College Football Top 25: Week 12by Charlie Parent November 29, 2021 0 comments
If one were to say rivalry week was exciting would be a massive understatement. In the best college football week of the season, we saw the upsets, the thrillers, and some changing of the guard in some series’. Overall, the playoff picture is nearly set and those with conference championship matchups this week just need to secure this one win before a shot at the national title.
No 1. Georgia (12-0) (8-0 SEC)
This is the one thing that won’t change in our rankings this week. Georgia expectedly rolled all over rivals Georgia Tech last week in a series that has just gotten a little dry due to the nature of the Georgia Tech program. The Bulldogs will now come into conference championship week with a duel against Alabama in what should be a very good game but a win for Georgia.
No 2. Michigan (11-1) (8-1 Big 10)
It was the win of the week, the win of the year, and the win of the 21st century for the Michigan Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh and Co. finally defeated Ohio State in a dominant fashion. If the Michigan coaching staff can call a game just like they did against the Buckeyes last weekend, the only team in the country that can touch them is Georgia. Not to mention the overall program changer that this win was as recruits are already being predicted to head to Michigan. The Wolverines take on Iowa next week in the Big 10 Championship where a win will put them into the playoff beating all odds.
No 3. Cincinnati (12-0) (8-0 AAC)
Cincinnati finally capped off the undefeated season that we nearly predicted at the beginning of the season. The Bearcats landed a 35-13 victory in what some believed could be a trap game against East Carolina. Cincinnati also moves up a spot this week but the logic of this move we can get into later. Overall, however, lots of people aren’t taking into account this team’s full résumé, especially with the victory against a now top 10 opponent in Notre Dame.
No 4. Alabama (11-1) (7-1 SEC)
Alabama looked horrible in the Iron Bowl. They luckily escaped against a 6-5 team with a backup quarterback on one leg. On top of that, the Auburn team basically handed them the ball back to make their game-tying drive in regulation. Their poor play last week drops them the one spot and is on the brink of playoff elimination. All in all, Alabama must beat Georgia to get into the playoffs this year.
No 5. Oklahoma State (11-1) (8-1 Big 12)
Another rivalry game that saw a new victor for the first time in 5 plus years was Bedlam. Oklahoma State won a thriller 37-33 against an Oklahoma team that was fighting for their postseason lives but came up short thanks to an electric defensive performance by the Cowboys in the second half. Oklahoma State has a serious shot at the playoffs if Alabama loses next week and if the Pokes defeat Baylor in the Big 12 Championship.
No 6. Ohio State (10-2) (8-1 Big 10)
Ohio State lost to Michigan for the first time in 10 years. It was a gruesome loss for the program and one that completely takes them out of playoff contention unless chaos ensues next week. Like the Cincinnati-Alabama debate, there will be one here over Ohio State and Notre Dame. The reasoning for Ohio State to go over Notre Dame is their win against Michigan State and their losses are both against top 15 teams. Notre Dame’s loss was to Cincinnati but that is the only ranked team they’ve played all year and the rest of their schedule is basically a cupcake one throughout which is why the Buckeyes land at 6.
No 7. Notre Dame (11-1)
We’ve already touched on Notre Dame quite a bit but last week was another blowout victory over a very weak Power 5 opponent. The Irish beat Stanford 45-14 on the road but it’s just not enough to keep them moving up. The best teams they’ve beat have been an 8-4 Wisconsin and an 8-4 Purdue. Both these wins are not as impressive as the victories that teams above them have, hence why they are still just hovering at 7.
No 8. Ole Miss (10-2) (6-2 SEC)
As we were stuffing our stomachs and presumably all watching the NFL, Ole Miss was taking on Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. The Rebels got off to a slow start but eventually pulled out a 31-21 win in Starkville on Thanksgiving. It wasn’t their best performance but any time the Egg Bowl is won by double digits it is a very good win for either side and Ole Miss will now focus on whatever bowl game they get slated in.
No 9. Baylor (10-2) (7-2 Big 12)
Baylor officially clinched a Big 12 conference championship game birth with their 24-21 win over Texas Tech on Saturday. It was a game that fell under the cracks because of all the other classics we saw last week but this was a great game and a narrow escape from the Bears. This week, Baylor can upset Oklahoma State in the championship and spoil the Cowboys’ playoff hopes while clinching an NY6 Bowl game.
No 10. Michigan State (10-2) (7-2 Big 10)
Another game that slipped through the cracks was Michigan State verse Penn State in what seemed like a tundra. The snow was abundant and Jayden Reed somehow still made the catch of the week on 4th and 15 through it to seal the deal for the Spartans. While this game was probably too close on paper, it was a great win for Michigan State barring the elements.
No 11. Utah (9-3) (8-1 PAC 12)
Utah has had the best turnaround in the country this season and is all the way up to the point where they will play in the PAC 12 championship game on Friday after beating rival Colorado 28-13 at home last week. They’ll now see a rematch again Oregon in a game they won 38-7 just two weeks ago but this week’s has more importance for both programs.
No 12. Oregon (10-2) (7-2 PAC 12)
Utah’s next opponent sees themselves one spot behind the Utes based on head to head. Oregon clinched the PAC 12 North with their close 38-29 win over Oregon State. This game should not go unlooked as both teams were playing for the division. The Ducks could see a significant boost in their rank if they can avenge themselves against Utah this week and secure an NY6 bid.
