College Football Week 14: Top 25 Rankings

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) celebrates his touchdown against Ohio State with wide receiver Roman Wilson (14) during the second half at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.

Georgia and Michigan clinch playoff spots: Both the Bulldogs and Wolverines finished their respective regular seasons undefeated, locking up spots in the College Football Playoff for the second straight year.

TCU and USC need one more win: Both the Horned Frogs and Trojans need to win their respective conference championships to clinch a spot in the playoff.

Ohio State and Alabama should root for chaos: The fifth-ranked Buckeyes and No. 6 Crimson Tide need help if they're to make the final four.

Estimated Reading Time: 6 mins

The final week of the college football regular season did not disappoint, whittling down the list of playoff contenders from nine to six with one week to go.

Before conference championship weekend commences, 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: 12-0, CFP Ranking: 1st)

Week 14 Matchup: vs. No. 14 LSU Tigers (SEC championship)

After its 37-14 win over Georgia Tech, top-ranked Georgia essentially clinched a spot in the College Football Playoff, regardless of what happens in the SEC championship game.

While last year’s team won the national championship, it came up short in the conference title game to Alabama. This year’s squad will try to right that wrong this weekend and bring home the Bulldogs’ first SEC championship in five years.

2. Michigan Wolverines (Record: 12-0, CFP Ranking: 2nd)

Week 14 Matchup: vs. Purdue Boilermakers (Big Ten championship)

Michigan locked up a playoff spot by vanquishing then-No. 2 Ohio State, 45-23, in a game with significant postseason implications.

In that game, Michigan’s star running back Blake Corum received only one carry due to a knee injury suffered the week prior against Illinois. The Buckeyes fielded college football's third-highest-graded run defense entering the week, but it was Michigan who bullied Ohio State up front to the tune of 262 rushing yards, averaging nearly eight yards per attempt. The Wolverines will now try to win their second straight Big Ten title and third since 2003.

3. TCU Horned Frogs (Record: 12-0, CFP Ranking: 3rd)

Week 14 Matchup: vs. No. 10 Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 championship)

For the first time in over a decade, TCU finished a regular season undefeated. 

The Horned Frogs last did so in 2010, when they were controversially left out of the BCS National Championship game and ended the season 13-0 after winning the Rose Bowl. Controversy could strike again if they lose the Big 12 championship game. Then, the committee would have to decide between a 12-1 TCU, an 11-1 Ohio State or even a 10-2 Alabama

4. USC Trojans (Record: 11-1, CFP Ranking: 4th)

Week 14 Matchup: vs. No. 11 Utah Utes (Pac-12 championship)

USC proved a lot in Week 13 with a 38-27 win over No. 15 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are currently a top-10 team in PFF’s power rankings, making them the best opponent the Trojans have faced all season. USC quarterback Caleb Williams became the clear Heisman favorite after earning an 83.8 grade on Saturday, including four total touchdowns.

Williams can lock up the coveted stiff-arm trophy and the Trojans can clinch a playoff spot on Friday with a win over No. 11 Utah in the Pac-12 championship game. The Utes are the only team to defeat USC this season, doing so in a 43-42 nail-biter back in October. 

5. Ohio State Buckeyes (Record: 11-1, CFP Ranking: 5th)

Week 14 Matchup: N/A

For the first time since 2000, Ohio State lost to arch-rival Michigan in consecutive years. Because of that, the Buckeyes go from being ranked No. 2 to needing help to even make the final four. 

For Ohio State to make the playoff, it’ll likely need either a TCU loss or a USC loss this weekend. Luckily for the Buckeyes, there’s about an 89% chance that one of those will happen, per PFF’s power rankings

6. Alabama Crimson Tide (Record: 10-2, CFP Ranking: 6th)

Week 14 Matchup: N/A

Like Ohio State, Alabama needs help to even have a shot at a playoff berth.

The Crimson Tide are hoping for both a TCU loss and a USC loss, but there’s about a 20% chance that both of those happen, per PFF’s power rankings. And even if the odds swing in Alabama's favor, the committee will likely still give the benefit of the doubt to a 12-1 TCU over a 10-2 Crimson Tide squad. 

7. Tennessee Volunteers (Record: 10-2, CFP Ranking: 7th)

Week 14 Matchup: N/A

Tennessee rebounded nicely from an upset loss to South Carolina a week ago, taking down Vanderbilt 56-0.

Even without star quarterback Hendon Hooker, a Maxwell Award finalist, the Volunteers’ offense looked unstoppable against the Commodores, averaging 0.544 expected points added per play, the second-best mark in the country for the week. Now, Tennessee will likely play in its first New Year’s Six bowl game in 18 years. 

8. Penn State Nittany Lions (Record: 10-2, CFP Ranking: 8th)

Week 14 Matchup: N/A

The Nittany Lions are victims of playing in the Big Ten East, one of the toughest divisions in college football.

Penn State’s only two losses on the season came to No. 2 Michigan and No. 5 Ohio State. The Nittany Lions won their other 10 games by an average of 25 points. 

9. Clemson Tigers (Record: 10-2, CFP Ranking: 9th)

Week 14 Matchup: vs. No. 23 North Carolina Tar Heels (ACC championship)

Tennessee wasn’t the only team to see its playoff aspirations end at the hands of South Carolina

This week, the Gamecocks toppled then-No. 9 Clemson, 31-30. Tigers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei mustered only a 46.8 passing grade after completing a career-low 28% of his passes. Now, Clemson must rebound against No. 23 North Carolina in a game that not only will determine the ACC champion but also who will represent the ACC in a New Year’s Six bowl game. If the Tigers lose, it’ll be the second straight season that they aren’t ACC champions after a six-year streak of winning the conference.

10. Kansas State Wildcats (Record: 9-3, CFP Ranking: 10th)

Week 14 Matchup: vs. No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs (Big 12 championship)

Kansas State will look to play the role of spoiler against third-ranked TCU in the Big 12 championship game this Saturday.

When they last played a little over a month ago, the Wildcats held an 18-point lead over the Horned Frogs before TCU stormed back for a 38-28 victory. That remains the largest deficit the Horned Frogs have faced this season. If Kansas State finishes the job on Saturday, it will be the program's first Big 12 title in a decade.

11. Washington Huskies (Record: 10-2, CFP Ranking: 12th)

12. Florida State Seminoles (Record: 9-3, CFP Ranking: 13th)

13. LSU Tigers (Record: 9-3, CFP Ranking: 14th)

14. Oregon State Beavers (Record: 9-3, CFP Ranking: 15th)

15. Oregon Ducks (Record: 9-3, CFP Ranking: 16th)

16. Texas Longhorns (Record: 8-4, CFP Ranking: 20th)

17. Utah Utes (Record: 9-3, CFP Ranking: 11th)

18. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Record: 8-4, CFP Ranking: 21st)

19. Mississippi State Bulldogs (Record: 8-4, CFP Ranking: 24th)

20. Tulane Green Wave (Record: 10-2, CFP Ranking: 18th)

21. UTSA Roadrunners (Record: 10-2, CFP Ranking: NR)

22. South Carolina Gamecocks (Record: 8-4, CFP Ranking: 19th)

23. UCLA Bruins (Record: 9-3, CFP Ranking: 17th)

24. North Carolina Tar Heels (Record: 9-3, CFP Ranking: 23rd)

25. Troy Trojans (Record: 10-2, CFP Ranking: 17th)

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