College Football Rankings: B/R’s Top 25 by Week 12
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- Georgia (Previous week: 1)
- State of Ohio (2)
- Michigan (3)
- control unit (4)
- USC (7)
- LSU (6)
- Germany (8)
- Oregon (14)
- Clement (11)
- Tennessee (5)
- Pennsylvania (13)
- Washington (12)
- Utah (9)
- UCLA (16)
- State of Kansas (19)
- State of Florida (20)
- Notre Dame (17)
- Cincinnati (22)
- North Carolina (10)
- Coastal Carolina (21)
- Tulane (23)
- Oregon State (unclassified)
- Ole Miss (15)
- UTSA (Unclassified)
- State of Boise (Unranked)
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Week 12 of college football didn’t feature too many ranked vs. ranked clashes, but there was still plenty of drama. In the early stages of games, both TCU and Michigan needed last-second field goals to come away with victories over Baylor and Illinois, respectively.
Later in the afternoon, Georgia went undefeated in the SEC game with a 16-6 win over Kentucky on the road. Ohio State survived a tricky road test against Maryland, winning 43-30.
On the night list, North Carolina fell 21-17 at home to a sub-.500 Georgia Tech team. Tennessee also suffered a shocking loss to South Carolina on the road. USC got a huge playoff boost with a 48-45 away game against UCLA.
Bleacher Report’s college football pundits — David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Morgan Moriarty and Brad Shepard — each submitted a top-25 ballot.
Below is how the crew ranked college football teams as of this week.
Bleacher Reports Top 25 by Week 12:
Who’s Hot: TCU Horned Frogs and Michigan Wolverines
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The Horned Frogs and Wolverines both ended the week 11-0. But both games for these teams came on point.
We’ll start with the TCU game as the Horned Frogs were out for the second straight week to face Baylor. TCU was just a slight two-point favorite, and that one was close all along. In the fourth quarter, Baylor hit a one-yard touchdown run from Richard Reese to take a 28-20 lead at 9:47. The Bears’ defense recovered from a fumble that gave Baylor’s offense a short field to work with.
After back-to-back punts from both teams, Horned Frogs running back Emari Demercado hit a three-yard rushing touchdown. But TCU’s two-point attempt at conversion failed, leaving Baylor still leading 28-26. The TCU defense forced a three-and-out from Baylor and got the ball back with 1:30 left.
The Horned Frogs went to Baylor’s 24 with just 17 seconds left. The final turn of the game was complete chaos. With the clock still ticking, TCU’s kicker had to rush onto the field to attempt a field goal. Griffin Kell ran out and pinned the 40-yarder to keep TCU undefeated.
Michigan’s home game against Illinois was just as exciting. Michigan held a 7-3 lead at halftime, but the Wolverines opened the third quarter with a shot on goal that was capped by a 46-yard field goal from Jake Moody. Illinois running back Chase Brown made things interesting, however. Brown scored two unanswered touchdowns on back-to-back possessions in the quarter, and Illinois was able to forge a 17-10 lead heading into the fourth.
But the Wolverines got some much-needed clutch kicks from Moody in the fourth quarter. With 3:14 left, Michigan made it a 17-16 game after a 33-yard field goal from Moody. Upon Illinois’ ensuing possession, the Wolverines defense forced a three-and-out and the Fighting Illini had to knock the ball away.
The Wolverines offense did a good job on their final scoring drive, consuming just over two minutes of play. Michigan made Illinois’ 17 and Moody pinned the 35-yarder to take a 19-17 lead. Illinois got the ball back with just nine seconds left, which wasn’t enough time to do much of anything.
A win is a win, so I don’t expect TCU or Michigan to move much in the playoff rankings, even with their tight margins.
Who doesn’t: North Carolina Tar Heels
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Unlike TCU and Michigan in Week 12, North Carolina drastically hurt their chances of making the playoffs. North Carolina faced a Georgia Tech team that was 4-6. Earlier in the year, head coach Geoff Collins was fired and replaced by interim coach Brent Key.
