Tomorrow’s Top 25 Today: USC, Clemson’s Playoff Profiles Improve on Jumps in College Rankings

Tomorrow’s Top 25 Today: USC, Clemson’s Playoff Profiles Improve on Jumps in College Rankings

The razor-thin margin for error in college football was evident throughout Week 12’s results and scores. It was a week where the scoreboard showed a few upsets for the top 25 teams, but we were also a few steps away from total chaos in the college football rankings.

No. 1 Georgia was backed into the red zone by Kentucky, holding a 10-point lead with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter before forcing a missed field goal and a turnover on downs to remain undefeated. No. 2 Ohio State, also on the road against an unranked opponent, led by just three points late in the contest against Maryland. Meanwhile, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU won thanks to last-second field goals. If a few plays (or even just a few shots) had different results, AP Top 25 voters would be faced with the tough challenge of sorting out the carnage on their updated ballots.

That doesn’t mean voters’ job will be easy after Saturday’s results.

Debates about scope of work versus recent results will be on full display with Tennessee coming off a stunning 63-38 loss to South Carolina. The Volunteers are now 9-2 with wins against Alabama and LSU, but a loss Saturday night as a 22-point favorite could send Tennessee falling behind one or both of those SEC foes. A similar preserve will have an even lower ranking after Ole Miss lost for the second week in a row, this time to unranked Arkansas. The Rebels are 8-3 and are just one score away from last week’s loss, when looking for quality wins voters must determine how valuable close wins against Kentucky and Texas A&M are compared to other three-loss teams.

By night’s end, five of the top 16 teams in the AP Top 25 will have losses, giving plenty of opportunities for other teams to advance. The most benefited from the limited chaos were USC and Clemson, who each took care of business (in very different ways) to stay atop their respective conferences entering Week 13. If both can win, College Football The playoff selection committee may have some extremely tough decisions to make on Selection Sunday.

Here’s how we think the new AP Top 25 will look on Sunday:

1. Georgia (last week — 1): The absence of an obvious challenger for the No. 1 spot maintains the status quo as the Bulldogs remain at No. 1 after a 16-6 victory at Kentucky.

2. Ohio State (2): The Buckeyes might grab a few more first-place votes after pouring in points late in a 43-30 win at Maryland, but voters following the results throughout the day will note that this was a three-point game deep in the fourth quarter. Freshman running back Dallan Hayden had a scoring performance with 146 yards and three touchdowns, all after halftime as Ohio State overcame an early deficit to take control of the game in the third quarter.

3. Michigan (3): There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about Michigan coming off Saturday’s win against Illinois — from Blake Corum’s health to how often scoring opportunities end in field goal attempts — but just holding on for a win will be enough to stay in the game. top five in the ranking.

4. TCU (4): The dream season continues for TCU thanks to quarterback Max Duggan leading several fourth-quarter scoring drives, opening the door for a potential jump into the top three in the rankings. Our projection is that AP voters will maintain last week’s order, but the playoff committee has fewer voters, so it may be more volatile. TCU could finish No. 4 on Sunday, but No. 3 on Tuesday night thanks to a game-winning field goal at Baylor.

5. USC (7): The Trojans went on a 14-0 run after the first quarter, outscoring the Bruins by 17 over the final 45 minutes for a 48-45 victory to become the only team to lose one in the Pac-12. With Tennessee falling and USC impressive down the stretch while clinching a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the Trojans should leapfrog two-loss LSU into fifth.

6. LSU (6): The Tigers enjoyed their Senior Day festivities with a 41-10 dismantling of UAB. Next up is a trip to College Station to face Texas A&M, followed by the SEC Championship game against Georgia.

7. Clemson (9): With the 40-10 win against Miami, the Tigers have now won 40 straight games at home. Thanks to some of Saturday’s results elsewhere, things are looking up for Clemson’s CFP chances. It is just the ninth 40-game home streak in FBS history, the first since Nebraska won 47 consecutive home games from 1991-98.

8. Tennessee (5): The injury to star QB Hendon Hooker added layers of disappointment for a program that lost its playoff hopes with a lopsided loss to a division opponent.

