My College Football Playoff Rankings Week 13
My Top 25 and the Committee’s Top 25
1) Georgia (12-0) CFP Committee has Georgia at 1)
The Dawgs are still the Dawgs and have the champion’s advantage. Although if they struggle to beat LSU I wouldn’t be opposed to having Michigan jump them to the number one spot. In fact I predict IF (and it’s a big if) both USC and TCU were to be upset, Michigan would be #1, Georgia #2, Ohio State #3, and Tennessee or Alabama #4.
2) Michigan (12-0) CFP Committee has Michigan at 2)
Georgia and Michigan are both in such favorable positions that if they were both upset they would both still be in the final four and maybe even stay in the top two, that’s how good they’ve looked this year. TCU, USC, Ohio State, Tennessee, Alabama; these two are ready for anyone even teams they’ve crushed already who would be out looking for redemption like Tennessee and Ohio State.
3) TCU (12-0) CFP Committee also has TCU at 3)
TCU’s dream season marches on. Beat a tough and scrappy Kansas State team again and you’re in. If USC and Caleb Williams come up short on Friday, Max Duggan may be playing for the Heisman as well. While I’ve talked about possible scenarios should the Horned Frogs fall, I don’t believe that they will. They will get to 13-0 and play Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl.
4) USC (11-1) CFP Committee has USC at 4)
Like with TCU, the possibility of an SC loss has been discussed but I don’t see it happening. As long as he is competent and they beat Utah Caleb Williams will have the Heisman. Lincoln Riley will have another Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and another date with the SEC in the College Football Playoff. With a record of 0-3, Riley might be due.
5) Ohio State CFP (11-1) Committee has Ohio State at 5)
The best hopes for Ryan Day and all Buckeyes everywhere is that the dominos fall and allow them to fall butt first into the playoffs, where they pull a Georgia from last year. Win the first round, face their hated foe in the second and win some redemption. Buckeye Nation will have to keep dreaming. Another Rose Bowl is up for them and they’ll be playing against another hungry team, the Washington Huskies and old Indiana foe Michael Penix. Ohio State will likely eat another loss and the wolves at the door hungry for Ryan Day’s job will only grow more rabid.
6) Penn State (10-2) CFP Committee has Penn State at 8)
Given how well they’ve played in all their wins and that their only two losses are to who I consider to be two of the best five teams in the country, the Nittany Lions are the best two loss team in America. They’ll very likely get a New Years’ Six Bowl most likely the Cotton Bowl but maybe the Rose Bowl if some dominos fall correctly.
7) Tennessee (10-2) CFP Committee has Tennessee at 7)
Hendon Hooker or no Hendon Hooker, I have to have the Vols here and above Alabama. That 52-49 win for Tennessee has to have some meaning. Josh Heupel, Joe Milton, and the talented cast around them played just as big a part in the Vols success as Hooker did. Tennessee should get one of the New Years’ Six and will play well in it.
8) Alabama (10-2) CFP Committee has Alabama at 6)
Alabama should be headed to the Orange Bowl with an at-large bid. No scenario that plays out on Championship Weekend should have them going anywhere else. But because they are Alabama and because Nick Saban is their coach, I would not be surprised at all that if one or two of the top four fell, that Alabama would vault into one of those spots on the list.
9) Washington (10-2) CFP Committee has Washington at 12)
The Huskies are having a program reviving season and no one is more ticked off about the Pac-12 abolishing divisions this year otherwise it would be Washington battle USC in Las Vegas on Friday. Alas if the Trojans win the Huskies are probably bound for the Rose Bowl where they’ll likely take on Ohio State in another matchup set to feature high flying offenses.
10) Clemson (10-2) CFP Committee has Clemson at 9)
Clemson’s loss to South Carolina is even worse than Tennessee’s. They didn’t lose a Hendon Hooker, they had homefield advantage, and playoff hopes on the line. Like the Buckeyes they laid an egg. Unlike the Buckeyes Clemson can still win a conference championship. Anyone counting out Clemson is doing so at their own peril.