The Tar Heels went 9-1, and if they could knock out Clemson in the ACC title game, they’d have a shot at getting a bid. But Georgia Tech dashed any playoff hopes UNC had. The Yellow Jackets impressively overcame a 0:17 deficit and won 21:17. Georgia Tech started their comeback just before halftime, scoring a touchdown in the second quarter with less than a minute left.
In the second half, the Yellow Jackets scored another 14 unanswered points. UNC had a chance to take the lead just over four minutes from time, but Tar Heels receiver Josh Downs dropped Drake Maye’s pass attempt in 4th and 11th, who returned the ball to Georgia Tech, sending the Yellow Jackets let the clock run out.
The loss resulted in a six-game winning streak for the Tar Heels, whose only loss was to Notre Dame earlier in the year. This was also an impressive win for Key, who absolutely has a shot at earning the job at Tech permanently through the end of the season.
Fun Fact: South Carolina’s 63 points was the most ever against an AP top-five team
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AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr.
The biggest surprise came on Saturday during the game between Tennessee and South Carolina in Columbia. Despite Tennessee entering as a 22.5-point favorite according to DraftKings Sportsbook and potential playoff hopes at stake, the Gamecocks dominated the Vols all night.
In the first quarter alone, South Carolina took a 21-7 lead. Tennessee made things more competitive in the second quarter, trailing 35-24 at halftime. But the Gamecocks opened things up fully in the fourth quarter. South Carolina scored 21 points in the final quarter alone, winning by far the most shocking result of the weekend, 63-38.
South Carolina’s offensive blast against the Vols’ defense was significant for several reasons. For starters, the last time South Carolina scored 56 points was against an SEC opponent in 1995 against the state of Mississippi. In that game, the Gamecocks hung up 65 against the Bulldogs.
The 63 points that unranked South Carolina scored against a top-five opponent toppled Hawaii’s 59-28 win over BYU in 1990. But my favorite fun fact of the night — the Gamecocks’ offense scored so many points that Williams -Brice Stadium fireworks gone out shoot down after touchdowns.
The night’s biggest playmaker for South Carolina’s offense was quarterback Spencer Rattler. Despite struggling this season, Rattler ended his career with a record six touchdowns and 438 passing yards. Before the game, Rattler was averaging 197 yards per game, and he had eight touchdowns with nine interceptions.
The win for South Carolina was only the seventh in school history by a win over a top-five team. What a night for Shane Beamer and this South Carolina team.
Outlook: Rivalry Week will help decide some playoff fates
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There are several key matchups that can shape next week’s playoff race. The largest of these is Michigan-Ohio State, which as usual will decide the Big Ten East division. But Saturday’s edition of The Game will likely determine a playoff spot.
Michigan beat Ohio State last season for the first time since 2011, but the Buckeyes are expected to be favored. Before last year, OSU won its last eight games against Michigan. The last time the Wolverines won in Columbus was in 2000.
Depending on how close the game is and if some teams stumble at the top, there’s a chance that both Michigan and Ohio State could get an offer, but it’s somewhat unlikely.
Elsewhere, TCU will be looking to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time since 2010. The Horned Frogs will end the season at home against Iowa State. TCU is likely to be preferred in this case, but Iowa State has beaten the Horned Frogs in their last three encounters.
Remaining undefeated is TCU’s best chance of making the playoffs, as a 4-7 loss to an Iowa State team certainly wouldn’t be ideal for resuming the playoffs.
Georgia will play Georgia Tech in Athens. The Yellow Jackets are coming off an upset win over North Carolina, but the Dawgs are almost certainly heavily favored. UGA has won four consecutive GTs.
Elsewhere outside of the top 4, LSU plays Texas A&M away, Clemson meets South Carolina at home, and USC plays Notre Dame at home. Alabama will play Auburn at home in an Iron Bowl that has no real impact on the postseason for the first time in a while. Nonetheless, this game is always fun.
Rivalry weekend is always important, but Week 13 could make or break some teams’ playoff hopes. What more could you ask for in the final week of the regular season? I can barely wait for it.