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

The tiny margin of error in college football was on display throughout the Week 12 scores and results. It was a week where the scoring showed a couple of upsets for the top 25 teams, but we also came within a few total chaos rebounds in the college football rankings.

No. 1 Georgia was backed into the red zone by Kentucky, leading by 10 points with 5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter before forcing a missed field goal and a turnover on tries to remain 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 won thanks to last-second field goals. If a few plays (or even a couple of kicks) had different results, the top 25 AP voters would be faced with a tough challenge to sort out the carnage on their updated ballots.

That’s not to say the voters’ job will be easy after Saturday’s results.

Debates over the body of work vs. recent results will be on full display with Tennessee’s assignment after a stunning 63-38 loss at South Carolina. The Volunteers are now 9-2 with wins against Alabama and LSU, but Saturday night’s loss as a 22-point favorite could see Tennessee fall behind one or both of those SEC foes. A similar conservation will be held further down the rankings after Ole Miss lost for the second week in a row, this time at unranked Arkansas. The Rebels are 8-3 and came just one score away from falling last week, when looking for quality wins, voters must determine how valuable close wins against Kentucky and at Texas A&M are compared to other teams in three losses.

By the end of the night, five teams out of the top 16 in the AP Top 25 will have suffered losses, providing plenty of opportunities for other teams to move up. The ones who benefited the most from the limited chaos were USC and Clemson, who took care of business (in quite different ways) to remain on top of their respective conferences entering Week 13. If both can win, the Selection Committee The College Football Playoffs can have some extremely difficult ones. decisions to be made on Selection Sunday.

Here’s what we think the new AP Top 25 will look like 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 following a 16-6 win at Kentucky.

2. Ohio State (2): The Buckeyes could get a few more first-place votes after racking up points late in a 43-30 win at Maryland, but voters tracking scores throughout the day will note this was a fourth-quarter three-point game. . Freshman running back Dallan Hayden had a strong performance with 146 yards and three touchdowns, all coming after halftime as Ohio State overcame an early deficit and took control of the game in the third quarter.

3. Michigan (3): There’s a lot to worry about as Michigan emerges from Saturday’s win against Illinois, from the health of Blake Corum to the frequency with which scoring chances seem to end in field goal attempts, but simply hoping for a win will be enough to stay in the top five of the ranking.

4.TCU (4): The dream season continues for TCU as quarterback Max Duggan leads a pair of fourth-quarter scoring drives, opening the door for a potential jump into the top three in the standings. Our projection is that AP voters will maintain the order from last week, but the playoff committee has fewer voters, so it may be more volatile. TCU could finish at 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 a 14-0 deficit after the first quarter, outscoring the Bruins by 17 in the final 45 minutes for a 48-45 victory to remain the only team with a loss in the Pac-12. With Tennessee going down and USC impressing down the stretch as it clinched a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the Trojans should lead LSU from two losses to fifth place.

6. LSU (6): The Tigers enjoyed the Día del Mayor festivities with a 41-10 upset of UAB. Next is a trip to College Station to face Texas A&M, then the SEC Championship Game against Georgia.

7. Clemson (9): With a 40-10 victory against Miami, the Tigers have now won 40 straight home games. Thanks to some of Saturday’s results elsewhere, things are looking up for Clemson’s CFP chances. This marks only the ninth 40-game home winning streak in FBS history, the first since Nebraska won 47 straight home games from 1991-1998.

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

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

10. Oregon (12): By defeating Utah, the Ducks seem certain to jump into the top 10, but what is the ceiling? Expect Oregon to make it to No. 8, but our official projection is that Dan Lanning’s team will take the Utes’ spot at No. 10.

11. State of Pennsylvania (11): While chaos ensues surrounding Penn State’s position in the poll, the Nittany Lions were one of the few ranked teams that absolutely lived up to expectations for dominance with a 55-10 win at Rutgers.

12.Washington (15): The Huskies will move up thanks to trades inside the first 16 and a dominating 54-7 victory against Colorado.

13.Notre Dame (18): Since joining a programming 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, capped out their home slate with their 28th straight regular season win against an ACC opponent. They will face USC on the road in next week’s regular season finale.

14. Kansas State (19): Winners of three in their last four, the Wildcats are closing in on a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game after scoring 41 first-half points and defending an early lead en route to a 17-point win at West Virginia. A win against rival Kansas next week secures Kansas State’s chance for 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 when they fell to the Trojans on a key point. With back-to-back losses and now three in the last five weeks, the goodwill UCLA received earlier in the season may now be overlooked given their difficult closing streak.

16. Utah (10): The bill is due from a ranking perspective for Utah, a team with three losses on the year but a win against the Pac-12’s only one-loss team. Beating USC has provided some solidity in the standings that negated losses to Florida and UCLA, but now that Utah enters the three-loss debate after a loss to Oregon, head-to-head advantage for the Bruins could determine how these teams are stacked. up in the ranking.

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

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

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

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

21. North Carolina (13): The best North Carolina has to offer in terms of rankings is only having two losses after falling 21-17 at home to Georgia Tech. Dropping from No. 13 to the bottom of the standings is too drastic an adjustment for this point in the league. season, but the drop will be dramatic considering both the disappointing result (losing as a 21-point favorite) and the lack of profile profile. high-end wins.

22. Old Miss (14): Ole Miss’s past four results give little idea of ​​where the Rebels stack up against the best teams in the country. There are three losses, by 25 against LSU, by six against Alabama and by 15 against unranked Arkansas, and a single victory by three at Texas A&M. Ole Miss is just a few plays away from being 9-2 with a top-10 win, but also just a few plays away from being 7-4 and outside the top 25. As it stands, we’ve got Lane Kiffin’s team hanging right inside. standings after Saturday night’s loss at Fayetteville.

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

24.Texas (NR): We’re projecting the Longhorns to return to the standings. Not only was Texas one of the top vote getters in last week’s voting outside the top 25, but there will be some “shock” for voters who might have expected Saturday’s game in Kansas to be a potentially upset and instead watched a dominant 55-14 Longhorns win.

25. UCF (17): There will be a drop for UCF on every ballot 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 Navy. The Midshipmen were 3-7 going into 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 to drop out: Oklahoma State (24)

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