College Football Rankings: Bleacher Report's Week 13 Top 25
And then there were two.
The second-to-last full weekend of college football saw three of the five remaining unbeaten teams come falling down, throwing the playoff picture into massive turmoil in the process. The Bleacher Report Top 25 wasn't immune to this chaos, as there are new teams all over the rankings, but we now have a much more definitive No. 1 team.
Twenty members of our college football staff voted in this week's Top 25: writers Ben Axelrod, Greg Couch, Ed Feng, Justin Ferguson, Bryan Fischer, David Kenyon, Ben Kercheval, Adam Kramer, Brian Leigh, Mike Monaco, Brian Pedersen, David Regimbal, Barrett Sallee, Brad Shepard, Greg Wallace and Christopher Walsh; video experts Michael Felder and Sean McManus; and editors Eric Bowman and Eric Yates.
First-place votes were worth 25 points, with each subsequent rank worth one fewer point, all the way down to one for 25th place. The 25 highest vote-getters made our list, with the rest falling into the "others receiving votes" category.
See where everyone falls after Week 12, then give us your thoughts in the comments section.
Others Receiving Votes
Toledo is one of 13 FBS schools with one or fewer losses this season after its 44-28 win at Bowling Green on Tuesday. However, the Rockets are the only one of those teams that didn't make our Top 25 this week.
- Toledo (38)
- Pittsburgh (26)
- LSU (22)
- Western Kentucky (12)
- Tennessee (10)
- USC (10)
- Memphis (9)
- Wisconsin (9)
- Arkansas (7)
- Texas A&M (6)
- Bowling Green (2)
- BYU (1)
- South Florida (1)
No. 25 Utah Utes
Voting points: 54
Last week's ranking: 17th
Week 12 result: Lost 17-9 vs. UCLA
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 vs. Colorado
Utah (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12) lost its second straight game to fall out of contention for the South Division title, feeling the effects of not having workhorse running back Devontae Booker.
Booker, who led FBS in carries entering this weekend with 268, had knee surgery during the week and is out for the year. His replacement, Joe Williams, ran for 121 yards on 26 carries, but the Utes were held to three field goals at home.
Quarterback Travis Wilson threw for 110 yards on 13-of-26 passing and ran for 67 yards.
No. 24 Temple Owls
Voting points: 55
Last week's ranking: Not ranked
Week 12 result: Won 31-12 vs. Memphis
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 vs. Connecticut
Temple (9-2, 6-1 American) clinched at least a share of the East Division title by stifling Memphis' potent offense, holding it to 232 yards and four field goals.
The Owls had allowed 40-plus points to their two previous opponents.
P.J. Walker had 310 yards of total offense and threw two touchdown passes, while Temple ran for 200 yards as a team with two scores. One of those came on a 13-yard run by Kip Patton early in the fourth quarter, when Temple scored 17 points to blow open a tight game.
The Owls win the East Division outright with a win next week or a loss by South Florida.
No. 23 Washington State Cougars
Voting points: 65
Last week's ranking: 24th
Week 12 result: Won 27-3 vs. Colorado
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 27 at Washington
Washington State (8-3, 6-2 Pac-12) won its third straight game, but it had a scary moment when quarterback Luke Falk lay motionless on the turf during the second half after crashing headfirst on a sack.
Falk, who threw for 199 yards and his school-record 36th touchdown on 27-of-35 passing, was taken off the field on a stretcher but did wave to the crowd. His replacement, Peyton Bender, continued the Cougars' pass-happy attack with 133 yards and a TD.
Washington State also had 149 rushing yards, with Gerard Wicks going for 123. That's the first 100-yard rusher for Wazzu since 2010.
No. 22 Mississippi State Bulldogs
Voting points: 72
Last week's ranking: 25th
Week 12 result: Won 51-50 at Arkansas
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 vs. Ole Miss
Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3 SEC) gave up a conference record-tying seven touchdown passes to Arkansas' Brandon Allen, but a blocked field goal by Beniquez Brown in the final minute was the difference in a wild shootout in Fayetteville.
Dak Prescott threw for a career-high 508 yards and five touchdowns on 38-of-50 passing, and he also ran for 46 yards and two scores. The senior has now accounted for 32 TDs this season and 104 for his career.
