My College Football Playoff Rankings Week 12
My Top 25 and the Committee’s Top 25
1) Georgia (11-0) CFP Committee has Georgia at 1)
Georgia is getting the benefit of the doubt for being an undefeated defending champion. Their best win is over a team I have ranked 8th in the nation. The Bulldogs could get a win over the 9th-best team in the nation and solidify their spot at 1).
2) Michigan (11-0) CFP Committee has Michigan at 3)
The reason I have Michigan ranked ahead of my Buckeyes is that I feel like they have fewer question marks about who they are. Even with their top two rushes hurt, including a Heisman frontrunner in Blake Corum, they know who they are, and what they’re going to do. They’re old-school Big Ten. Run, run, run. run, and run some more and try to out tough you. It worked for them last season and is working for them so far this year.
3) Ohio State CFP (11-0) Committee has Ohio State at 2)
Ohio State is vastly improved over last year, but they still have some weaknesses that have been there all season and haven’t been corrected. They still have trouble running between the tackles, attacking the middle of the field, and getting north and south on offense. They also have lots of injuries. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has been out all year, and their two starting running backs Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson have been banged up all year.
The glimmer of hope for the Buckeyes is that when they went with two backs who are 100% they succeeded. Dallan Hayden and Xavier Johnson have given them more options but Ohio State has still had trouble figuring out who to go with and that gives Michigan an edge over them as of now.
4) TCU (11-0) CFP Committee also has TCU at 4)
For all their faults TCU is doing what matters most; they’re winning. As long as they keep winning they’ll get into the top four. Beat Iowa State, and beat likely Kansas State again and they’re in. The critics can hush and chew on the goose egg the Horned Frogs have in the loss column.
5) USC (10-1) CFP Committee has USC at 6)
USC and Clemson should both be above LSU. It’s simple math, USC is 10-1, Clemson is 10-1, and LSU is 9-2. USC should be in if they win out. They should jump the loser of the Ohio State-Michigan game. If they beat Notre Dame (who is playing very well) and then beat (most likely) Oregon, they should be in.
6) Clemson (10-1) CFP Committee has Clemson at 8)
Clemson is right there with USC. I put more value on the team leading in the Pac-12 and the team leading in the ACC than I do the team that’s essentially third in the SEC as LSU is (Georgia and Tennessee are ahead of them).
7) Penn State (9-2) CFP Committee has Penn State at 11)
Penn State is the best two-loss team to me. They aren’t getting credit because they lost to the two best teams on their schedule. But those two teams are in the top three. Of their nine wins, eight of them have been by double-digits.
8) Tennessee (9-2) CFP Committee has Tennessee at 10)
I know Tennessee just took one on the chin but they still need to be ranked above LSU because they knocked LSU on their backsides when they played head-to-head and they have the same record. That win has to count for something and to me, it counts the Vols ahead of the Tigers.
9) LSU (9-2) CFP Committee has LSU at 5)
LSU is getting more out of their win over Alabama than the Vols are and that’s saying something. LSU struggling to beat Arkansas who didn’t have their star quarterback K.J. Jefferson at the time also a factor in them being here. Don’t get me wrong, LSU still has a clear path to the playoffs even at #9. I think they need some help and some chaos in the other Power 5 Conferences, but given how this season has gone that amount of help doesn’t seem too far out of reach.
10) Washington (9-2) CFP Committee has Washington at 13)
Part of having Washington ranked this high is that they beat the Oregon Ducks head-to-head and the Ducks have beaten UCLA and Utah. Washington needs Oregon State to help them get to the Pac-12 Championship Game against USC to play for the Rose Bowl.
11) Alabama (9-2) CFP Committee has Alabama at 7)
Playing Austin Peay in late November caught up to the Tide this year, and so has rival Auburn’s struggles. The Tide have also had plenty of close games this season. Five of them decided by a touchdown or less and in unusual fashion have only gone 3-2 in those contests. Still, a New Year’s Six Bowl is very possible and should be likely, for Nick Saban and Alabama.
12) Oregon (9-2) CFP Committee has Oregon at 9)
Oregon might be out of the playoff picture but beating an 8-3 Oregon State, and then an 11-1 USC would certainly help their case, but two losses seem to be too much for a Pac-12 team to overcome. Still, a Rose Bowl in Dan Lanning’s first year would be a good feat for the Ducks’ program.
13) Coastal Carolina (9-1) CFP Committee has Coastal Carolina Unranked
I’m having a tough time figuring out what to do with Chanticleers. They’ll only get 12 games this year because a game was rightly canceled because of a tragedy at Virginia that goes beyond football. If they win their finale and win the Sun Belt and the AAC Champion is a three-loss UCF, I’d hold to my belief that Coastal Carolina should be the Group of 5 representative in the New Year’s Six.
14) North Carolina (9-2) CFP Committee has North Carolina at 17)
While their close loss to Notre Dame wasn’t looking so bad in hindsight the Tar Heels fell flat against Georgia Tech and hurt their resume. They can still win their division and the ACC but their hopes of a playoff appearance and a Heisman (at least this year) for phenom Drake Maye were totaled by the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech.
