We have made it to the final week of the regular season in college football. Things look a lot different than what was initially expected starting out, and it has been one of the craziest regular seasons to date. With rivalry week coming up, here is our take on where teams stand before some games with massive implications, like the chance to play in conference championship games and the playoffs.
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No 1. Georgia (11-0) (8-0 SEC)
The one thing that has been most consistent for weeks is Georgia sitting in the top spot. We’ll get into it more, but this is probably the closest they’ve been to losing that seat thanks to the play of other teams. Not much else to say about the Bulldogs this week as they thrashed Charleston Southern on Saturday and will now take on Georgia Tech, who lost 55-0 to Notre Dame last week.
No 2. Ohio State (10-1) (8-0 Big 10)
Something that will change in almost all other rankings, but not ours, is Ohio State moving into the top two slots. This is the obvious second-best team in the country and it’s not even close. The Buckeyes dominated a top-10 opponent in Michigan State 56-7, making them look like an FCS school at the beginning of the season. They can cap off an incredible comeback to their regular season with a win over Michigan in The Game this week.
No 3. Alabama (10-1) (6-1 SEC)
Alabama’s offense has been rolling the past two weeks, putting up over 40 points in each of the last two games and totaling 1,249 yards in those affairs, with 671 coming against Arkansas last week. On the other hand, the Crimson Tide allowed 35 points to the Razorbacks and the game ended as a one-score 42-35 victory for Alabama. They’ll stick with the three spot for this week as we now get into the changes in the rankings with the upcoming slots.
No 4. Cincinnati (11-0) (7-0 American)
The difference between Cincinnati and the team sitting at number five is incredibly small. However, the Bearcats finally blew out a team and didn’t just struggle against a weaker opponent as they have in the past. It wasn’t just any team, however, it was a solid SMU squad that had been playing great football earlier in the year and still a big threat to Cincinnati’s playoff hopes. Cincinnati now heads into East Carolina with just one more game to settle before the conference championship and potentially the Playoff.
No 5. Michigan (10-1) (7-1 Big 10)
Cincinnati’s only real threat to the playoffs sits right here in Michigan. Coming off a 59-18 thrashing of Maryland, the Wolverines control their own postseason destiny. Should they win this week against second-ranked Ohio State, they’ll jump into the Top Four and book a ticket to the Big 10 Championship game against a West Division opponent that will certainly be the underdog in the matchup. If they do lose this week, however, we can count them out of the race, making our team next in line to potentially jump in the playoff ranks, even though they have a tough task this week.
No 6. Oklahoma State (10-1) (7-1 Big 12)
Everyone in Oklahoma knows what this week means for both the Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma State has locked up a Big 12 Championship game appearance, but any shot they have at the CFB Playoff resides with a win this week in their game versus Oklahoma. Bedlam has traditionally been a terrible game for Oklahoma State, but this is one of the few times they come in as the higher-ranked team and favorites in the clash. A win for the Cowboys and another ranked win in the championship game would make things incredibly interesting for the committee.
No 7. Notre Dame (10-1)
We hear nothing about Notre Dame these days and it’s honestly a bit crazy. The Irish have put together a really nice season and asserted their talents last week when they crushed Georgia Tech as we mentioned earlier. It’s very unlikely that they get to the playoffs, though, because of their weak schedule and inconsistencies at times. All this team can do is keep winning and going on the road against Stanford this week will give them another chance to do just that.
No 8. Ole Miss (9-2) (5-2 SEC)
There’s not a whole lot to say about Ole Miss this week after a slow 31-17 win over Vanderbilt. Their only chance at a meaningful postseason is in an NY6 Bowl game because they do not have the tiebreaker over Alabama if the Tide somehow loses the Iron Bowl against Auburn. This means that Ole Miss will have to win in the Egg Bowl in what will be a thrilling environment against a Mississippi State team with upset on their minds.
No 9. Baylor (9-2) (6-2 Big 12)
Just like Ole Miss, Baylor had a slow win over Kansas State. They took this one 20-10 on the road, but did what they had to do to remain in the postseason chase. All Baylor needs to do is defeat Texas Tech and for Oklahoma State to win, two things that are very possible. If that happens, the Bears will go face the Cowboys in a season rematch, the first of which Oklahoma State took earlier this season 24-14.
No 10. Oklahoma (10-1) (7-1 Big 12)
Caleb Williams and the Oklahoma offense did not look much better last week after falling to Baylor the week prior. The Sooners were still able to hold off a vicious comeback attempt from Iowa State, however, and took a 28-21 victory over a talented team into Bedlam. This is another team that controls their own destiny and a win would throw Oklahoma and Oklahoma State right back into the ring for the conference championship game.
No 11. Texas A&M (8-3) (4-3 SEC)
The Aggies’ offense went silent in Week 10 versus Ole Miss but had a great bounce back this week. Yes, it was Prairie View A&M but any time you put up 52 points it’s a major confidence boost for your offense, a unit that is headed into Death Valley next week to take on LSU in what could end up being a shootout if Texas A&M isn’t careful on the defensive side of the ball.
No 12. Michigan State (9-2) (6-2 Big 10)
It’s crazy to think people thought this was the fourth-best team in the country just for beating Michigan at home with some help from the refs (as it has now been acknowledged by the Big 10). Coming into their game with Ohio State, Michigan State’s secondary was one of the worst in the Power 5 and they proved that to be correct letting C.J. Stroud and Ohio State’s elite wide receivers pick them apart and gain whatever yardage they wanted. Michigan State should be able to bounce back with a win at home against Penn State, but don’t be surprised if Jahan Dotson goes for 200+ yards and the Nittany Lions win.
