College football rankings: Top 25 B/R after Week 12
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- Georgia (Previous week: 1)
- Ohio State (2)
- Michigan (3)
- TCU (4)
- USC (7)
- LSU (6)
- Alabama (8)
- Oregon (14)
- Clemson (11)
- Tennessee (5)
- Penn State (13)
- Washington (12)
- Utah (9)
- UCLA (16)
- Kansas State (19)
- Florida State (20)
- Notre Dame (17)
- Cincinnati (22)
- North Carolina (10)
- Coastal Carolina (21)
- Tulane (23)
- Oregon State (Unranked)
- Ole Miss (15)
- UTSA (Unranked)
- Boise State (Unranked)
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Week 12 in college football didn’t feature too many ranked vs. ranked matchups, but there was still plenty of drama. Early in the games, both TCU and Michigan needed last-second field goals to escape with wins over Baylor and Illinois, respectively.
Later in the afternoon, Georgia remained undefeated in SEC play with a 16-6 win over Kentucky at home. Ohio State survived a tough road test against Maryland, winning 43-30.
In the nightcap, North Carolina fell at home to a sub-.500 Georgia Tech team 21-17. Tennessee also suffered a shock loss at the hands of South Carolina on the road. USC got a huge boost in the playoffs with a 48-45 road game against UCLA.
Bleacher Report’s college football experts—David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Morgan Moriarty and Brad Shepard—each submitted a Top 25 ballot.
Below is how the crew ranked the college football teams after this week.
Editor’s note: These rankings will be updated after No. 10 Utah vs. No. 12 Oregon is completed.
Bleacher Report’s Post-Week 12 Top 25:
Who’s Hot: TCU Horned Frogs and Michigan Wolverines
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The Horned Frogs and Wolverines both finished the week 11-0. But both games for these teams came to an end.
We’ll start with the TCU game, as the Horned Frogs hit the road for the second week in a row to face Baylor. TCU was just a slight two-point favorite, and that was close all along. In the fourth quarter, Baylor scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Richard Reese to take a 28-20 lead with 9:47 left. The Bears defense recovered a fumble which gave the Baylor offense a small field to work with.
After a punt by both teams, Horned Frogs running back Emari Demercado scored on a three-yard rushing touchdown. But TCU’s two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving Baylor ahead 28-26. TCU’s defense forced Baylor into a three-and-out and got the ball back with 1:30 left.
The Horned Frogs got down to Baylor’s 24 with just 17 seconds left. The last play of the game was utter chaos. With the clock still running, the TCU punter had to rush the field to attempt a field goal. Griffin Kell ran out and nailed the 40 to keep TCU undefeated.
Michigan’s home game against Illinois was just as exciting. Michigan led 7-3 at halftime, but the Wolverines opened the third quarter with a Jake Moody 46-yard scoring run. However, Illinois running back Chase Brown made things interesting. Brown scored two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth on back-to-back possessions and Illinois was able to take a 17-10 lead into the quarter.
But the Wolverines got some much-needed clutch kicking from Moody in the fourth quarter. With 3:14 left, Michigan made it a 17-16 game on a 33-yard field goal by Moody. On the ensuing Illinois possession, the Wolverines’ defense forced a three-and-out, and the Fighting Illini had to punt the ball away.
The Wolverines’ offense did a good job of draining the clock on its final scoring drive, running out just over two minutes of the game clock. Michigan drove to the Illinois 17 and Moody hit a 35-pointer to take a 19-17 lead. Illinois got the ball back with just nine seconds left, which wasn’t enough time to do much.
A win is a win, so I don’t expect TCU or Michigan to move much in the playoff rankings, even with their narrow margins.
Who isn’t: North Carolina Tar Heels
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Unlike TCU and Michigan in Week 12, North Carolina drastically hurts its chances of making the playoffs. North Carolina was facing a Georgia Tech team that was 4-6. Earlier in the year, head coach Jeff Collins was fired and replaced with interim coach Brent Key.