MSU, which gained 631 yards, led 31-14 with 4:44 left in the first half but then allowed 28 unanswered points. Prescott then scored on a three-yard run and hit De'Runnya Wilson on a 10-yard TD pass for a 44-42 lead. His 14-yard TD pass to Fred Ross with 3:05 left was the game-winner.
No. 21 Houston Cougars
Voting points: 74
Last week's ranking: 15th
Week 12 result: Lost 20-17 at Connecticut
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 27 vs. Navy
Houston (10-1, 6-1 American) saw its hope for a perfect season come to an end on the road, but the West Division title is still in play despite the loss.
The Cougars managed a season-low 318 yards and didn't score a touchdown until the fourth quarter, with Brandon Wilson's 94-yard kickoff return pulling them within three with 9:36 left. But their final two drives resulted in a turnover on downs and an interception, with the pick thrown by Greg Ward Jr. after he came in for an injured Kyle Postma.
Houston still wins the division with a victory Friday against Navy.
No. 20 UCLA Bruins
Voting points: 103
Last week's ranking: Not ranked
Week 12 result: Won 17-9 at Utah
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 at USC
UCLA (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12) put itself in position to win the South Division title after winning for the 14th time in 15 road or neutral-site games.
Josh Rosen threw for 220 yards and a touchdown, and Paul Perkins added 98 rushing yards with a score. The Bruins had a season-low 325 yards but held Utah to three field goals.
The Bruins win the South with a victory at rival USC next Saturday. They have won the last three meetings in the series.
No. 19 Ole Miss Rebels
Voting points: 119
Last week's ranking: Not ranked
Week 12 result: Won 38-17 vs. LSU
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 at Mississippi State
Ole Miss (8-3, 5-2 SEC) bounced back from its wild overtime loss to Arkansas before the bye week by jumping out to a 24-0 lead.
Chad Kelly accounted for four touchdowns, two passing and two rushing, and had 361 yards of total offense. He threw for 280 yards, giving him 3,504 for the season.
“Disappointing losses earlier in the season may have knocked Ole Miss out of contention for every team's ultimate goal—the national championship—but the Rebels' foundation for the future with (coach Hugh) Freeze strengthened Saturday afternoon with a three-touchdown win over LSU,” Bleacher Report's Justin Ferguson wrote.
Ole Miss forced three turnovers and held Leonard Fournette to 108 yards on 25 carries.
No. 18 Oregon Ducks
Voting points: 177
Last week's ranking: 23rd
Week 12 result: Won 48-28 vs. USC
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 27 vs. Oregon State
Oregon (8-3, 6-2 Pac-12) won its fifth straight game in impressive fashion, scoring 31 first-half points and gaining more than 500 yards for the seventh time this season.
Vernon Adams Jr. threw for 407 yards and six touchdowns on 20-of-25 passing, continuing his dominant play since returning from a broken finger. The senior transfer from Eastern Washington has had 19 total TDs during the Ducks' win streak.
Adams connected with six different receivers for the scoring strikes, with every TD going for at least 20 yards. Three of those touchdowns came during a 24-0 run to break a 14-14 tie.
No. 17 Northwestern Wildcats
Voting points: 183
Last week's ranking: 20th
Week 12 result: Won 13-7 at Wisconsin
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 at Illinois
Northwestern (9-2, 5-2 Big Ten) benefited from three overturned touchdowns and five turnovers to win in Madison for the first time since 2000.
The Wildcats managed only 209 yards and scored their only touchdown midway through the first quarter on an eight-yard run by Justin Jackson, but their defense was spot on all day. They intercepted Wisconsin's Joel Stave twice and recovered three fumbles, allowing just 203 yards, including minus-26 rushing yards.
Wisconsin appeared to have scored a go-ahead TD in the fourth quarter on a punt return, but officials ruled the Badgers returner had signaled for a fair catch. Then in the final minute, the Badgers had two plays that were ruled TDs on the field overturned by replay officials.
No. 16 TCU Horned Frogs
Voting points: 187
Last week's ranking: 12th
Week 12 result: Lost 30-29 at Oklahoma
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 27 vs. Baylor
TCU (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) didn't have star quarterback Trevone Boykin or top receiver Josh Doctson, and it showed for most of the game. Yet somehow the Horned Frogs were in it in the final moments.
And rather than opt for overtime to pull off a huge road win, coach Gary Patterson instead called a two-point play after Bram Kohlhausen threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Emanuel Porter with 51 seconds left.