No 13. Utah (8-3) (7-1 Pac 12)
Utah absolutely hammered Oregon at home in what was a 38-7 victory over the third-ranked Ducks. It goes to show how wrong the committee has been this season, putting that Oregon team ahead of Ohio State when a team who has struggled so much in the past like Utah could just have their way with a presumable playoff squad. With the win, the Utes clinched the Pac 12 South and look forward to their rivalry bout at home against Colorado this week.
No 14. Oregon (9-2) (6-2 Pac 12)
We’ve been touching on this game all night but this was just a morbid loss for Oregon. A win would do so much in terms of their playoff hopes, and prove everyone wrong, but they clearly are not the team some people think they are. This loss was also monumental in terms of divisional races. You’d think the Ducks have the conference championship game on lock but if they do end up losing to Oregon State this week then the Beavers will be the ones playing Utah on December 3rd.
No 15. Pittsburgh (9-2) (6-1 ACC)
Let’s just start off by giving props to Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong who continues to put his team in close games even with some nasty injuries. The Panthers fought off Armstrong’s 487-yard performance last week and secured a 48-38 victory at home. The win secured the ACC Coastal division and moves them up in the ranks as they move one step closer to an NY6 Bowl game appearance.
No 16. Wisconsin (8-3) (6-2 Big 10)
Wisconsin has now reeled off seven straight victories and maintains sole possession of first place in the Big 10 West. The only job they have left is to go into Minnesota and pull out a victory there where they can clinch the division and send themselves to the conference championship with a chance to knock off a playoff-ranked team. The Badgers defense will need to bounce back though as the unit gave up 28 to Nebraska in their one-score win over the Huskers.
No 17. Clemson (8-3) (6-2 ACC)
Four weeks ago, Clemson sat at 4-3 and the season seemed to be finished. Since then, the Tigers have rallied and ripped off a four-game win streak against qualities opponents like Wake Forest. This has put them in a position to even appear in the ACC championship game if Wake slips up against Boston College on the road. Clemson’s ACC regular season is finished and they’ll travel to South Carolina this week to go up against a South Carolina team that has been surprisingly good the past few weeks.
No 18. Wake Forest (9-2) (6-1 ACC)
Wake Forest needed one win to clinch the ACC Atlantic last week and could not get it. They now get their last chance this week against Boston College and losing would be a complete implosion of their season that started out so strong. The country will definitely be rooting for this team as no one wants another Clemson team in the championship game.
No 19. Houston (10-1) (8-0 American)
It wasn’t an impressive victory for the Cougars against Memphis, winning 31-13 but not getting hot until the second quarter. The Cougars clinched their AAC championship game with an undefeated regular-season record in what will be one of the most fun games against Houston we can imagine. There will be a high-flying offense, playoff implications, and a chance at spoiling a perfect season against the Bearcats. Houston does get to have a nice tune-up against UConn this week in a game they will almost certainly win by 30 or more.
No 20. UTSA (11-0) (7-0 CUSA)
The perfect season hung on by a thread last week against a UAB team that we knew would give UTSA troubles. The Roadrunners needed a literal last-second game-winning touchdown to beat the Blazers 34-31 at home in what was one of the most exciting games of the week. The Roadrunners do drop this week because of how close they played a weak opponent but they do remain undefeated and in our rankings. UTSA now takes on 5-6 North Texas before taking on UAB or UTEP once again in the conference championship.
No 21. BYU (9-2)
BYU started off very slowly against Georgia Souther but eventually pulled away in the second half for a 34-17 victory. There are many shouts for this team to be thrown a little higher but when you break it down it’s pretty obvious that they are worth only the 21 spot here. BYU has beaten only one ranked opponent in Utah but has lost to the best team they played, Baylor while losing to 7-4 Boise State at home. With one more game against USC, the Cougars look to take down the Power 5 team that is struggling mightily this season.
No 22. Iowa (9-2) (6-2 Big 10)
Another team that is getting calls for a higher ranking, but once again, it just doesn’t make too much sense. Iowa did beat Illinois last week 33-23 but it was just another slow, non-impressive victory for the Hawkeyes. This team probably has the worst offense in the top 25 and we’ll see if the defense can help them out one more time in Nebraska with a small chance at getting a bid to the conference championship game against a team that would probably blow them out of the water.
No 23. NC State (8-3) (5-2 ACC)
NC State had a great bounce back after their thrilling 42-45 loss to Wake Forest in Week 10. The Wolfpack blew out Syracuse 41-17 at home in a win that shouldn’t go too overlooked. Syracuse has played teams tight and NC State having their way with them was pretty impressive. This team now looks towards their rivalry game with North Carolina in a game where we could see 90 plus points dropped.
No 24. San Diego State (10-1) (6-1 MWC)
San Diego State continues to squeeze out these narrow victories but a win is a win and they deserve to be ranked no matter what. The Aztecs beat UNLV on the road 28-20 which allows them to continue to control their own destiny in the Mountain West. They do have to be careful though because a loss to Boise State could mean Fresno State jumping right over San Diego State and getting themselves into the championship game.
No 25. Louisiana (10-1) (7-0 Sun Belt)
Louisiana had probably their most impressive victory yet, winning 42-14 over Liberty in a game where all eyes were naturally on Malik Willis. The Cajuns were able to dominate Willis, however, and run away with this one early. There is room for this team to continue moving up our rankings with a win over Appalachian State this week and another in the conference championship game.
Outside looking in: Arkansas, Mississippi State, Penn State, Kentucky, Purdue
New teams: Clemson (17)
Dropped out: Arkansas
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