College Football Rankings: B/R's Top 25 Post-Bowl Games

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide and head coach Nick Saban celebrate thier win after the AllState Sugar Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Alabama and Georgia will battle for college football supremacy in the national championship on Monday, but the remainder of Bleacher Report's Top 25 is locked in.

Bowl season brought several shakeups to the poll, which includes four ties and five new teams. North Carolina State, South Florida, Mississippi State, Troy and Army all surged into the rankings following impressive bowl victories.

Additionally, the College Football Playoff results sent the premier SEC programs to the top. But which school holds the No. 1 spot?

Four members of Bleacher Report's college football staffDavid Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller and Brad Shepardsubmitted ballots for the Top 25. A first-place vote counted for 25 points, a second-place nod was worth 24, and so on.

1. Alabama (Last week: T-4)
2. Georgia (3)
3. Oklahoma (2)
4. UCF (6)
T-5. Clemson (1)
T-5. Ohio State (T-4)
7. Wisconsin (7)
8. Penn State (10)
9. TCU (13)
T-10. Auburn (8)
T-10. Notre Dame (16)
12. Washington (12)
T-13. Michigan State (20)
T-13. USC (9)
15. Miami (11)
16. Oklahoma State (18)
17. Stanford (14)
18. Northwestern (19)
19. NC State (NR)
20. South Florida (NR)
T-21. Boise State (24)
T-21. Florida Atlantic (22)
23. Mississippi State (NR)
24. Troy (NR)
25. Army (NR)

Others receiving votes: Memphis, South Carolina, LSU

         

Who's Hot: Central Florida Knights

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Scott Frost of the UCF Knights celebrates with Shaquem Griffin #18 after defeating the Auburn Tigers 34-27 to win the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Antwan Collier's interception in the end zone sealed a spectacular two-year turnaround by UCF. Just two seasons ago, the Knights went 0-12. This year, they finished 13-0 with a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn, the only team to defeat Georgia or Alabama.

Dual-threat quarterback McKenzie Milton accounted for 358 yards and three touchdowns to help the Knights earn a 34-27 win. Chequan Burkett's 45-yard pick-six proved to be the winning difference for the AAC champions.

After the game, head coach Scott Frost made a final statement in defense of college football's little guy before heading to coach Nebraska. Per Alex Scarborough of ESPN, Frost criticized the CFP selection committee for constantly spurning UCF in the rankings.

"It looked like a conscious effort to me to make sure that they didn't have a problem if they put us too high and a couple teams ahead of us lost. And oh, no, now we have to put them in a playoff? But we just beat a team that beat two playoff teams and lost to another one by six points, and we beat them by seven."

No matter the result of the showdown between Georgia and Alabama, UCF will be the transitive-property national champions.

That's not what the Knights wantedand perhaps not what they deserved as a ceilingbut it's undeniably impressive.

                  

Who's Not: USC Trojans

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans runs from Tyquan Lewis #59 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half of the 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic between USC and Ohio State at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2017 in Arlington,
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The defense gave USC a chance in the Cotton Bowl. However, Sam Darnold and the offense made too many mistakes to overcome Ohio State.

Darnold threw a pick-six early in the second quarter, and he lost a fumble at the Buckeyes' 23-yard line midway through the period. The Trojans' only touchdown occurred after the special teams unit recovered a fumble at the 15-yard line.

In the second half, USC reached the red zone on three possessions but failed to score. Those drives ended in a missed field goal, another Darnold fumble and a turnover on downs.

Frustratingly for the Trojans, the defense didn't allow a single point after halftime. Ohio State only crossed midfield once, yet the Buckeyes held on for a 24-7 victory by causing a couple of turnovers and benefiting from self-inflicted USC mistakes in scoring territory.

USC will now wait on Darnold to decide whether he'll pursue the NFL or return for his redshirt junior season. We're not certain what the quarterback will choose, but we know the preseason championship contenders ended the year tied for 13th in our poll.

             

Welcome to the Poll: Army Black Knights

FORT WORTH, TX - DECEMBER 23:  Ahmad Bradshaw #17 of the Army Black Knights celebrates after the Army Black Knights beat the San Diego State Aztecs 42-35 in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium on December 23, 2017 in Fort Worth
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Better late than never, right?

Army finally cracked B/R's Top 25 thanks to a 42-35 victory over San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Black Knights scored 21 fourth-quarter points to reach 10 wins for only the second time in program history. (Of course, there were fewer games in a season back when Army was a football power.)

For the second straight year, the Black Knights made it fun.

Last year, Army converted a 4th-and-goal in overtime to defeat North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. This season, the Cadets perfectly executed a two-point conversion with 18 seconds remaining in regulation to take a 36-35 lead.

San Diego State's final play resulted in a defensive touchdown, pushing the score to the final 42-35 margin. Despite allowing 221 rushing yards and four touchdowns to San Diego State star Rashaad Penny, the Black Knights survived.

              

What to Watch For: National Championship

Gregory Bull/Associated Press

Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET Monday, and the national championship should be a stellar matchup.

We understand the thought of an All-SEC clash doesn't appeal to everyone. Rather than focusing on conference affiliation, however, we're going to enjoy all 60 minutes (or more!) of a showdown between two supremely talented rosters.

Georgia stars Sony Michel and Nick Chubb torched Oklahoma for 367 total yards and six touchdowns. Finding similar space against Alabama is basically impossible, especially since the Crimson Tide just surrendered a measly 64 rushing yards to Clemson.

Should the Tide successfully limit the senior duo, freshman quarterback Jake Fromm will be relied upon to carry the offense. He finished 20-of-29 for 210 yards and two scores against Oklahoma. Fortunately for Fromm, the defense should keep it a low-scoring affair—but only if it rebounds from allowing 242 rushing yards.

Alabama will attempt to control the game on the ground with Jalen Hurts, Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. Georgia knows it can earn a key advantage by limiting Hurts' running contributions, but failing to make the sophomore win as a passer may be hugely problematic.

We're all eager to find out this season's No. 1 program in a battle between Nick Saban, his former assistant Kirby Smart and their two outstanding teams.

       

Follow Bleacher Report CFB writer David Kenyon on Twitter, @Kenyon19_BR.

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