Big 12). Next: At Oklahoma for the Big 12 title. Status: Hoping for a Bedlam upset, and the committee tells Mike Gundy otherwise, dead-eye certain it will overlook its loss to Central Michigan, which came on a referee’s error. Best case seems like the Sugar Bowl.
  11. Western Michigan (17 – 12-0, 8-0 MAC). Next: Ohio in the MAC championship. Status: Hoping P.J. Fleck doesn’t row the boat somewhere else after the Broncos play in the Cotton Bowl (win the MAC, and that’s the destination).
  12. USC (13 – 9-3, 7-2 Pac-12). Next: a nice bowl destination, maybe the Rose. Status: Satisfied it became one of the nation’s best teams, and wishing it happened a few months earlier.
  13. Florida State (18 – 9-3, 5-3 ACC). Next: the Orange Bowl, perhaps? If not, seems like a lock for the Russell Athletic Bowl. Status: Celebrating this FSU senior class, which is 8-0 vs. Florida and Miami. Never before done. Probably visiting its local jeweler again.
  14. West Virginia (21 — 9-2, 6-2 Big 12). Next: awaiting a solid bowl, perhaps the Russell Athletic against a good ACC team. Status: Iowa State is bad, but ‘Eers looked strong. Has to keep top recruit Mike Harley from flipping to Miami.
  15.  Auburn (15 — 8-4, 5-3 SEC). Next: The Sugar Bowl, maybe? Status: Lost the Iron Bowl, as expected, but could be the best non-Alabama SEC team, and the best four-loss team around.
  16. Nebraska (10 – 9-3, 6-3 Big Ten). Next: who knows, given the way the Big Ten is finishing. The Outback Bowl is a prime slot that could be interested in the Huskers. Status: Mad at Iowa, those dream-killers.
  17. Louisville (12 – 9-3, 7-1 ACC). Next: Maybe limping into the Orange Bowl. Status: Ugh. Oh, Cards. Loss to Kentucky? After being blown out by Houston? At least Lamar’s still winning the Heisman.
  18. Florida (14 — 8-3, 6-2 SEC). Next: Getting pounded by Alabama in the SEC title game, probably. Status: Trying to recruit a quarterback, or anything to fix its avert-your-eyes offense.
  19. LSU (22 — 7-4, 5-3 SEC). Next: Possibly the Citrus Bowl. Status: Feeling cautiously optimistic about retaining Ed Orgeron, after whipping Texas A&M in College Station. A good OC hire would give LSU plenty of momentum.
  20. Virginia Tech (25 — 9-3, 6-2 ACC). Next: Clemson in Orlando. Status: Coastal champs could create chaos with a win. But most likely heading to a Tier I ACC bowl, like the Belk.
  21. Navy (NR – 9-2, 7-1 AAC). Next: Hosts Temple for American crown. Status: Needs WMU to lose in the MAC title game and beat Army to have a shot at the Cotton Bowl.
  22. Boise State (23 — 10-2, 6-2 Mountain West). Next: awaits bowl fate: Status: Still looks like the best team in the Mountain West, even though Wyoming-San Diego State is that conference’s title matchup.
  23. Iowa (8-4, 6-3 Big Ten). Next: a quality Big Ten bowl. Status: Boasting about wins over Michigan and Nebraska in this crazy Big Ten year.
  24. Stanford (NR – 9-3, 6-3 Pac-12). Next: Maybe the Sun Bowl. Status: A team everyone thought was good is finally playing like it. Five wins in a row.
  25. South Florida (10-2, 7-1 American). Next: awaiting bowl fate. Status: Pleased with its first-ever 10-win season. Played FSU competitively, beat Navy and won on the road at Memphis, which beat Houston. Credit for a 10-win season (only conference loss: Temple).

Dropped out: No. 16 Washington State, No. 19 Houston, No. 20 Texas A&M

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