15) Cincinnati (9-2) CFP Committee has Cincinnati at 24)
The Bearcats are right where they want to be, on the verge of a third straight New Year’s Six game. If they beat Tulane and win a rematch with UCF, they’ll get in as the Group of 5 representative and will be looking to be one of the top teams in the Big 12 next year. Luke Fickell is a fantastic coach and has UC fans rooting for Ohio State and Ryan Day because that is the only job Coach Fickell would ever even consider leaving Cincinnati for.
16) UTSA (9-2) CFP Committee has UTSA unranked.
The Roadrunners are having a fantastic season with star quarterback Frank Harris. Since their early close losses to Houston and Texas, they have won eight straight. I have to have them ranked for their body of work and nine wins this season. Nine wins in Conference USA has to mean more than seven wins in a Power 5 Conference.
17) Notre Dame (8-3) CFP Committee has Notre Dame at 15)
The Irish are the best three-loss team in America and have scored at least 35 points in their five-game winning streak including against Clemson. If the Irish can upset USC in the L.A. Coliseum they could very well be slated for a New Year’s Six game at 9-3.
18) Troy (9-2) CFP Committee has Troy Unranked
The Sun Belt should be given more love considering they’ve upset Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Notre Dame this season. Troy has a fantastic defense and will likely face Coastal Carolina in the conference title game and have a shot at 11 or 12 wins.
19) South Alabama (9-2) CFP Committee has South Alabama Unranked
South Alabama nearly beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl this year, the same UCLA that took USC to the wire in the same building. Getting to nine and possibly ten wins in a regular season is worthy of the top 25, regardless of conference or schedule.
20) Tulane (9-2) CFP Committee has Tulane at 19)
Tulane still has everything in front of them. Beat Cincinnati and get another crack at UCF for the conference title and likely a New Year’s Six berth. Their upset of Kansas State is helping them still and will as long as the Wildcats keep winning.
21) Kansas State (8-3) CFP Committee has Kansas State at 12)
Kansas State’s head-to-head loss to Tulane has me keeping them behind the Green Wave in the rankings, even though the Wildcats are one win away from playing for the Big 12 title and an automatic New Year’s Six berth.
22) Florida State (8-3) CFP Committee has Florida State at 16)
The ‘Noles are playing well headed into rivalry weekend. Mike Norvell finally has the team where they want to be. They’re early season win over LSU is a boost to them and a thorn in the side of the Tigers as every game gets analyzed late in the season.
23) UCLA (8-3) CFP Committee has UCLA at 18)
The Bruins have had one of their best seasons in a long time thanks to Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Zach Charbonnet, and Chip Kelly. While 8-3 isn’t where they want to be, they were competitive in every big game and even won some of them in beating Washington and Utah.
24) Utah (8-3) CFP Committee has Utah at 14)
The Utes’ dreams of back-to-back Rose Bowls may be gone but they have nothing to be ashamed of and can still get to double-digit wins. Some are calling for them to play their rival BYU in a bowl game and if shakes out that way I think both sides would be thrilled to have a classic one more time.
25) Ole Miss (8-3) CFP Committee has Ole Miss at 20)
Ole Miss is a consistent and ever-growing threat in the SEC West under Lane Kiffin. The Egg Bowl against Mississippi State on Thanksgiving Night looks to be another classic between two great and colorful coaches in Kiffin and Bulldogs coach Mike Leach.
Teams I have ranked that the CFP Committee does not:
13) Coastal Carolina (9-1)
16) UTSA (9-2)
18) Troy (9-2)
19) South Alabama (9-2)
Teams the CFP Committee has ranked that I do not:
21) Oregon State (8-3)
22) UCF (8-3)
23) Texas (7-4)
25) Louisville (7-4)
I have trouble putting any 8-3 team ahead of a team that is 9-2. I think credit has to be given to teams for doing better with the schedule they have than another team doing worse with the schedule they have. Hence why I have four teams in the top 25 the CFP Committee does not. The bowl games will be either vindicating to my rankings or a heaping plate of crow.
Head-to-head matchups matter as well, most especially when teams have identical records. Hence why I have Tennessee ranked ahead of LSU, Washington ahead of Oregon, Troy ahead of South Alabama, Tulane ahead of Kansas State, and UCLA ahead of Utah.
New Year’s Six Bowls Projections
Peach Bowl (Semi-Final) Georgia vs. USC
Fiesta Bowl (Semi-Final) Michigan vs. TCU
Cotton Bowl – Tennessee vs Penn State
Rose Bowl – Ohio State vs Washington
Orange Bowl – Cincinnati vs Alabama
Sugar Bowl – LSU vs Kansas State
Championship Game in Los Angeles Georgia over Michigan
College Football Playoff Rankings (Nov. 1)
College Football Playoff Rankings (Nov. 8)
College Football Playoff Rankings (Nov. 15)
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