College Football Rankings: B/R's Top 25 After Week 12

Morgan MoriartyNovember 20, 2022

College Football Rankings: B/R's Top 25 After Week 12

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    Austin Jones
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Week 12 in college football didn't include too many ranked vs. ranked matchups, but there was still plenty of drama. In the early slate of games, both TCU and Michigan needed last-second field goals to escape with victories over Baylor and Illinois, respectively.

    Later in the afternoon, Georgia remained undefeated in SEC play with a 16-6 win over Kentucky on the road. Ohio State survived a tricky road test against Maryland, winning 43-30.

    In the night slate, North Carolina fell at home to a below-.500 Georgia Tech team 21-17. Tennessee also suffered a shocking loss at the hands of South Carolina at the road. USC got a huge playoff boost with a 48-45 road game against UCLA.

    Bleacher Report's college football experts—David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Morgan Moriarty and Brad Shepard—each submitted a Top 25 ballot.

    Below is how the crew ranked college football's teams after this week.

    Bleacher Report's Post-Week 12 Top 25:

    1. Georgia (Previous Week: 1)
    2. Ohio State (2)
    3. Michigan (3)
    4. TCU (4)
    5. USC (7)
    6. LSU (6)
    7. Alabama (8)
    8. Oregon (14)
    9. Clemson (11)
    10. Tennessee (5)
    11. Penn State (13)
    12. Washington (12)
    13. Utah (9)
    14. UCLA (16)
    15. Kansas State (19)
    16. Florida State (20)
    17. Notre Dame (17)
    18. Cincinnati (22)
    19. North Carolina (10)
    20. Coastal Carolina (21)
    21. Tulane (23)
    22. Oregon State (Not ranked)
    23. Ole Miss (15)
    24. UTSA (Not ranked)
    25. Boise State (Not ranked)

Who's Hot: TCU Horned Frogs and Michigan Wolverines

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    Jake Moody
    Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Horned Frogs and Wolverines both finished the week 11-0. But both games for these teams came down to the wire.

    We'll start with the TCU game, as the Horned Frogs went on the road for a second consecutive week to take on Baylor. TCU was just a slight two-point favorite, and this one was close throughout. In the fourth quarter, Baylor scored off a one-yard touchdown run from Richard Reese to take a 28-20 lead with 9:47 left. The Bears' defense recovered a fumble that gave Baylor's offense a short field to work with.

    Following back-to-back punts from both teams, the Horned Frogs running back Emari Demercado scored on a three-yard rushing touchdown. But TCU's two-point conversion attempt failed, so Baylor still led 28-26. TCU's defense forced a Baylor three-and-out, and got the ball back with 1:30 left.

    The Horned Frogs drove down to Baylor's 24 with just 17 seconds left. The last play of the game was complete chaos. With the clock still running, TCU's kicker had to rush onto the field to attempt a field goal. Griffin Kell ran out and nailed the 40-yarder to keep TCU undefeated.

    Michigan's game against Illinois at home was just as thrilling. Michigan had a 7-3 lead at halftime, but the Wolverines opened the third quarter with a scoring drive capped by a Jake Moody 46-yard field goal. Illinois running back Chase Brown made things interesting, though. Brown scored two unanswered touchdowns in the quarter on back-to-back possessions, and Illinois was able to take a 17-10 lead heading into the fourth.

    But the Wolverines got some much-needed clutch kicking from Moody in the fourth quarter. With 3:14 left, Michigan made it a 17-16 game off a Moody 33-yard field goal. On Illinois' ensuing possession, the Wolverines defense forced a three-and-out, and the Fighting Illini had to punt the ball away.

    The Wolverines offense did a good job at draining the clock on its last scoring drive, draining just over two minutes of game clock. Michigan got down to Illinois' 17 and Moody nailed the 35-yarder to take a 19-17 lead. Illinois got the ball back with just nine second 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 close margins.

Who's Not: North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Malachi Carter
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Unlike TCU and Michigan in Week 12, North Carolina drastically hurt its chances at reaching the playoff. North Carolina was facing a Georgia Tech team that was 4-6. Earlier in the year, head coach Geoff Collins was fired and replaced with interim coach Brent Key.

