• LSU: The Tigers crack the top 10 after an overtime victory against then-No. 6 Alabama.
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The more things change, the more they stay the same.
In what’s been a chaotic year of college football, one constant remains from last season: Georgia is the cream of the crop. The defending national champions are coming off a convincing 27-13 victory over previously No. 1-ranked Tennessee.
The Bulldogs are unquestionably at the top, but what about the rest? Here is how I currently view the top 25 teams in the country.
Please note this ranking is not the same as PFF’s power rankings.
1. Georgia Bulldogs (Record: 9-0, CFP Ranking: 1st)
Week 11 Matchup: at Mississippi State Bulldogs
In what was billed as the biggest game of the year, No. 3 Georgia beat top-ranked Tennessee, 27-13, in a game that never quite felt that close.
The Bulldogs' defense did something no team in college football has been able to accomplish: neutralize previous Heisman favorite Hendon Hooker and the Volunteers' offense.
Tennessee’s Passing Offense | 2022
|Week(s)||EPA per pass||Rank in FBS|
|First eight games||0.463||1st|
No college football program has won two straight national championships since Alabama did so 10 years ago. The Bulldogs look like the favorite to accomplish that this season.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (Record: 9-0, CFP Ranking: 2nd)
Week 11 Matchup: vs. Indiana Hoosiers
The Windy City lived up to its moniker on Saturday, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour in Ohio State’s 21-7 win over Northwestern.
Because of that wind, current Heisman favorite C.J. Stroud could only throw for 76 yards, the first time in his career that he finished a game with 150 or fewer passing yards. He’ll look to bounce back this week against Indiana.
3. Michigan Wolverines (Record: 9-0, CFP Ranking: 3rd)
Week 10 Matchup: vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Can anyone stop Blake Corum right now?
The junior rushed for 109 yards against Rutgers on Saturday, his sixth straight game with 100-plus yards. His 93.4 grade is the highest among all players this season. He should continue to run wild against a Nebraska defense that is tied for sixth-worst in the Power Five in run-defense grade (59.9).
4. TCU Horned Frogs (Record: 9-0, CFP Ranking: 4th)
Week 11 Matchup: at No. 18 Texas Longhorns
TCU is a shocker, though. The Horned Frogs weren’t even one of the 47 teams who received a vote in the initial rankings. They have a massive showdown at No. 18 Texas this week, currently the ninth-best team in PFF’s power rankings.
5. Tennessee Volunteers (Record: 8-1, CFP Ranking: 5th)
Week 11 Matchup: vs. Missouri Tigers
Tennessee’s Cinderella run ended on Saturday against Georgia. Quarterback Hendon Hooker, the previous Heisman favorite, mustered only a 66.0 grade against the Bulldogs, his second-lowest mark all season.
It’s not over yet for the Volunteers, though. According to PFF’s power rankings, they currently have a 34% chance to make the College Football Playoff. Winning out would put Tennessee in a very good spot to do so.
6. Oregon Ducks (Record: 8-1, CFP Ranking: 6th)
Week 11 Matchup: vs. No. 25 Washington Huskies
The Ducks looked dead in the water after their season-opening 49-3 loss to Georgia, but they’ve managed to keep swimming with eight straight wins since.
Bo Nix has finally shown why he was a five-star quarterback recruit back in 2019. In his first three years at Auburn, he earned just a 74.5 grade. This season, he sits at an 89.5 mark, seventh for Power Five quarterbacks.
Oregon will need to prove itself down the stretch. Its remaining opponents are No. 25 Washington, No. 13 Utah and Oregon State. All three are among the top 40 in PFF’s power rankings. If the Ducks escape unscathed, they’ll then likely face either No. 8 USC or No. 12 UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game.
7. LSU Tigers (Record: 7-2, CFP Ranking: 7th)
Week 11 Matchup: at Arkansas Razorbacks
LSU now controls its own destiny in the SEC West, thanks to a 32-31 upset victory over then-No. 6 Alabama.
Heading into the game, the Crimson Tide had a 94.1 team run-defense grade, which was nearly two points higher than any other school in the country. That fell to 54.6 against the Tigers, as LSU averaged 7.1 yards per attempt.
If LSU avoids a loss in its next three games, it’ll likely face top-ranked Georgia in the SEC Championship game. If the Tigers win that and chaos ensues elsewhere, they could crash the College Football Playoff.
8. Alabama Crimson Tide (Record: 7-2, CFP Ranking: 9th)
Week 11 Matchup: at No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels
The Crimson Tide have lived on the edge all season, and they’ll likely miss the playoff for only the second time in its eight-year history because of it.
Alabama won by a combined five points against Texas and Texas A&M, with both games decided on the final plays. On the flip side, the Crimson Tide also lost to Tennessee and LSU by a combined four points, again coming down to the final plays.
With two losses, Alabama is all but eliminated from playoff contention. A two-loss team has never been invited to the final four.
9. Clemson Tigers (Record: 8-1, CFP Ranking: 10th)
Week 11 Matchup: vs. Louisville Cardinals
Alabama wasn’t the only powerhouse to see its playoff hopes likely cease on Saturday. Then-No. 4 Clemson was dominated, 35-14, by Notre Dame in South Bend.
DJ Uiagalelei was in the midst of a bounce-back season before the Tigers’ past two games. He had an 85.7 passing grade in Clemson’s first seven contests, over 20 points higher than his 64.4 figure last season. In his past two games against Syracuse and Notre Dame, though, that’s dropped to an abysmal 50.3 mark.
It might be time for the Tigers to turn to true freshman Cade Klubnik, who was the highest-rated quarterback recruit coming out of high school. However, he hasn’t looked great on limited snaps, either, with just a 49.8 passing grade across 29 dropbacks.
Clemson’s playoff aspirations aren’t completely dead, but they’re on life support. At best, the Tigers can go 12-1 and win the ACC Championship. That might not be enough on its own to earn a spot in the final four. Clemson should be rooting for absolute chaos over the next few weeks.
10. USC Trojans (Record: 8-1, CFP Ranking: 8th)
Week 11 Matchup: vs. Colorado Buffaloes
Much like his time at Oklahoma, head coach Lincoln Riley has the offense to compete for a national championship. In fact, one can argue that the Trojans' attack is the best in the country right now. However, like those past Sooners squads, the defense is holding the team back.
USC’s Offense vs. USC’s Defense
|Unit||EPA/play||Rank among 131 FBS teams|
USC’s playoff dreams are still alive because of the offense, but the defense will need to step up if those dreams are to come to fruition.