11) Tulane (10-2) CFP Committee has Tulane at 18)
Tulane will be heavily favored to win their rematch with UCF with the winner of that game headed to Dallas and the Cotton Bowl. The hubub about Willie Fritz and his career path could cost Tulane as UCF wants to be the underdog one last time before they go to the Big 12.
12) UTSA (10-2) CFP Committee has UTSA unranked.
Only 14 teams out of 131 finished the regular season with 10 or more wins. This must be awarded and that’s why they are in my rankings. UTSA, Troy, and South Alabama all deserve some recognition. Will giving them respect I only put one team that’s projected going to a New Years’ Six Bowl ranked beneath them and that’s because 10-2 is better than 9-3.
13) Troy (10-2) CFP Committee has Troy Unranked
Troy will square up against Coastal Carolina this coming championship weekend and if they win will make things interesting in my view. If Troy wins and UCF beats Tulane for a second time, I would put an 11-2 Troy in the Cotton Bowl over a 10-3 UCF. The committee won’t do that in said scenario, but for my money they should if that’s what happens.
14) South Alabama (10-2) CFP Committee has South Alabama Unranked
Not bad for a school that’s football program only began 13 years ago and have only been in the FBS 10 years. Kane Wommack has done a terrific job in only two seasons there, going from 5-7 to 10-2 is worth noting no matter where in the FBS your school is.
15) Kansas State (9-3) CFP Committee has Kansas State at 10)
The Wildcats will lots of fans in Ohio, Tennessee, and Alabama when they take on TCU. K-State had a good game offensively and moved the ball well against TCU but didn’t slow the Horned Frogs down at all. Likely with either outcome the Wildcats will be going to a big time bowl game.
16) Florida State (9-3) CFP Committee has Florida State at 13)
It feels like the ‘Noles are finally breaking through and on their way to returning to their prominence of the not too distant past. Mike Norvell has them poised to continue to get better and be in a good bowl game.
17) UCLA (9-3) CFP Committee has UCLA at 17)
UCLA is on the same track back to greatness as Florida State is. Chip Kelly has gotten his program to play like the Chip Kelly teams of old. Now for one last hurrah with Dorian-Thompson Robinson before the Bruins move on to their next chapter.
18) Oregon State (9-3) CFP Committee has Oregon State at 15)
Jonathan Smith and the Beavers have improved every season since he took over in 2018, with the exception of the Covid shortened season of 2020. They went from 2-10, to 5-7. to 7-6, to 9-3. The Pac-12 is becoming one of the most well rounded conferences top to bottom and that in part is because of the improvement of teams that used to be on the bottom rung of the ladder.
19) Oregon (9-3) CFP Committee has Oregon at 16)
The Ducks roller coaster year came to an odd and rough end when they fell to instate rival Oregon State. Still Bo Nix and Oregon have had some memorable games and will likely give their faithful fans one more in a bowl game.
20) Utah (9-3) CFP Committee has Utah at 11)
The Utes are looking to get into back-to-back Rose Bowls. It’s fairly certain that at least one of the two teams from last season’s Rose Bowl will get in and possibly both. If the Utes beat USC again to get to the Rose Bowl that may clear a path for the Buckeyes to get into the playoff. Round II between USC and Utah in Las Vegas is Friday.
21) UCF (9-3) CFP Committee has UCF at 22)
The Knights are looking to be the chief spoiler one last time before they like Gonzaga in basketball become one of the big guys. Gus Malzahn has done a good job continuing the success of Scott Frost and Josh Heupel and will be a good fit as they go into the Big 12. If they defeat Tulane I think there would be a good debate to be had between them and Troy of the Sun Belt.
22) Boise State (9-3) CFP Committee has Boise State unranked
Boise State is likely to be the Mountain West Champion this year but that their work cut out for them with Fresno State this week. Early in the year, they made a change at offensive coordinator when it looked like they were going to make an early change at head coach, and it has worked out well for them as they are perfect 8-0 in the Mountain West in 2022.