No 13. Oklahoma (10-2) (7-2 Big 12)
Oklahoma fell to Oklahoma State for the first time since 2014. It was a blown lead and the crowd evidently got to the Sooners. There’s clearly a bit of an issue in Norman and the breaking news of Lincoln Riley going to USC doesn’t help at all either. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Oklahoma from here on out as they have tons of decisions to make, a bowl game to play, and no coach in line.
No 14. Pittsburgh (10-2) (7-1 ACC)
Pittsburgh capped off their season as top dogs in the ACC and the favorite in the conference championship game against Wake Forest. A 31-14 win over Syracuse wasn’t overly impressive but they were able to thwart a team vying for their bowl game lives and the Panthers were able to knock them down. While the ACC championship won’t have any playoff implications, we should see tons of points put up on the board from both electric offenses.
No 15. Clemson (9-3) (6-2 ACC)
Clemson extended their win streak to five with a 30-0 blowout over rival South Carolina. This marked Clemson’s eighth straight win over South Carolina dating back to 2014. The Tigers can enjoy their top 15 ranking but the reality is this team will not be playing for much as they are not in the ACC championship. The good news, however, is that this team is very young and should get back to Clemson standards next season with their returning guys.
No 16. Wake Forest (10-2) (7-1 ACC)
Perhaps the most important game in Wake Forest’s program in recent memory occurred this week against Boston College. With the ACC Championship game on the line, the Demon Deacons did not crack and dominated with a 41-10 road victory. Wake now moves onto the championship where they look to secure their first ACC title since 2006, something no one would’ve expected at the beginning of this season.
No 17. Iowa (10-2) (7-2 Big 10)
Iowa played on the Friday after Thanksgiving and needed a huge comeback effort to beat a 3-9 Nebraska team that played every single game close this season. The entire Hawkeyes team then all turned on their TVs Saturday to watch as Minnesota defeated Wisconsin, sending Iowa to the conference championship. They will be outmatched against Michigan but Iowa’s defense will need to stop the run as the first order of business and try to string some form of offense together against one of the better defenses in the country.
No 18. Houston (11-1) (8-0 AAC)
A game that is not being talked about nearly enough this week is Houston verse Cincinnati. The Cougars haven’t lost since Week 1 and are a serious threat to the bearcats’ undefeated season and playoff hopes. If Houston can get their offense going early, this will be a game for the ages and one that will determine which group of five team gets the NY6 Bowl bid.
No 19. BYU (10-2)
BYU is a team that’s just hanging around the high teens, low 20s area in our rankings. It’s unfortunate that BYU saw that loss to Boise State because without it they’d have a top 15 victory and their only loss would be against a top 10 opponent, putting them much higher and possibly playing for an NY6 Bowl. BYU did just defeat their sixth Power 5 opponent of the season with a 35-31 road victory against USC with a Trojans squad that’s been making some other headlines lately.
No 20. Texas A&M (8-4) (4-4 SEC)
What a weird season it has been for the Aggies. From defeating former top-ranked Alabama at home to a loss in their final regular-season game against a now 6-6 LSU. Texas A&M lost 27-24 on the road on a last-second game-winning touchdown by the Tigers leaving only about 20 seconds for Texas A&M. The Aggies are still a solid football team and the five behind them in these ranks would have a tough time beating them.
No 21. NC State (9-3) (6-2 ACC)
Perhaps the most underrated game of the week was NC State verse UNC. The Wolfpack were down nine with two minutes left and somehow pulled out a win to keep their rank and put themselves in a somewhat meaningful bowl game. We’ll see where this team gets put once the playoff rankings come out next Sunday after the mixup that is sure to occur with conference championship week.
No 22. Kentucky (9-3) (5-3 SEC)
Kentucky comes back into our rankings after thrashing Louisville 52-21 in a huge performance from quarterback Will Levis. He threw for 149 yards but ran for 113 yards and four touchdowns. This is another squad that will have a pretty nice bowl game bid after a pretty successful season that not many people predicted at the beginning of the year.
No 23. San Diego State (11-1) (7-1 MWC)
San Diego State needed a win against Boise State to clinch the Mountain West West division and they got it. It was a tight affair at first but the Aztecs pulled away 27-16 thanks to a shutout in the second half by their defense. San Diego State turns to a matchup with Utah State this week at home in a game that they should definitely win by a solid margin.
No 24. Minnesota (8-4) (6-3 Big 10)
The Gophers are another team that has had a very strange season. They’ve lost to Bowling Green and Illinois but have gotten some solid victories, especially this week when they defeated Wisconsin 23-13 to get the ax back in Minneapolis. Minnesota’s season might not have any more meaningful games left but at least they are getting some good news like Mo Ibrahim returning next season.
No 25. Arkansas (8-4) (4-4 SEC)
This Arkansas team is pretty much like that of the Texas A&M team. Both are .500 in the conference and both have lost to some incredibly good teams. Yes, losing to good teams isn’t an excuse for losing but it does Arkansas a reason to stay ranked for what should be the rest of the year unless they lose their bowl game in the upcoming months.
Outside looking in: Louisiana, Wisconsin, UTSA, Appalachian State, Purdue
New teams: Kentucky (22), Minnesota (23), Arkansas (25)
Dropped out: Wisconsin, Louisiana, UTSA
Follow Charlie Parent on Twitter @Charlie_Parent
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