“Our rules, when on the road, go for two for the win,” Patterson said, per Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Unfortunately, Kohlhausen's two-point pass attempt was batted down. In total he threw two TD passes in relief of Foster Sawyer, who started for Boykin but was intercepted three times.
Aaron Green ran for 126 yards and a TD in the loss.
No. 15 Navy Midshipmen
Voting points: 209
Last week's ranking: 18th
Week 12 result: Won 44-21 at Tulsa
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 27 at Houston
Navy (9-1, 7-0 American) won its fifth straight game and is now alone in first place in the West following Houston's loss to Connecticut. However, the division title will still be decided when the teams meet Friday.
The Midshipmen ran for 469 yards and five touchdowns, led by quarterback Keenan Reynolds' 81 yards and his FBS-record 82nd career rushing TD. Reynolds also threw a TD pass, giving him 23 total TDs this season.
Navy held Tulsa to 78 rushing yards and forced two turnovers.
No. 14 Florida State Seminoles
Voting points: 237
Last week's ranking: 16th
Week 12 result: Won 52-13 vs. Chattanooga
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 at Florida
Florida State (9-2) had no trouble with its FCS opponent, scoring its most points since the regular-season opener, including a 38-0 run in the second and third quarters.
Sean Maguire threw two touchdown passes, and Dalvin Cook and Jacques Patrick each scored twice on the ground. The Seminoles finished with 428 yards on just 60 offensive plays while holding Chattanooga to 273 yards and forcing two turnovers.
Cook, who set the school's single-season rushing record last week, had 106 yards on 15 carries. It was his seventh 100-yard game this season and 12th of his career.
No. 13 Stanford Cardinal
Voting points: 277
Last week's ranking: 14th
Week 12 result: Won 35-22 vs. California
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 vs. Notre Dame
Stanford (9-2, 8-1 Pac-12) wrapped up the North Division title by rolling past its rivals, claiming the Big Game trophy thanks to another massive all-around performance from Christian McCaffrey.
The sophomore finished with 389 all-purpose yards, including 192 rushing yards along with a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown and a 49-yard TD catch. He entered the game leading FBS at 241.8 yards per game.
Kevin Hogan only attempted 12 passes, completing seven, for 96 yards and a TD.
The Cardinal are still in contention for the playoff and will impact the final standings by virtue of their regular-season finale against Notre Dame.
No. 12 North Carolina Tar Heels
Voting points: 278
Last week's ranking: 13th
Week 12 result: Won 30-27 (in OT) at Virginia Tech
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 at North Carolina State
North Carolina (10-1, 7-0 ACC) clinched a spot in its first conference title game after winning the Coastal Division, but not until after blowing a 14-point lead in the final three minutes of regulation.
Quinshad Davis' five-yard touchdown pass from Marquise Williams won it for the Tar Heels in OT, after they held Virginia Tech to a 41-yard field goal on its possession.
Williams had 279 yards of total offense and two total TDs, while Elijah Hood ran for 115 yards and two scores. Both of Hood's touchdowns came in the fourth quarter, giving UNC a 24-10 lead before Tech posted two TDs in the last 2:54.
It was UNC's 10th straight win since losing to South Carolina—which fell at home to FCS The Citadel on Saturday—in Charlotte on Sept. 3.
No. 11 Florida Gators
Voting points: 283
Last week's ranking: 8th
Week 12 result: Won 20-14 (in OT) vs. Florida Atlantic
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 vs. Florida State
Florida (10-1) survived what should have been a cakewalk of a game, needing extra time to beat a two-win team from Conference USA.
The Gators did not score in the first half, but after two touchdowns in just over four minutes in the third quarter, the threat appeared to be gone. However, Florida Atlantic scored late in the third quarter and then got a fumble return for a TD midway through the fourth to force OT.
Florida went ahead on its possession on a 13-yard TD pass from Treon Harris to Jake McGee, though the extra point was blocked. The Gators then held on FAU's drive to clinch the win.
The Gators had 252 yards of offense, the third time this season (and second in three games) they've failed to gain 300 yards.
No. 9 (tie) Oklahoma State Cowboys
Voting points: 294
Last week's ranking: 5th
Week 12 result: Lost 45-35 vs. Baylor
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 vs. Oklahoma
Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) came back from an early 14-point deficit but had no answer for a 24-point hole in the third quarter, watching its 12-game win streak come to an end while its playoff hopes took a major hit.
