One of the longstanding pearls of wisdom of college football is that a weekend that looks like it will be a snoozer will likely bring us some wild and crazy games. Clemson Football cruised to a win over Miami thanks to a stellar defensive effort. Not all of their peers had the same outcome on Saturday.
TCU barely escaped at Baylor. Michigan needed last-second heroics to dodge Illinois.
At least they won. We can’t say the same for Tennessee and North Carolina. Both went on the road and were embarrassed.
Here’s my prediction of the CFP rankings as we head into Thanksgiving and Rivalry Week!
1. Georgia: The Dawgs didn’t look great on Saturday in their road game against Kentucky. The good news for Georgia fans is they didn’t need to look great. On this weekend, all they needed was to win, and they got the 16-6 victory. With Tennessee out of the conversation, it is best for Clemson Football for Georgia to beat LSU in the SEC championship.
2. Ohio State: The Buckeyes needed all sixty minutes against the Terps, but they did assert themselves in the end to get a 13-point win. Injuries are a concern for Ohio State at this point. They are thin at running back. They host Michigan this weekend to decide the Big Ten East division. Its probably best for Clemson Football if Ohio State wins.
3. Michigan: They escaped against Illinois, and had the teams right behind them impressed, they might be worried about a modest drop. The teams right behind them didn’t impress, so it is the status quo for the Wolverines.
4. TCU: It is a similar story for TCU. They didn’t score any style points at Baylor, but it turns out no one else scored style points either. The Horned Frogs should still find themselves at #4 on Tuesday.
5. LSU: The Tigers played UAB, and as expected, they won big 41-10. They play Texas A&M next weekend in what should have been a great game. Instead, A&M will be playing their final game of the 2022 season. Might the Aggies find the motivation to upend LSU? Nah, I don’t think so either. This will just be a warm-up for the Tigers’ meeting with the Dawgs.
6. USC: The Trojans did play a quality opponent and beat UCLA 48-45 in a very competitive contest. Had they won this game with ease, I think they might have gotten a boost ahead of LSU. As it is, the win is still a big feather in their cap and if they eventually find themselves in the playoff, this victory will be one of the resume bullet points that gave them the credit they needed.
7. Alabama: The Crimson Tide indulged in their traditional late-season FCS feast against Austin Peay. Next up – the Iron Bowl against Auburn, which will be a tad more challenging. I kid, War Eagle. We saw this game be a lot more competitive last year than we expected, but it’s hard to imagine that the Tigers will muster the same kind of energy this season on the road.
8. Clemson: Things started well for Clemson Football in the first half, but the offense coughed the ball up multiple times in the third quarter. We can only speculate if a complete game by the offense would have motivated the committee to move them ahead of Alabama in a week they were playing an FCS opponent. The pushback, of course, is that the Hurricanes were only slightly better than an FCS opponent. I know, I kicked Miami while they were down. Sorry, not sorry.
9. Oregon: The Ducks followed up their loss to Washington by handling business against a Utah squad that just won’t go away.
10. Penn State: Why do you have to do Rutgers like that, Penn State? What have they done to you? In all seriousness, the best way for the Big Ten to get two teams into the playoffs was for the Nittany Lions to run the rest of their opponents out of the stadium, and PSU is doing its part.
11. Kansas State: The Wildcats are one of those teams that most people need to see the proof over the long haul before they become believers. They might be ranked behind Tennessee, but Kansas State hasn’t had a bad loss all season – all three teams that beat the Wildcats were either ranked in last week’s CFP Top 25 (Tulane & TCU) or this week’s AP Poll (Texas). The largest margin was 10 points against TCU, a Top 4 team.
12. Tennessee: To quote Austin Powers, “Ouch, baby. Very ouch.” When I was previewing games for Clemson Football fans to keep an eye on last week, I didn’t even mention this game directly because 1) most Tiger fans have allergic reactions to rooting for the Gamecocks, and 2) they didn’t stand a chance anyway. Was I wrong or what? Rattler played the way we thought Hooker would play. This was a stunner, and Tennessee will probably be lucky to only fall this far. They still have a blowout win over LSU in Baton Rouge to buoy them, but one thing is for certain: the CFP dreams of Vols Nation are no more.
13. Washington: Husky fans are probably wondering “Why are we ranked behind Oregon when we beat them head-to-head?” Fair question. The answer likely lies in Washington’s loss to Arizona State. Oregon doesn’t have a bad loss. The Huskies do.
14. Notre Dame: Who saw this coming a month ago? Put your hands down, Irish fans, you’re lying. We have the receipts to prove it.
15. Florida State: If you had analyzed the Seminoles’ schedule when they were 4-3, you could have seen this coming. Florida State Nation is salivating for their rivalry game this weekend. The Gators were just embarrassed by Vanderbilt and now the Noles smell blood.
16. Utah: I thought the Utes would drop like a lead balloon after both of their first two losses, but they didn’t. Observers respect this team. I don’t think Utah will fall much further than this.
Clemson Football looks like they will finish in the Top 10, but the back half of the rankings will still impact the New Year’s Six bowl games.
17. UCLA: This would only be a drop of one spot for the Bruins, who checked in at #16 in last week’s rankings. They might fall a bit more than this, but they shouldn’t. They lost to a worthy competitor. If they fall more than one spot, it likely means the committee is keeping another team ahead of UCLA that was upset by a team that shouldn’t have won…..
18. Ole Miss: Such as the Rebels, who were defeated by Arkansas. It was on the road, and I guess we should have seen the Alabama hangover coming. Most analysts noticed that Ole Miss’s schedule was backloaded, but by midseason, it didn’t seem like the Razorbacks would be, or should be, much of a threat to the Rebels.
19. Tulane: Just hanging around here, hoping UCF slips up, and poof! The Knights lost to a Navy team that didn’t complete a single pass the entire game. It probably took a bizarre occurrence like that to put UCF behind Tulane despite a head-to-head victory over the Green Wave.
20. Oregon State: Just handling business, building their program. Keep an eye on Corvallis.
22. North Carolina: The one thing Ole Miss can say? Arkansas is no Georgia Tech. Yikes, Tar Heels, what in the world happened? This game was in your stadium. At least Tennessee can say they went on the road. This is the definition of a bad loss.
22. Cincinnati: The Bearcats are creeping up on Tulane just in time to host them on Friday. If they win, they could follow up the first appearance by a Group of Five program in the playoffs with an automatic berth in a New Year’s Six bowl game.
23. Coastal Carolina: The Chants should get the nod here despite losing their opportunity to play a Power Five opponent due to the tragic circumstances for the University of Virginia last week. When most teams lose their star quarterback, you expect a slide. Coastal keeps plugging away.
24. UCF: The loss to Navy was embarrassing. The best medicine for an embarrassing loss is to throttle your rival. UCF gets USF this weekend. The Knights will shake off a lot of demons this Saturday.
25. Texas: I’m not crazy about calling Texas a Top 25 team, but it’s clear the committee likes them. UTSA probably deserves this spot more.