    The Tar Heels entered 9-1, and if they could knock off Clemson in the ACC title game, they would have a shot at getting a bid. But Georgia Tech put to rest any playoff hopes that UNC had. The Yellow Jackets impressively overcame a 17-0 deficit and won 21-17. Georgia Tech started its comeback right before halftime, scoring a touchdown with less than a minute left in the second quarter.

    In the second half, the Yellow Jackets scored another 14 unanswered points. UNC had a chance to take the lead with just over four minutes left, but Tar Heels receiver Josh Downs dropped Drake Maye's pass attempt on 4th and 11 that gave Georgia Tech the ball back, which let the Yellow Jackets run out the clock.

    The loss snapped a six-game win 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 chance to win the job at Tech permanently by the end of the season.

Fun Fact: South Carolina's 63 Points Was the Most Ever vs. an AP Top 5 Team

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    Dakereon Joyner
    AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr.

    The biggest surprise on Saturday came during the Tennessee-South Carolina game in Columbia. Despite Tennessee entering as 22.5-point favorites—per DraftKings Sportsbook—with potential playoff hopes on the line, the Gamecocks completely dominated the Vols all night.

    In the first quarter alone, South Carolina got out to a 21-7 lead. Tennessee made things more competitive in the second quarter, trailing 35-24 at halftime. But the Gamecocks opened things up completely in the fourth quarter. South Carolina scored 21 points in the last quarter alone to win 63-38 in the most shocking score of the weekend by far.

    South Carolina's offensive explosion against the Vols' defense was significant for a number of reasons. For starters, the last time South Carolina scored 56 points against an SEC opponent was in 1995 against Mississippi State. In that game, the Gamecocks put up 65 over the Bulldogs.

    The 63 points scored by unranked South Carolina over a Top Five opponent toppled Hawaii's 59-28 win against BYU in 1990. But my favorite fun fact of the night—the Gamecocks' offense scored so many points that Williams-Brice Stadium ran out of fireworks to shoot off after touchdowns.

    The biggest playmaker of the night for South Carolina's offense was quarterback Spencer Rattler. Although Rattler has been struggling this season, the quarterback finished with a career-high six touchdowns and 438 passing yards. Before the game, Rattler had been averaging 197 yards passing a game, and he had eight touchdowns with nine interceptions.

    The win for South Carolina marked just the seventh time in school history with a win over a Top Five team. What a night for Shane Beamer and this South Carolina team.

Looking Ahead: Rivalry Week Will Help Decide Some Playoff Fates

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    C.J. Stroud
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    There are several important matchups that can shape the playoff race next week. The biggest of them is Michigan-Ohio State, which, per 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 for the first time since 2011 last season, but the Buckeyes are expected to be favored. Before last year, OSU won the previous eight games over Michigan. The last time the Wolverines won in Columbus came in 2000.

    Depending on how close the game is and if some teams at the top stumble, there's a chance both Michigan and Ohio State would end up with a bid, but it's a bit unlikely.

    Elsewhere, TCU will look to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time since 2010. The Horned Frogs will finish out the season at home against Iowa State. TCU will likely be favored in this one, but Iowa State has beaten the Horned Frogs in the last three meetings.

    TCU remaining unbeaten is its best chance at making it into the playoff, as losing to a 4-7 Iowa State team would certainly not be ideal for it's playoff resume.

    Georgia will play Georgia Tech in Athens. The Yellow Jackets are coming off of an upset win over North Carolina, but the Dawgs are almost certainly going to be heavily favored. UGA has won four straight over GT.

    Elsewhere outside the Top Four, LSU will play Texas A&M on the road, Clemson will face South Carolina at home, and USC will play Notre Dame at home. Alabama will play Auburn at home in an Iron Bowl that doesn't have true postseason implications for the first time in a while. Still, that game is always a fun one.

    Rivalry weekend is always important, but Week 13 could make or break some teams' playoff hopes. What more can you ask for on the last week of the regular season? I can't wait.