Tomorrow’s Top 25 Today: USC, Clemson improve playoff profiles amid jumps in college football rankings

The razor-thin margin for error in college football showed in Week 12’s scores and results. It was a week in which the leaderboard showed a few setbacks for top 25 teams, but we were also a few leaps away from utter chaos in college football rankings.

No. Backed by Kentucky in the red zone, Georgia held a 10-point lead with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter before a missed field goal and a turnover on downs were forced to go undefeated. No. 2 Ohio State, also on the road against an unranked opponent, led by just three points late in a battle with Maryland. Meanwhile, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU both won thanks to last-minute field goals. If a few plays (or even just a few kicks) yielded different results, the AP Top 25 voters would face a difficult challenge to resolve the carnage in their updated ballots.

That’s not to say voters’ task will be an easy one in the wake of Saturday’s results.

The debates over the body of work against the recent results will be on full display with Tennessee’s slots after a stunning 63-38 loss in South Carolina. The Volunteers are now 9-2 and have had wins against both Alabama and LSU, but Saturday night’s defeat as the 22-point favorite could put Tennessee behind one or both SEC foes. A similar retention will come down the rankings after Ole Miss lost for the second week in a row, this time in unranked Arkansas. The Rebels are 8-3 and fell just one score short of tipping last week, as voters look for quality wins should determine how valuable close wins against Kentucky and at Texas A&M compare to other three-loss teams.

By the end of the night, five teams from the top 16 in the AP Top 25 will have suffered losses, giving other teams plenty of opportunities to move up the ranks. Most benefiting from the limited chaos were USC and Clemson, each managing their affairs (in very different ways) to stay on top of their respective conferences going into Week 13. make decisions on Selection Sunday.

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

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

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

3. Michigan (3): There’s a lot to worry about for Michigan coming out of Saturday’s win against Illinois — from Blake Corum’s health to how often scoring chances seem to end in field goal attempts — but just holding on to a win is 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 a pair of scoring drives in the fourth quarter, opening the door for a potential jump to the top three in the rankings. Our projection is that the AP voters will maintain last week’s order, but the playoff committee will have fewer voters and so could be more volatile. TCU could finish No. 4 on Sunday, but No. 3 on Tuesday night thanks to the game-winning field goal at Baylor.

5.USC (7): The Trojans rallied from 14–0 after the first quarter and defeated the Bruins 17 in the final 45 minutes for a 48–45 victory to remain the only team with one loss in the Pac-12. With Tennessee falling and USC impressing on the stretch as it clinched a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the Trojans LSU should jump to fifth with two losses.

6. LSU (6): The Tigers enjoyed the Senior Day festivities with a 41-10 dismantling of UAB. Next is a trip to College Station to take on Texas A&M and then the SEC Championship Game against Georgia.

7. Clemson (9): With a 40-10 win against Miami, the Tigers have now won 40 home games in a row. Thanks to some Saturday results elsewhere, things are looking good for Clemson’s CFP odds. This is only the ninth 40-game winning streak in FBS history, the first since Nebraska won 47 straight home games from 1991-98.

8. Tennessee (5): Star QB Hendon Hooker’s injury has added disappointment to a schedule that saw playoff hopes dashed by the lopsided loss of a division foe.

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

10.Oregon (12): By beating Utah, the Ducks look certain to jump into the top 10, but what’s the ceiling? See if Oregon is as high as No. 8, but our official expectation is that Dan Lanning’s crew will take the Utes spot at No. 10.

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

12.Washington (15): The Huskies will rise thanks to a top 16 upset and a dominant 54-7 win against Colorado.

13. Notre Dame (18): Since joining a scheduling 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 list with their 28th straight regular season win against an ACC opponent. They take on USC on the road in next week’s regular season finale.

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

15.UCL (16): The Bruins gave up a 14-point lead in the first quarter and a four-point lead in the third quarter as they fell to the Trojans in key position. With back-to-back losses and now three in the past five weeks, the goodwill UCLA received early in the season may now be overlooked given the rough end to the season.

16. Utah (10): The bill is due from a ranking perspective to Utah, a team with three losses a year but a win against the Pac-12’s only team with one loss. Beating USC has provided some ranking power over the losses to Florida and UCLA, but as Utah enters the debate of three-loss teams after a loss to Oregon, the head-to-head lead for the Bruins could determine how these teams stack up in the rankings.

17. State of Florida (20): The Seminoles scored touchdowns on five of six possessions in the first half and never allowed a visit from Louisiana to become competitive, en route to a 49–17 victory.

18. Tulane (21): A Thursday night AAC showdown with SMU was expected to be a tough test for the Green Wave in the wake of last week’s narrow loss to UCF, but the Mustangs turned the ball around five times and Tulane seized the spotlight opportunity with a victory of 59-24. that should impress voters.

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

20. Carolina Coast (23): Saturday’s game against Virginia was canceled as the school and community took Saturday off to honor the three UVA players who died in the tragic campus shooting last weekend.

21. North Carolina (13): The best North Carolina has to offer in terms of rankings is that it suffers just two losses after falling 21-17 at home to Georgia Tech. Dropping out of the rankings from No. 13 altogether is too drastic an adjustment for this point in the season, but the fall will be dramatic given both the disappointing result (losing as a 21-point favourite) and the profile’s lack of profile. high end victories.

22. Ole Miss (14): The last four results for Ole Miss give little insight into where the Rebels stand against the best teams in the country. There are three losses – with 25 to LSU, with six to Alabama and with 15 to Unranked Arkansas – and a lone three win at Texas A&M. Ole Miss is a few plays away from 9-2 with a top-10 win, but also a few plays away from 7-4 and out of the top 25. As it stands, we’ve got Lane Kiffin’s team in . the ranking after Saturday night’s loss in Fayetteville.

23. State of Oregon (25): The Beavers have now won eight games for the first time since 2012 after a convincing 31-7 victory over Arizona State. They will have a chance to solidify their season-ending chances next week against Oregon.

24. Texas (NR): We predict the Longhorns will break back in the rankings. Not only was Texas one of the top voters in last week’s voting outside the top 25, but there will also be “sticker shock” for voters who may have expected Saturday’s game in Kansas to be a potential upset and in instead a dominant 55-14 Longhorns win.

25.UCF (17): There will be a drop for UCF on every ballot after the 17-14 home loss to Navy, but the Knights will likely get enough votes to remain in the top 25. Now 8-3, UCF has wins against Tulane and Cincinnati but losses to Louisville, ECU and Navy. The Midshipmen were 3-7 going into the game, handing the Knights their biggest loss of the season. Still, UCF is a team with only three losses and two wins against other teams in the top 25.

Expected to drop out: Oklahoma State (24)

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