The Cowboys would need to beat rival Oklahoma next week in the Bedlam game and hope Baylor loses at least once more this season.
OK State trailed 14-0 after just over three minutes, but touchdown passes from Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh tied the game before the first quarter was over. However, the Cowboys didn't score again until late in the third quarter, after which they were down 38-21.
Rudolph threw for 430 yards and three TDs, but OK State could do nothing on the ground. Including sacks, the Cowboys ran for eight yards on 23 carries.
No. 9 (tie) Michigan Wolverines
Voting points: 294
Last week's ranking: 11th
Week 12 result: Won 28-16 at Penn State
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 vs. Ohio State
Michigan (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) overcame a penalty-filled afternoon to remain in the hunt for the East Division title, using great red-zone defense to pace the victory.
The Wolverines were flagged 13 times for 117 yards, negating a defensive effort that allowed only 207 yards to Penn State. All three of the Nittany Lions' red-zone possessions ended in field goals, including twice in the fourth quarter to keep Michigan ahead 21-16.
Michigan had only 87 rushing yards but a pair of one-yard touchdown runs, first by Sione Houma in the third quarter and then by De'Veon Smith with 5:12 left in the fourth.
Jake Rudock threw for 256 yards and two TDs, giving him 10 in Michigan's past three games.
No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes
Voting points: 351
Last week's ranking: 2nd
Week 12 result: Lost 17-14 vs. Michigan State
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 at Michigan
Ohio State (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) had its 23-game win streak come to an end after allowing a field goal as time expired, putting the Buckeyes in serious jeopardy of falling out of the playoff picture. Based on how some of the Buckeyes reacted to the loss afterward, it might be hard for the defending national champions to get things back on track.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who had a season-low 33 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown, told USA Today's Dan Wolken he was lobbying OSU coach Urban Meyer for more touches throughout the game. “We weren't put in the right situation to win this game,” Elliott said, per Wolken.
Backup quarterback Cardale Jones, who did not tally any statistics, tweeted that the loss marked the last time he would be “walking down them steps and into The Shoe,” an indication he didn't plan to return for his senior year.
OSU managed only 132 yards, its lowest output in Meyer's four seasons and the first time the Buckeyes failed to reach 200 yards since a 2011 loss to Michigan State.
Now the Buckeyes are in a three-way tie for first in the East with Michigan, whom it plays on Saturday, and Michigan State.
No. 7 Baylor Bears
Voting points: 382
Last week's ranking: 10th
Week 12 result: Won 45-35 at Oklahoma State
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 27 at TCU
Baylor (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) isn't dead just yet, not after winning in Stillwater for the first time since 1939 despite having to go to its third-string quarterback.
Chris Johnson came on for Jarrett Stidham—who was nursing a back injury but then hurt his ankle in the first half—and he threw for 138 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score.
“I thought he was fabulous,” Baylor coach Art Briles said of Johnson, per Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News. “Everything he did was not surprising."
Johnson keyed the second half of a 24-0 run for Baylor that turned a 14-14 game into a runaway, hitting Jay Lee on a 39-yard score and KD Cannon for a 71-yard score. Johnson's four-yard TD run with 2:10 left gave Baylor a 45-28 lead.
All told, the Bears gained 700 yards, including 304 on the ground. They held previously unbeaten Oklahoma State to eight rushing yards.
No. 6 Michigan State Spartans
Voting points: 406
Last week's ranking: 9th
Week 12 result: Won 17-14 at Ohio State
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 vs. Penn State
Michigan State (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) has now beat its two biggest rivals in the conference despite having led for zero seconds of game clock, and in doing so it controls its destiny for the East Division title. Win their regular-season finale, and the Spartans will play in the league title game for the second time in three years.
The Spartans' only lead came as time expired after Michael Geiger kicked a 41-yard field goal. MSU's win at Michigan last month came when it scored on a fumble on a muffed punt with no time on the clock.
MSU trailed 14-7 entering the fourth quarter, but Gerald Holmes tied the game with a two-yard touchdown run with 12:03 left. It held defending national champion Ohio State to 132 yards and won despite not having senior quarterback Connor Cook available because of a shoulder injury.
MSU coach Mark Dantonio told CBS Sports' Jon Solomon his team had been given no shot before ending OSU's 23-game win streak.
