Another insane weekend that included one-loss Tennessee getting knocked off at South Carolina after appearing to have a potential clear path to the College Football Playoff. Here’s where the top ten stands heading into rivalry week.
1. Georgia Bulldogs (11-0) | Last week: 1
Kentucky put up a fight in the fourth quarter to make things somewhat interesting, but Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs completed their unbeaten SEC regular season schedule to become the third team in history to do it in consecutive seasons. Georgia has won 19 consecutive SEC regular season games, which is astounding. Kenny McIntosh starred on offense against the Wildcats, with 19 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown.
2. Michigan Wolverines (11-0) | Last week: 2
All-American kicker Jake Moody was the MVP for Michigan in their tight home victory over Illinois, hitting four-of-four field goals including the game-winner with nine seconds remaining. A loss would have been a stunner, but the big one obviously comes this Saturday in Columbus. The Wolverines struggled after star running back Blake Corum went down with a knee injury, and his status is a huge key to watch.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0) | Last week: 3
The Buckeyes have been steady at the No. 2 spot in the CFP rankings, and they get to play this year’s matchup at home after losing in The Big House last season. You know Ohio State is going to be highly motivated and looking to avenge last season, and they are relatively sizable favorites on Saturday. Freshman running back Dallan Hayden (27 carries, 146 yards, three touchdowns) was phenomenal in last Saturday’s win against Maryland, and he might be critical in keeping balance on the OSU offense with other runners banged up.
4. TCU Horned Frogs (11-0) | Last week: 4
The end of the game was thrilling partly due to TCU’s clock management, but the Horned Frogs again came through with a comeback victory to remain unbeaten.
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) November 19, 2022
Kicker Griffin Kell didn’t have time to think and just had to kick after the rush onto the field, so that might have actually worked in TCU’s favor to get the win. TCU now hosts Iowa State and then will play in the Big 12 title game on December 3. Two wins should certainly secure a playoff spot.
5. USC Trojans (10-1) | Last week: 9 (+4)
USC can score with anyone, but despite putting up 48 points it was their defense that was the difference in the win at UCLA—with three interceptions including the game-sealer when the Bruins had a chance to drive for a tying or game-winning score. Running back Austin Jones (21 carries, 120 yards, two touchdowns) was excellent in the first game without Travis Dye.
6. Clemson Tigers (10-1) | Last week: 6
Clemson could arguably move up to No. 5, but they are leapfrogged by USC for this week’s rankings—and that’ll probably remain the case if the Trojans beat a Notre Dame squad that handled the Tigers. Still, Clemson had a strong showing versus Miami, and they have a shot at the CFP and must just take care of their own business, starting with an upset-minded South Carolina team this Saturday.
7. LSU Tigers (9-2) | Last week: 7
After allowing an early touchdown, LSU tightened up and had little issue win their 41-10 win against UAB. Texas A&M has had a very tough year, but now the Tigers can’t look past them with the SEC Championship Game on deck.
8. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-2) | Last week: 8
Alabama shutout Austin Peay in the tune-up ahead of the Iron Bowl. Auburn put the Tide up against the wall last season before Bryce Young and the offense pulled off ten fourth-quarter points in a memorable overtime victory, so Bama will be locked in while facing their rival at home this year.
9. Oregon Ducks (9-2) | Last week: NR
A banged-up Bo Nix and Oregon won a battle against Utah to put themselves in position to make the Pac-12 title game versus USC—with a potential shot to make the CFP if some things fall their way. The first order of business is getting a tough win at in-state rival Oregon State on Saturday afternoon.
10. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2) | Last week: 10
Penn State continues to dominate in their wins, and while the OSU matchup was closer than the score indicates, it’s a shame they didn’t play their best games in the Ohio State and Michigan contests. Nevertheless, the Nittany Lions are looking to finish the regular season at 10-2—though a New Year’s Six bowl might be a touch out of reach.