The Tar Heels entered at 9-1 and if they could knock off Clemson in the ACC title game, they would have a shot at getting a bid. But Georgia Tech ended UNC’s playoff hopes. The Yellow Jackets impressively overcame a 17-0 deficit to win 21-17. Georgia Tech began its comeback right before halftime, scoring a touchdown with less than a minute left in the second quarter.
In the second half, the Yellow Jackets scored another 14 unanswered points. UNC had a chance to take the lead with just over four minutes remaining, but Tar Heels receiver Josh Downs dropped Drake Maye’s pass attempt on 4th-and-11, which gave the ball back to Georgia Tech. which left the Yellow Jackets running out the clock.
The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Tar Heels, whose only loss came to Notre Dame earlier in the year. This was also an impressive win for Key, who definitely has a chance to win the Tech job permanently by the end of the season.
Fun Fact: South Carolina’s 63 points were the most ever against an AP Top 5 team
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AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr.
The biggest surprise Saturday came during the Tennessee-South Carolina game in Columbia. Despite Tennessee entering as a 22.5-point favorite — per DraftKings Sportsbook — with possible playoff hopes on the line, the Gamecocks completely dominated the Vols all night.
In the first quarter alone, South Carolina led 21-7. Tennessee made things more competitive in the second quarter, trailing 35-24 at halftime. But the Gamecocks broke things open in the fourth quarter. South Carolina scored 21 points in the final quarter alone and won 63-38 in the most shocking score of the weekend by far.
South Carolina’s offensive outburst against the Vols’ defense was significant for several reasons. For starters, the last time South Carolina scored 56 points against an SEC opponent was in 1995 against Mississippi State. In that game, the Gamecocks put up 65 on the Bulldogs.
Unranked South Carolina’s 63 points against a Top Five opponent overturned Hawai’i’s 59-28 victory against BYU in 1990. But my favorite fun fact of the night—the Gamecocks’ offense scored so many points that the Williams-Brice Stadium ran out of fireworks to shoot after touchdowns.
The biggest playmaker of the night for South Carolina’s offense was quarterback Spencer Rattler. Although the Rattler struggled this season, the quarterback finished with six touchdowns and 438 passing yards. Before the game, Rattler averaged 197 yards passing a game and had eight touchdowns with nine interceptions.
The win for South Carolina marked just the seventh time in school history a win over a Top Five team. What a night for Shane Beamer and this South Carolina team.
Looking ahead: Rivalry Week will help decide some playoff fates
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There are several important matchups that could shape the playoff race next week. The biggest of these is Michigan-Ohio State, which would normally decide the Big Ten East division. But Saturday’s edition of The Game will likely determine a playoff spot.
Michigan beat Ohio State for the first time since 2011 last season, but the Buckeyes are expected to be favored. Before last year, OSU had won the previous eight games over Michigan. The last time the Wolverines won in Columbus was in 2000.
Depending on how close the game is and if some top teams stumble, there’s a chance both Michigan and Ohio State could land a bid, but it’s a bit unlikely.
Elsewhere, TCU will look to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time since 2010. The Horned Frogs will close out the season at home against Iowa State. TCU will likely be favored in this one, but Iowa State has beaten the Horned Frogs in the last three meetings.
Going undefeated is TCU’s best chance to make the playoffs, as losing to a 4-7 Iowa State team certainly wouldn’t be ideal for a playoff run.
Georgia will play Georgia Tech in Athens. The Yellow Jackets are coming off an upset win over North Carolina, but the Dawgs will almost certainly be heavily favored. UGA has won four straight over GT.
Elsewhere outside the Top Four, LSU will play Texas A&M on the road, Clemson will face South Carolina at home and USC will play Notre Dame at home. Alabama will play Auburn at home in an Iron Bowl that has no true postseason implications for the first time in a while. However, this game is always fun.
The rivalry weekend is always important, but Week 13 could make or break some teams’ playoff hopes. What more could you ask for in the final week of the regular season? I can not wait.