“I didn't watch TV but that's what I imagine they said,” Dantonio said, per Solomon.
No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes
Voting points: 423
Last week's ranking: T-6th
Week 12 result: Won 40-20 vs. Purdue
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 27 at Nebraska
Iowa (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) clinched the West Division and its first trip to the conference title game while continuing the best start in school history. And like most of the Hawkeyes' games this season, it wasn't flashy but quite effective.
The Hawkeyes reached 40 points for the second straight game and fourth time this season thanks to three passing touchdowns from C.J. Beathard and a combined three rushing scores from Jordan Canzeri and LeShun Daniels Jr.
Iowa went ahead 20-0 early in the first half but then led by only seven points in the third quarter before Beathard threw TD passes to George Kittle and Henry Krieger Coble. Canzeri iced the win late in the fourth with a 42-yard TD run, his first since Oct. 10.
No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners
Voting points: 424
Last week's ranking: T-6th
Week 12 result: Won 30-29 vs. TCU
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 at Oklahoma State
Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) will win the conference—and potentially its best hope for a playoff bid—with a win in Bedlam next weekend, though the health of star quarterback Baker Mayfield is up in the air at this point.
Mayfield took a hit to the head in the first half and did not play the second half after complaining of a headache at halftime. He was replaced by Trevor Knight. Before leaving the game, Mayfield threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns but was just 9-of-20.
Oklahoma led 23-7 at halftime and was up 30-13 midway through the fourth quarter when TCU suddenly came alive on defense. The Horned Frogs scored a touchdown with 51 seconds left and opted to go for two and the win rather than go to overtime, but Steven Parker batted down a two-point pass to clinch the win.
Samaje Perine ran for 188 yards and a TD despite missing time because of an ankle injury, and Oklahoma ran for 333 yards total.
No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Voting points: 433
Last week's ranking: 4th
Week 12 result: Won 19-16 vs. Boston College (at Fenway Park, Boston)
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 at Stanford
Notre Dame (10-1) didn't do much to help its reputation with a sloppy and much-closer-than-expected win over one of the worst offensive teams in the country.
The Fighting Irish turned the ball over five times, with DeShone Kizer throwing three interceptions to go with 320 passing yards and two touchdowns. C.J. Prosise, who missed last week's game with a concussion, returned to rush for 57 yards before leaving with an ankle injury.
Boston College, which had scored 56 points during its previous six losses, scored twice in the fourth quarter, including in the final minute to get close, but it couldn't recover an onside kick with 54 seconds left.
“These are the kind of games where Notre Dame could use style points, but instead it seems the only thing it has done is provide the committee with ammo to use against it when debating the best teams in the country,” CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli wrote.
No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Voting points: 482 (three first-place votes)
Last week's ranking: 3rd
Week 12 result: Won 56-6 vs. Charleston Southern
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 at Auburn
Alabama (10-1) didn't allow its FCS opponent to have any shot of an upset, scoring 49 first-half points with the help of a pair of special teams scores by Cyrus Jones.
Jones scored on punt returns of 43 and 72 yards, giving him three this season. The first came on the final play of a 21-0 first quarter, and his second score gave the Crimson Tide a 42-0 lead.
Derrick Henry had two rushing TDs and 68 yards on just nine carries, and Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris also notched rushing scores. Jake Coker threw for 155 yards and two TDs on 11-of-13 passing.
The Tide gave up only 134 yards and didn't allow a score until the fourth quarter.
No. 1 Clemson Tigers
Voting points: 495 (17 first-place votes)
Last week's ranking: 1st
Week 12 result: Won 33-13 vs. Wake Forest
Week 13 matchup: Nov. 28 at South Carolina
Clemson (11-0, 8-0 ACC) finished up its first perfect run through the conference since 1983 thanks to another big day from quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The sophomore threw for 343 yards with three touchdowns (along with two interceptions) and ran for another 44 yards with a score. It was his fifth time in the last six games with at least 380 yards of total offense and the third time he was responsible for at least four TDs.
The Tigers forced two turnovers and held Wake Forest to 152 yards, the second time in 2015 they've limited an opponent to fewer than 200 yards.
Clemson now has the nation's longest active win streak, at 14 games.
All slides written by Brian J. Pedersen. Follow the author on Twitter at @realBJP.