9. Alabama (8): No major adjustments to the 34-0 win against FCS Austin Peay.

10. Oregon (12): With a win over Utah, the Ducks are sure to jump into the top 10, but what’s the ceiling? Look for Oregon to go as high as 8th, but our official projection is for Dan Lanning’s crew to take the Utes’ spot at 10th.

11. Penn State (11): While chaos ensues over Penn State’s position in the polls, the Nittany Lions were one of the few ranked teams to absolutely live up to expectations of dominance with a 55-10 win against Rutgers.

12. Washington (15): The Huskies will advance thanks to changes in the top 16 and a dominant 54-7 win against Colorado.

13. Notre Dame (18): Since joining the roster deal in 2014, Notre Dame is now 40-7 in regular season games against the ACC after a 44-0 win against Boston College. The Fighting Irish, now 8-3 on the year, closed out their home slate with their 28th straight regular season win against an ACC opponent. They face USC on the road in the regular season finale next week.

14. Kansas State (19): Winners of three of their last four, the Wildcats are closing in on a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game after pouring in 41 first-half points and holding on to an early lead en route to a 17-point victory at West Virginia. A win against rival Kansas next week gives Kansas State a chance at a rematch with TCU in Dallas for the conference title.

15. UCLA (16): The Bruins gave up a 14-point lead in the first quarter and a four-point lead in the third as they fell to the Trojans in a key position. With back-to-back losses and now three in the last five weeks, the goodwill UCLA received at the start of the season can now be overlooked given its tough finish.

16. Utah (10): The tally came from a ranking perspective for Utah, a three-loss team on the year but with a win against the Pac-12’s only one-loss team. The win over USC provided some strength in the rankings that outweighed losses to Florida and UCLA, but now that Utah enters the three-game debate after losing to Oregon, the Bruins’ head-to-head advantage could determine how those teams stack up. stack up in the rankings.

17. Florida State (20): The Seminoles scored touchdowns on five of six possessions in the first half and never let visiting Louisiana get competitive, cruising to a 49-17 victory.

18. Tulane (21): Thursday night’s AAC showdown with SMU was expected to be a tough test for the Green Wave after last week’s loss to UCF, but the Mustangs turned the ball over five times and Tulane took advantage of the spotlight with a 59-24 win that would should impress the voters.

19. Cincinnati (22): Now 9-2 after a 20-point win at Temple, Cincinnati can play its way to a fourth straight AAC title appearance if it beats Tulane on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

20. Coastal Carolina (23): Saturday’s game against Virginia was canceled as the school and community used Saturday to honor the three UVA players killed in last weekend’s tragic campus shooting.

21. North Carolina (13): The best thing North Carolina has going for it in terms of standings is just two losses after losing 21-17 at home to Georgia Tech. The drop from 13th to last in the standings is too drastic to adjust for this point in the season, but the drop will be dramatic given the disappointing result (losing as a 21-point favorite) and the lack of profile in the high-end win profile.

22. Ole Miss (14): The last four results for Ole Miss give some insight into where the Rebels stack up against the top teams in the country. There are three losses — by 25 to LSU, by six to Alabama and by 15 to unranked Arkansas — and the only win in three at Texas A&M. Ole Miss is a few times away from being 9-2 with a top-10 win, but also a few times away from being 7-4 and a top-25. rankings after Saturday’s loss in Fayetteville.

23. Oregon State (25): The Beavers have now won eight games for the first time since 2012 after a convincing 31-7 road win over Arizona State. They’ll have a chance to solidify their chances to finish the season ranked next week against Oregon.

24. Texas (NR): We predict the Longhorns will once again make their way up the rankings. Not only was Texas one of the top vote-getters in last week’s poll outside the top 25, but there will be some “sticker shock” for voters who may have expected Saturday’s game at Kansas to be a potential upset and instead saw a dominating 55-14 Longhorns win.

25. UCF (17): There will be a drop for UCF in every vote after a 17-14 home loss to Navy, but the Knights will likely receive enough votes to stay in the top 25. Now 8-3, UCF has wins against Tulane and Cincinnati but losses to Louisville, ECU and the Navy. The Midshipmen went 3-7 early in the game, handing the Knights their worst loss of the season. Still, UCF is a team with just three losses and two wins against other teams in the top 25.

Projected Dropout: Oklahoma State (24)

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