23) LSU (9-3) CFP Committee has LSU at 14)
LSU had a real shot at being the first two-loss team to make the playoff until their debacle against Texas A&M. Still an SEC title and a Sugar Bowl bid would be pretty great for any first year head coach, but especially Brian Kelly at LSU.
24) North Carolina (9-3) CFP Committee has North Carolina at 23)
Like LSU it seemed like UNC had a shot at the top four just a couple of weeks ago and all of a sudden the wind left their sails. Like the Tigers though, the Tar Heels still have a shot to get their conference’s New Year’s Six Bowl; the Orange Bowl. They have to go through Clemson to get there.
25) Texas (8-4) CFP Committee has Texas at 20)
Texas isn’t where they want to be but it certainly seems they are on their way there. Bijan Robinson is likely headed to the NFL but Quinn Ewers seems to be the real deal and the program will be built and humming by the time star Arch Manning starts playing. Sark has the Horns on the right trail.
Teams I have ranked that the CFP Committee does not:
16) UTSA (10-2)
18) Troy (10-2)
19) South Alabama (10-2)
Teams the CFP Committee has ranked that I do not:
19) South Carolina
21) Notre Dame
24) Mississippi State
25) N.C. State
New Year’s Six Bowls Projections
Peach Bowl (Semi-Final) Georgia vs. USC
This would be a tough game to try to predict, as I think USC’s offense is more balanced and well rounded than any offense the Dawgs have seen this year. But the Bulldogs are still themselves and play outstanding defense. The other matchup is also one that would be more even than most would think. The Trojan defense is good at forcing turnovers and this would be an almost even game, but I’d give the advantage to Kirby Smart like in the 2017 season’s Rose Bowl.
Fiesta Bowl (Semi-Final) Michigan vs. TCU
I would worry about TCU in this matchup. I see a lot of parallels between TCU and Ohio State and we saw how well they played against Michigan. I imagine though that TCU’s coaches would have the Horned Frogs better prepared and not just think all they have to do is talk like Urban Meyer and that will win them the game. Sonny Dykes has been around the block and would have his team give them a game, but I still think the wolverines would win.
Cotton Bowl – Penn State vs. Tulane
This would be a good match but I think the Nittany Lions would win like they did after the 2019 season when they payed Memphis in the Cotton Bowl. It wouldn’t be easy but James Franklin’s crew would get it done. They would definitely have an advantage if Willie Fritz were taking a coaching job elsewhere. Penn State would emerge victorious.
Rose Bowl – Ohio State vs. Washington
This one could be ugly for the Buckeyes. They would run into some hungry Huskies and they themselves be already defeated. You could see it in their body language in The Game that when they had a fourth quarter deficit in their hearts The Game was over. A Washington team out to prove themselves could absolutely crush a Buckeye team that in their hearts feel they should be elsewhere. The Huskies would win their first Rose Bowl in a couple of decades.
Orange Bowl – Clemson vs. Alabama
It would be the first time the contest between these two hadn’t been in the playoff or national title game since 2008 but I don’t think it would be any less entertaining. Round VI of Saban versus Swinney would be entertaining and maybe a solid springboard going into 2023. My money would be on the Tide and Nick Saban.
Sugar Bowl – Tennessee vs. Kansas State
If you would have told Kansas State and Tennessee fans before the season that they would have ended up here they would have been thrilled. It would be a good matchup too and it would depend on how well Joe Milton had gotten into the role of the starting quarterback. Heupel would have him ready and Tennessee would be Sugar Bowl Champions.
Championship Game in L.A. – Georgia over Michigan
Like The Game I don’t see this game being any different this season as opposed to last. Both teams lost lots of talent both teams are going to be here anyway. The Georgia defense would succeed in stopping the run and making J.J. McCarthy have to throw to beat them and Georgia and Kirby Smart are much better at defense than the others who’ve tried that against Michigan. The Bulldogs win the rematch and their second straight national championship.